Pete from Jeffries, AZ

Vic, you often say you choose to be happy, yet, for the most part are short and, quite frankly, rude and arrogant. You seem angry, not happy, almost as though you have to fight your natural tendencies to be a pleasant person. Please go back to Jacksonvlle. Can we get a real Packers ambassador/columnist/fan who will represent the Packers with dignity and professionalism? Basically, a genuinely nice human being who’s not a condescending, know-it-all, self-proclaimed “I’m usually right” jerk? People don’t care about how much you know if you treat the fans who pay your salary like children. Please grow up in that respect and learn to treat others with respect, as I’m sure this organization and what it represents deserves.

This is just what we needed on the day of a Packers-Bears game, the greatest rivalry in professional football. This is the perfect way to start the day.

Thomas from Austin, TX

Hi, Vic, love the column! Totally agree that today is a good day to be happy. You must be a Taoist. A wise man once said you take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have the facts of life.

Roberto Clemente said “Sometimes I heet like thees, sometimes I heet like thees, and sometimes I no heet."

Blaine from Bloomington, IN

Vic, just wanna say thank you for bringing a positive point of view or even a fresh breath of air to what is your normal or conventional type of sports conversation. More importantly, thank you for being the emotional punching bag for some of the readers who take their own frustrations or ignorance out on you.

I do what I can.

Sean from Chicago, IL

Vic, you have my permission to talk about other teams, other players and ancient history. Speaking of history, you’ve talked a lot about Jim Thorpe. While I think there is a general lack of appreciation among people today for his greatness, I think most people are at least vaguely familiar with his name. Give us the name of a player that most of us probably aren’t familiar with, but without him the story of football cannot be written.

I’m going to reach way back for a guy. Most would say the story of football can be told without mentioning him, but I’ll never forget his name because he’s the guy or, at the least, one of the guys that introduced injury liability to the NFL. His name is Tom Brzoza. As a rookie he broke a thumb in mini-camp, had to be moved from center to guard and was later cut. Brzoza sued the Steelers, claiming the move from center to guard caused him to be cut. He claimed they were liable for his loss. He later got a settlement from the Steelers which, at that young stage of my career was the first injury settlement I could remember. I can remember the people in the know saying, “Uh, oh.” They were right. Brzoza’s suit opened the floodgates.

Scott from Norton Shores, MI

Another stellar week of college football, Vic. The average margin of victory in the 14 games involving teams ranked in the Top 25 was over 28 points. Only one game of those 14 was decided by less than 18 points (Navy vs. Notre Dame). The average margin of victory across all Division I-A games this week was over 19 points. Those numbers are beyond embarrassing. If you think soccer is boring, then you’re going to have to invent a new word to describe the mind-numbing tedium that is watching the average college football game. Right now, I’d turn on professional bowling before a college football game because at least the bowling would offer a little drama.

I won’t go that far, but I feel as though I’ve lost my life-long Saturday friend.

Pedro from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

I know talent comes first, but has having a better defense and running back helped the offensive line get as good as it is today?

Having more talent at running back and having made a greater commitment to the running game has helped everything. We’re talking about arguably the best offseason decision made by any coach in the league.

Shawn Slocum

Robert from Melbourne, Australia

Vic, I love the article featuring all the Packers team photos from over the years. The most noticeable thing was the exponential increase in the number of coaches and staff. What would you say is the reason for that?

It’s the result of specialization as it has pertained to the evolution of the game. Everybody’s looking for an edge. In many cases, that has meant finding hidden edges. Special teams is the classic example. I can remember snickers when a few teams began hiring a special teams coach. Within a few years, they were promoted to coordinator status and they had an assistant. Tonight’s game features two real pioneers in special teams coaching, Shawn Slocum of the Packers and Joe DeCamillis of the Bears. Shawn has become a go-to guy for me. I love the way he characterizes the importance of his discipline and the performance of his units. I know Joe going back to Jacksonville. He’s a fantastic special teams coach. Keep your eye on special teams play tonight.

Derek from South Point, OH

How does the Dolphins’ bullying scandal mesh with your tough game for tough guys philosophy? Is this another example of the culture of football changing?

This isn’t something new. Hazing is age-old and I’ve long despised it. Most coaches tolerate a playful amount of it. They believe it builds esprit de corps and helps rookies assimilate themselves into the heart of the team, which is the property of the team’s esteemed veterans. I’ve long watched rookies hauling food onto the plane for road trips; it’s a leaguewide rookie responsibility to buy doughnuts and fried chicken, etc. That’s OK, if it stops there, but often it doesn’t. I’ve known coaches to permit the shaving of rookies’ heads in training camp, but it didn’t stop there. Then we had rookies having designs shaved into their hair. I don’t like any form of hazing. Some guys can deal with it, some guys can’t. I don’t think anybody should be forced to do something they don’t want to do. When Joe Greene was a rookie, he was asked to stand up and sing his college fight song. He said, “No,” and that was the end of that. Somebody needs to say no.

Dan Dierdorf

Mike from Dallas, TX

How do we, the fans, encourage more fun commentary? For example, Cris Collinsworth and Al Michaels told a great story about Case Keenum and his response to a comment about not being 6-5. Keenum said, “Not yet.” That’s what I want to hear, personality, not “spider y-2 banana.” How do I encourage more of that?

I’m with you, Mike. I watched KC-Buffalo (I think that was the game) on Sunday. I thought Dan Dierdorf did a wonderful job. I didn’t hear one “spider y-2 banana.”

Matthew from Las Vegas, NV

Vic, I’ve long been a fan of Cris Collinsworth as a commentator, but I was too young to know him as a player. Any stories?

He could really run, and he was a dynamite interview.

Evan from Chicago, IL

Is the gap widening between the (college football) haves and have-nots? Should the NCAA think about reducing scholarships again? Would this have a similar effect to the NFL introducing the salary cap to level the playing field?

Scholarships limits aren’t the problem. A lack of standardization is the problem. Some schools are attempting to operate within the law and the spirit of the NCAA’s academic standards, and some are trying to avoid those standards. The haves are the latter and the have-nots are the former. If you’re a have-not and you want to be a true have, I think you have to swallow hard and loosen your commitment to those standards.

Paul from Denver, CO

Vic, this is your first day doing three “Ask Vics,” with the two regulars and halftime one tonight. Hope you don’t burn out your fingers typing today because I need it all.

I woke up this morning and thought to myself, it’s nice lying in bed for a few minutes instead of vaulting into the shower. As I lie there, it hit me that today was going to be an “Ask Vic” marathon. I vaulted downstairs and fired up the old laptop. It’s gonna be a long day.

Mike from Las Vegas, NV

Vic, I loved the interview with Jon Gruden. I find it hard to believe he isn’t a coach because there is a lack of interest. It must be by his own choice, right? What are your thoughts on Gruden?

I’m a fan of his TV work and I was already a big fan of his conference calls from when he was a coach. He speaks frankly. He answers the question. I think that’s obvious from the interview I did with him. Gruden is a guy who can speak to the fans without using stuffy football terminology. He has a message and it resonates. I think he’s becoming very good at glossing over the technical stuff and staying on message. He will absolutely coach again because he’s too good of a coach and too young not to do it again. I think he would be an even better college coach than he was NFL coach. As I was interviewing him on Saturday, I couldn’t help but think how recruits would be putty in his hands.


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