Marc from Cumming, GA

Besides Lambeau Field, which stadium is your next favorite to watch/report a game from? My second favorite is Kansas City. The intensity of the crowd and relationship with the fans remind me of Green Bay.

My second favorite is the stadium in Nashville. The press box is low and close to the field, the press lounge and lavatory are directly behind my seat, and the elevator is unimportant because there’s a short stairway adjacent to the elevator. These are the things that are important to me. I’m not looking for an emotional experience. I want comforts that’ll help me do my job.

Justin from Redmond, WA

Vic, we’re entering the dog days of summer and the baseball all-star game is just a few weeks away. What’s your opinion on the DH rule and the all-star game determining homefield advantage in the World Series?

I don’t like either one. The designated hitter rule allowed Roger Clemens to throw at batters without Clemens having to face retaliation. Does anybody recall the Juan Marichal incident? The homefield thing is a marketing ploy to help promote the all-star game. I remember when they played two all-star games; they’ve been playing with that game forever.

Andy from Chicago, IL

You’ve seen a lot of coaches over the years. Who on the Packers coaching staff today looks to be future head coach material?

There isn’t a man on that staff who hasn’t or won’t be a candidate for a head coaching position on either the NFL or college level. Tom Clements should be the head coach at Notre Dame; he would’ve been the better choice.

Jeff from Hagerstown, MD

Are you a gas or charcoal man?

Charcoal, of course.

Stevan from Lubbock, TX

When are you going to write those books that are lurking deep inside?

I’m writing them right now. I leave it all in “Ask Vic” every day. This is my book and you can read it for free on packers.com.

Phil from Tampa, FL

I agree with you that the sports page should be treated differently than hard news. I think former Chief Justice Earl Warren did as well, as yesterday’s column reminded me of one of my favorite quotes: “I always turn to the sports section first. The sports section records people’s accomplishments; the front page, nothing but man’s failures.” I’d hate to see this stop being the case.

Jimmy Cannon said he became a sportswriter because he liked being in happy places. The press box has always been my happy place.

Tom from Minneapolis, MN

I agree penalties favor the offense, especially with pass interference, as you pointed out. A receiver can interfere with a defensive back and it’s a 15-yard penalty. On that same play, if the defender does the same, it could be a 55-yard penalty. That's not fair. Where else is there such imbalance in penalties?

Holding against the defense results in a first down for the offense. Why doesn’t holding against the offense result in a loss of down?

Jeff from Houston, TX

“Throw, throw!” Back in high school, we were taught to throw and roll when we pulled wide.

“Throw” is short for “throw the block.” Linemen were taught to throw themselves at the defender and cut him after the initial contact. The intent was to get the defender on the ground. Now we hear coaches yell out, “Stay on him.” How were linemen of the no-hands era going to stay on the defender? Were they going to hold onto him with their elbows? This an example of how the game has changed.

Derek from Houston, TX

Vic, are your sons Steelers fans with some affinity to the team you’re writing for at the time?

That’s it.

Derek from Houston, TX

I disagree you don’t have the skill to do anything else. Just think of what kind of groundskeeper you could be at Lambeau with your mowing skills.

You’re right. If I wasn’t a sportswriter, I’d probably be a professional grass cutter. When I go to the hardware store, I always end up at the lawnmower display, admiring the new models. I think grass might even be at the root of my love for football.

Ethan from La Crosse, WI

Are numbers on jerseys really that necessary? If you line up in your position and do your job and beat the man across from you, why does it matter what number that guy is wearing?

Numbers are of critical importance in today’s game. I learned as much in the first season the NFL used throwback jerseys. The Steelers used a throwback jersey that included the Pittsburgh city crest on the front of the jersey, instead of a number. The league office approved the jersey without thinking how opponents might react. They complained. How was the quarterback going to identify the strong safety, for example, if he wasn’t wearing a number for the quarterback to see? The league then required the Steelers to put the players’ numbers on the front of the shoulder, but teams complained the number was hard to see.

Paul from Bloomington, IN

So hockey is not your favorite sport, but you quote arguably the best hockey movie of all time. Love it. Keep up the good work, Dickie.

“Slap Shot” might be the greatest sports movie of all time.

Josip from Zagreb, Croatia

“Can you smell the leaves through your TV? Can you see the darkening clouds rolling in over the top of the stadium on your TV? Can you feel the chill that says winter is on the way? TV can tell you everything about the game, but it can’t personalize the experience.” Can you tell us from first hand all of that if you are sitting in a warm press box eating a nice hot dog?

I make a point of walking to the press box by way of the outdoors when the Packers are playing at Lambeau Field, or spending a few minutes on the field when I arrive at a stadium on the road. I want to feel what the players and fans feel. As for darkening clouds, I always survey the skies from my press box perch at Lambeau Field, which is high enough to allow a panoramic view. Feel is very important to me, and the walk through the crowd to the pregame radio show is a big part of getting that feel. When the game begins, I settle into my seat in the warm press box and give thanks I don’t have to sit out in the cold.

Brad from Billings, MT

How do you expect playing time to be split this preseason with five games to evaluate players?

I expect veterans to play less and less with each passing preseason. The preseason is for young players, especially the desperate dreamers.

Casey from Austin, TX

Do you think Phil Mickelson will ever win the U.S. Open?

Oakmont isn’t his kind of course. You don’t win from the rough at Oakmont, and you don’t win at Oakmont by being aggressive. Oakmont is perfect for Jason Day’s game. It’s for good putters who hit the ball high, long and straight.

William from Broad Brook, CT

Vic, Johnny Unitas and Tom Brady switched eras. Who would be more successful in their new time and why?

Unitas would be much better statistically and Brady much worse, but they’d remain championship quarterbacks. Their talents transcend the eras.


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