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Rich Gannon over Brett Favre is an outrage

Posted Mar 27, 2014

NFL needs rule capping height of kicks

Brett Favre

Dan from Waupun, WI

What are your thoughts on college unions? Do the schools make too much money off free labor? Do coaches and sportswriters profit from free labor? Should we, as fans, boycott cable TV sports? I think this over-billing of viewers should be addressed.

So you want the players to be paid and your cable TV bill to go down. Yeah, that’ll happen.

Chad from Port Edwards, WI

The main point the players at Northwestern made for unionizing was that they help bring in billions of dollars of revenue and don’t get paid. Is their free ride to an education in the form of a scholarship not payment enough?

If they can get it, get it. If they can’t get it, stop crying about it.

Dale from Kettering, OH

All this high finance and salary capping is getting to me. I just looked up the tax status of scholarships, and it turns out that if college players are employees, like the ruling says, their scholarships are likely to be considered wages, making them taxable. And if they play in multiple states, they get to pay the jock tax, too. Numbers are fun until somebody gets hurt, right?

Scholarships have long met every IRS criteria to be considered revenue and, therefore, taxable. They are exempt from tax, however, for the obvious reason that many of the families of the young men who’ve earned these scholarships would be unable to pay the tax, which likely means they couldn’t accept them. If they get paid, I think they can kiss that exemption goodbye, and at many schools those scholarships are likely worth a lot more than the players could earn in salary.

Detroit QB Matthew Stafford

Joan from Eau Claire, WI

Missed you on Tuesday. Glad you’re back. With the Bears getting Allen and all of the defensive help, and the Lions and Vikings with new coaches, who do the Packers have to really look out for?

In my opinion, it’s the Lions. They’re ready to go and I think Jim Caldwell is just the man they need. They’re my look-out team in the NFC North. As I sat at Caldwell’s breakfast table on Wednesday, I could see why Lions management hired him. He has that strong but calm personality the Lions need to discipline their play, and I’m not talking just about Ndamukong Suh, I’m also talking about Matt Stafford. Stafford commits too many unforced errors. He needs to be a more efficient quarterback and a better quarterback at crunch time. Caldwell has the personality and coaching acumen to bring that out in Stafford.

Dave from Germantown, TN

Vic, with the NFL banning or penalizing the post touchdown dunk over the goal post, do you think the Lambeau Leap will be the next to go?

The Lambeau Leap is safe, but the no-dunk rule paved the way for the uprights to be heightened. It’s difficult to change a rule without making a new rule. It’s a domino effect and that’s why I’m against minor and unnecessary rules changes. It’s change for the sake of change. What have we really gained if the kick goes higher than the new height of the uprights? How high is high enough?

Gao from Madison, WI

I waited all day for an “Ask Vic” column on Tuesday and I didn’t get one because I was banned along with everyone. Brilliant! I hope some fans start realizing you are here for our entertainment as much as the Packers are. The “Ask Vic” column is for everyone to read. You might not get picked, but who cares? I wait every day to read this column, so I can keep my mind off the sad fact that it’s not football season.

No, Gao, I didn’t withhold the column because I was banning everyone. I was just jokingly referring yesterday to the technical difficulties we had on Tuesday that shut down every website in the league. It was the flux capacitor. Somebody fluxed it up. So I owe everybody an apology for my failure to deliver an “Ask Vic” on Tuesday, and I’ll extend that apology by lifting all previous bans. In a spirit of football kinship, let’s wipe the slate clean and start over.

Dennis from Phoenix, AZ

I think you are an idiot. You don’t think Aaron Rodgers runs around enough? What happened to draft and develop? If you would like me to say it to your face: You are an idiot!

You’re banned.

Pablo from Oak Creek, WI

Vic, what are your thoughts about expanding the number of playoff teams?

I’m all for it. Why wouldn’t I be for it? I love good football and the NFL product is at its best late in the season, so let’s have more late-season football. It wouldn’t bother me for an 8-8 team to win the title. An 8-8 title team would be more likely have started 2-6 and finished 6-2, and that fits my criteria for a championship team because at crunch time it got it done. September and October is for stats. November and December are for champions.

Matthew from Las Vegas, NV

Vic, March 26, 2014, might be remembered as one of the biggest days in sports history and particularly in collegiate sports. Do you think this is the beginning of massive change and, if so, what form do you think that change will take?

