Matthew from Mount Pleasant, WI
Vic, when the pads go on later this year, who will you be most excited to see?
Kenny Clark. The game he plays can’t be played without pads. He will be an important player on this year’s team. He addresses a need, as Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins did last season. I sincerely hope he’ll address it as well.
David from Washington, DC
Vic, I’m getting married on June 18. You are certainly invited. What, if anything, can football teach us about the holy sacrament of matrimony?
The best teams overcome adversity.
Matt from Mukwonago, WI
Vic, is there any other play equivalent to the Packers sweep that defined a team?
Yes, but none are as familiar to fans, and that’s because no coach bothered to explain his defining play as Lombardi did his. The Cowboys’ lead draw with Emmitt Smith, the 49ers’ sprint right option and the Steelers’ inside trap are every bit as defining of those great teams as the Packers sweep is of the Lombardi-era Packers, but that NFL Films clip of Lombardi explaining a “seal here and a seal here” is pure gold. Lombardi was a great salesman. He sold his players on the need to push themselves beyond their limits, and he sold professional football to a nation that was ready for something more than baseball. He got it, and that’s why he’s the icon he is. He popularized the game. Lombardi, Unitas and Namath are, in my opinion, the three most important men in professional football history not named Pete Rozelle. The 1958 NFL title game, the Ice Bowl and Super Bowl III: Those are the watershed moments of the game we watch today. No coach did for football what Lombardi did.
Matt from Arlington, VA
Vic, I’m a high school football coach and I hate to say it but the game gets less pure each year. More and more kids transfer to competitive schools or leave because they feel they aren’t getting enough playing time. It makes me sad. Growing up, I couldn’t wait to wear red and black. I don’t know that’s the case anymore.
I agree. I sense a loss of community spirit. There are still towns such as Belle Glade, Fla., and Aliquippa, Pa., but the spirit of place isn’t what it was. We’ve become too big to be small. If I could be young again, I would want to be young on a Friday night in the fall.
Jerry from Wilmington, NC
Vic, can you think of any other subtle nuances of the game, such as Aaron Rodgers curling his thumb when he throws?
Terry Bradshaw put his index finger over the tip of the ball. I always considered that to be a very awkward grip – Bradshaw has huge hands. Covering Byron Leftwich caused me to notice he ran his fingers down the laces. When I saw Chad Pennington using a similar grip, I figured it was a Marshall thing. Whatever it takes.
James from New York, NY
Vic, how much water do you drink a day?
I hydrate as much as possible. I would never ride my bike without taking with me a massive bottle of water, and I would feel absolutely naked driving the car without a bottle of water in the cup holder next to me. I look forward to stopping at traffic lights so I can hydrate.
Chris from Middletown, CT
Vic, I have a very important question for you. Mulch or bag?
Mulch, never bag.
Ben from El Paso, TX
Vic, who are your top 10 NFL quarterbacks who attended an HBCU school?
Let’s make it five, please: 1) Doug Williams (first pick of the draft and won a Super Bowl), 2) Steve McNair (long, record-setting career), 3) James Harris (one of the most picturesque pocket passers I’ve ever seen), 4) Joe Gilliam (he put Bradshaw on the bench and he threw the most beautiful ball I ever saw), 5) Eldridge Dickey (he might’ve been the best of all of them, but he wasn’t given the chance to prove it).
Matt from Lincoln City, OR
Vic, I’m 18 years old and I’m sorry to say I really enjoyed the Steelers-Bengals game. Is it too late for me to change?
Be patient. Soon they will invent the wheel.
Steven from San Francisco, CA
I grew up in Waukesha and recall watching the great Packers of the ’60's. I read Lombardi began playing at County Stadium to prevent plans for an AFL expansion team in Milwaukee. True?
That’s a question for Cliff Christl to answer. I have no doubt he will entertain us with his answer. I’ll forward your question to Cliff.
Tom from Minneapolis, MN
Vic, why do I get the feeling our fan base still feels we are atop the division? I’m seeing questions peppered throughout the past few months, asking who will challenge us most in the North, and it is concerning. Listen, guys and gals, up here they know who the champs are. Priority No. 1: Take back the division!
Tyler from De Pere, WI
I looked up Bobby Layne after your answer to the jersey question. Very accomplished QB. Was surprised to see the touchdown-interception ratio of 196-243. Understanding the game was different, and the ball size made for more difficult throws. Were interceptions more common than TD passes in that era for most teams?
It was that way until the rules changes of 1978.
Ned from Chippewa Falls, WI
Vic, Lombardi did not shuttle in plays with his tackles. Starr called the plays in the huddle. Paul Brown is credited with introducing the shuttling guards. Wasn’t Chuck Noll one of those guards?
They were called messenger guards and Noll was one of them.
Jerry from Littleton, CO
You cover a profession where people are continually striving for improvement. I, therefore, believe it is very appropriate for me to ask you what improvements you are currently striving toward in your work? Please don’t respond with a flippant remark. If you do respond in an insincere manner, then we will know the answer anyway. All the best to you and yours.
I regret to report I am not seeking to improve, professionally, physically, socially or spiritually. I am stuck in a wonderful rut. All the best to you and yours, too.
Russell from Madison, MI
Which stadium has the biggest, fastest elevator?
The Browns’ stadium. It’s big, it’s fast and it’s located almost directly behind my seat. After years of having to walk to the top of Cleveland Stadium to sit in a bus turned sideways, which housed the world’s highest outhouse, Cleveland finally did something right.
Matt from Sun Prairie, WI
Vic, if the spring USFL season was so successful, why hasn’t another spring league had the same success? Wasn’t the XFL in the spring?
Four teams were added to the NFL since the USFL went out of business. I think we’ve reached the saturation point.
Dennis from Las Vegas, NV
Vic, who are some big-name people who claim to read your column regularly; maybe a former player or a celebrity?
Congressmen Reid Ribble is this column’s most esteemed reader. When the Packers played in Washington this past January, I had a chance to meet Congressmen Ribble along the sideline during pregame. That’s when I knew “Ask Vic” had arrived. Since then, I’ve become one of Congressmen Ribble’s fans. I was watching TV recently when Congressmen Ribble was interviewed and questioned on the subject of his opinion of Donald Trump. He’s the only one who hasn’t flip-flopped. That’s a man who would have my vote.
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