Brad from Lakewood, WI

For those of us who grew up in the era of Googling, what was your source for NFL history and lore when you were learning the game? I don’t imagine many books on the developing league were being printed.

I learned from older writers, coaches, scouts, owners, etc. That’s the fraternity of football that raised me in this game and to which I often refer as the communal spirit I try to promote in this column. Yours is a question I would love to spend an entire column answering. I’d love to say thanks to a lot of people. Maybe it’s time I begin doing that.

Stephen from Chicago, IL

Can you please rank your children in order of how much you like each? Rank this, rank that. Now we must rank Packers greats by who’s greater? When did great stop being good enough?

When 24-hour TV networks lacking subject matter were created. I actually like your idea of ranking my children. It might be a motivational tool.

Kevin from Bloomfield, NJ

The Bills GM said humans were not meant to play football. Your thoughts?

Danger is everywhere. I fell down the steps pressure washing them. Will I stop washing the steps? No, I’ll find a safer way to do it. It’s happening in football. The game is being played more safely. Football will evolve and flourish.

Mike from Stillwater, MN

Vic, I’ve read it’s expected there may be as many as 40 or 50 class action lawsuits filed against the NCAA on behalf of tens of thousands of past college football players. I think most fans are aware of the effect of the concussion suit against the NFL and the changes it has caused to the game. How do you think this new round of college lawsuits will affect the game?

I talked about this in the very beginning. I remember expressing my opinion college football would be most vulnerable, and if we lose college football we lose the foundation of the game. College football needs a players union and a CBA, or it could find itself in court rooms all over America.

Isaac from Nashville, TN

Vic, since you arrived in 2011, Green Bay has been engaged in a kind of defensive rebuild. How would you describe the evolution of that project?

Intense.

Tom from Collegeville, MN

Vic, I started reading your column as a freshman in high school between classes, and now I read it during my lunch break as a computer science researcher. Everything in life changes, but football is always there.

I began writing this column as an otherwise meaningless person. Not everything in life changes, but football has always been there.

Jerry from Puyallup, WA

Vic, you recently mentioned the moving of the hash marks as one of the major rule changes in NFL history. What impact would it have on today’s game if the hash marks were moved back to their original location?

The hash marks were moved toward the center of the field in 1972 with the intent of stimulating the passing game by creating room toward the sidelines. It had an opposite effect, as an explosion of thousand-yard rushers followed. If the hash marks were widened, open space would be created to the wide side of the field and pass-happy offensive coordinators love open spaces. I think we’d see more pick-type routes to the wide side.

John from De Pere, WI

Why can’t each quarterback have the footballs inflated to his preference rather than the league’s?

Congratulations, you’re in the “Ask Vic” Hall of Fame.

Marcus from Dortmund, Germany

I’m 22 years old. What are the odds the Redskins change their team name in my lifetime?

I think it’s likely.

Doug from Lindenhurst, IL

Vic, I submit Tim from Greensboro is full of it. First, there are 16 wins, not 14, since the Ravens are the original Browns and they won two. Second, he is comparing 10 team records against a total of 32 team results. The original AFL teams had a 34 percent chance of winning and won 32 percent of the games.

You’re both playing games with stats. The gap has been closed and we all know it has. The last two Super Bowls have been won by original AFL teams. In my opinion, the AFL is the best thing that ever happened to professional football. It forced the NFL to stop being so stodgy.

Ron from Louisville, KY

Vic, speaking of Jack Vainisi, there are a lot of people who are unaware of what an underwhelming college career Bart Starr had, yet, Vainisi saw something in him nobody else did.

It is the essence of scouting. Anybody can see what a player is. A scout’s job is to see what a player can become.

Jeff from Chippewa Falls, WI

Do you recall if anyone has ever asked John Madden about Eldridge Dickey, and why he never played quarterback for the Raiders? It would be interesting to hear his answer.

The answer is obvious: Pro football wasn’t ready for an African-American quarterback. How many African-American middle linebackers were there at that time? The game has grown and will continue to grow, but I can’t help but be saddened by all of the careers wasted on injustice.

Máté from Miskolc, Hungary

Why stop at Packers history? Who do you think the top three most influential people of world history are?

Julius Caesar, FDR and Pete Rozelle.

Rob from Hollywood, FL

I think yesterday’s subhead answered the question above it. One more Super Bowl might make Rodgers the No. 3 Packer not named Lombardi.

That would do it for me.

Tom from Phoenix, AZ

Bill Austin, while a good offensive coach, was not the genius that conceptualized and selected the players to run the power sweep. Lombardi breathed fire into his team and got them to buy into his entire belief system. They came together as a team and banded together, all despising, yet, respecting the coach as one. Bill didn’t have the attention and respect of the Steelers. They were perennial losers and believed that was their identity, until Chuck Noll showed up.

I was sitting in Pitt Stadium the day Austin sent the punt team onto the field on fourth down, and then changed his mind when the fans booed. I was young, but not too young to know Austin was done as coach.

Andrew from Minneapolis, MN

Vic, can you please write two columns per day? I need more. I hope you are using lots of sun screen and drinking enough water in the heat. What is your water bottle of choice and why?

I have one of those plastic squirt-type bottles. I fill it from the tap. I love the taste of microbes on a hot day.

Larry from Utica, NY

Vic, this “Ask Vic” family is something else. As Andrew pointed out yesterday, you were absent from the “notable residents” section of the Edisto Beach Wikipedia page. Well, I became curious to see what notable folks live there, and when I found it, your name was added. I’m not sure if it was Andrew or someone else, but it’s cool to see how this community works!

Somebody, please, get that out of there. It’s embarrassing. Plus, I don’t live at the beach. We have a beach and we have an island. The island is good for me.

Steve from La Crosse, WI

Your mention of the old AFL brought back a memory. I recalled an article in the Los Angeles Times concerning an AFL championship game by Jim Murray. To paraphrase, there was more rushing yardage in that game than had by the entire German army in World War II. Some years later, I wrote to him and requested a copy of the article. After a lengthy search, he found and sent it to me. He was one heck of a writer and man.

“Gentlemen, start your coffins … welcome to the 50th annual Memorial Day Safety Contest, the world’s fastest traffic jam. This year, in order to more nearly approximate road conditions on our nation’s highways and test performance under authentic hazards, we have brought about several changes in the field: The driver in Car No. 4 – the Schenley Special – will be drunk. The driver in Car No. 5 will just have had a fight with his wife. The driver in Car No. 7 will be color blind, the driver in Car No. 11 will have an IQ of 12 or exactly 490 points below his horsepower. The driver in Car No. Zero will have his arm around a girl and 19 traffic citations for reckless driving. He will be called upon to light her cigarette at 195-miles-per-hour.”

He was the best.


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