Alex from New York, NY

The NFL ending its relationship with Riddell? What do you make of that? Significant changes in the works?

I see it as an attempt by the league to stimulate competition in the helmet business. The NFL’s marketing agreement with Riddell, combined with the concussion lawsuit, had a withering effect on the helmet industry. Riddell became to helmets what Heinz is to ketchup, and that’s not good for the NFL because it needs competing helmet manufacturers, each trying to find new ways to protect the head.

Shayne from Waterloo, IA

Vic, if the kick is blocked and doesn’t go beyond the line of scrimmage, and the kicking team recovers, they could kick it again if it wasn’t fourth down.

Bingo! That’s the answer I wanted. It’s happened. A few other readers also got it right.

Travis form Fresno, CA

With all the talk about teams pushing cap money back by restructuring contracts and bonuses, what are the ways teams with cap space move money into the current year to save space for the future? Is this a common practice for teams with a healthy cap or teams that are rebuilding?

Pay roster bonus instead of signing bonus. Roster bonus is declared in full in the year it’s paid; signing bonus is spread out evenly over the life of the contract. It’s called pre-paying on your cap. The Eagles kind of invented it. When you’re in what you think is a down year, sign the players you believe are core players for your team’s future and use roster bonus to move money forward so you can provide space for that year down the road when a free agent might make the difference.

Jim from Manitou Springs, CO

Vic, I thought about your comments comparing baseball fans and football fans long and hard and actually got a headache. I’ve come to the conclusion that baseball fans revere the past because the game has had little or no change in nearly a century. It makes it easier to compare old timers with new timers. Football keeps changing with the times, making it much harder to compare the glory of yesteryear to the glory of today. Tell me I’m spot on.

The designated hitter rule is one of the most radical changes to any sport in sports history. It’s impacted the game in a myriad of ways, from beanballs to home run leaders. I think baseball fans revere the past and football fans don’t because it’s just in the nature of those fans to be that way. The baseball hall of fame sits in an out-of-the-way village. The pro football hall of fame is pressed up against an interstate highway. Cooperstown is dominated by bed-and-breakfast places. You can walk down the street early in the morning and hear people snoring inside those rooms. Baseball people are train people. They like a slower game. They enjoy sitting at a game on a warm, lazy summer night, and engage the friend next to them in casual conversation. Football fans bundle against the cold and stand and howl so the visiting team can’t hear its own signals. George Carlin had it right. Baseball is extra innings. Football is sudden death. The two sports are diametrically opposed in style and personality. I like both sports, which means I enjoy taking it slow on a warm, lazy summer night, and I enjoy the human confrontation of football on a crisp autumn afternoon.

Jeff from La Crosse, WI

So the Packers are trying to trade for Tony Gonzalez?

I wasn’t thinking of Gonzalez. What about that other Pac-10 tight end a little farther south than Gonzalez? Beware of rumors.

Mark from Stewartville, MN

Vic, any chance the Packers show up flat and overconfident against the 1-5 Vikings?

No chance. Remember, read “Ask Vic Halftime” on Sunday night.

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