You’re late. August 29, 2013, is the day. It’s the day the NFL announced that it had come to a concussion litigation settlement with former players. This is what I wrote in “Ask Vic Extra!” upon hearing the news: “My immediate reaction is to think this will create change in ways so dramatic and so profound that we won’t know the extent of those changes in my lifetime. The precedent set by the dollar amount in this settlement is going to send shock waves through football played everywhere, especially on the amateur level, where there is no CBA to protect it.” My first thought when I heard the news is that college football is in deep trouble. The legal community has been awakened. We ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Sam from Madison, WI

Why has changing/eliminating the extra point become such a big deal? Why is it such a problem all of a sudden? When has anyone ever complained about extra points? Doesn’t the NFL have more important things to worry about?

It has one bigger thing to worry about, which is to say the decline in participation in football by young people. It’s a huge problem. Otherwise, the league has never been positioned better. It’s profitable in a big way and I think it has a firm grip on its concussion problem. I’m now in my 43rd year of covering this league, and it’s never been better. Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe it doesn’t have enough to worry about.

Ralph Wilson Jr.

Lance from Chicago, IL

It’s sad to hear the news of Ralph Wilson’s passing, even more so after I read and heard stories about the impact he had on not only the AFL, but continuing through his time in the NFL. Can you share any story or memory you had of Mr. Wilson?

Ralph Wilson is an underrated and underappreciated person in NFL history. Even as recently as 2006, Wilson displayed his football acumen by being one of only two men that voted against passage of what turned out to be a very bad CBA. They said he was too old, but apparently he wasn’t too old to know a bad deal when he saw one. Within a day of having approved that CBA, the rest of the owners regretted their decision. Within hours of approving it, after having talked to their CFOs, they knew they were going to void the deal asap. It’s why 2010 was an uncapped year. It’s why we had a lockout in 2011. Wilson saw it immediately. More importantly, Wilson is one of the reasons we have a Super Bowl. At a very vulnerable time in AFL history, Wilson loaned the Raiders $400 grand to stay alive. That was a lot of money back then, at a time when the game’s owners weren’t billionaires. Had the AFL lost the Raiders, the league might not have made it. We might still be playing NFL title games in the stadiums of home teams.

Bill from Morris, IL

If college football teams unionize, how does that affect the game? And what happens if some teams unionize and others don’t?

Bring in the Pinkertons? I’ll promise you this, the southern schools will be the last to unionize. So what would that mean? Well, I think it might swing the pendulum of power toward the schools that do unionize. It might be the equivalent of another period in college football of segregation.

Evan from Stevens Point, WI

Tuesday was the first time in three years (besides weekends) that I didn’t get to read “Ask Vic.” Everything OK?

Everything is fine. I, too, felt a sense of loss.

Brian from Shoreview, MN

I’m concerned that our culture has made the game of football the least attractive sport for children. I believe the NFL needs to market to the mothers of boys.

That’s exactly what the league is doing with “Play 60.” The “Play 60” people were on site at the NFL Annual Meeting. I observed them from my hotel room window, as the “Play 60” people did their thing with the sons and daughters of NFL executives. Their thing is combine-like. That’s how the game is being packaged and presented to young people: blocking bags and cones and other such football paraphernalia, all intended to make football more of a gym class and less of a physical clash. You’re not going to sell the modern-day mother on the merits of striking the rising blow. She doesn’t want to hear that football is a collision sport or that first contact wins. Today’s mother wants to know her child is safe and participating in something that will help the child be accepted by its peers. That’s the culture in which today’s game exists, and as I watched from the window as this was being played out, I felt old. It’s real simple, for people like me, it’s either change or get out of the way because the game as I have known it and loved it is gone. It has to be gone. It has to change. I am more aware of that every night after reading a few more pages of “League of Denial.” It can’t be that way, and it won’t be that way. The NFL is doing the right thing.

Wes from Ames, IA

“I’d like to see this team add a run-around quarterback to Mike McCarthy’s playbook. I think Coach McCarthy would enjoy having that kind of special-edition player.” Vic, you disappoint me. In what universe would you, McCarthy or anyone choose to take Aaron Rodgers off the field for any length of time in favor of Terrelle Pryor?

Third and one; that’s the universe. I think a run-around quarterback would make third-and-one plays a lot easier to convert. I think that kind of guy spreads the field. He creates gaps and seams by his mere presence. You can put him into the backfield without taking Rodgers out of the game; the run-around quarterback would become the equivalent of a fullback that doesn’t have to block. Mostly, I like the run-around quarterback as a backup for a situation in which the starter has had to leave the game and the backup needs to play without having had much practice time. Drop back and run is an easy play to execute. I also think the run-around guy, which is another way of saying a quarterback who’s more of an athlete than a technician, can be used effectively as a slash-type player.

Ryan from Fredericton, NB

Vic, I have enjoyed the Packers coverage of the NFL Annual Meeting, including your articles. How do you see parity between the two conferences going into next year, and moving forward? I believe things will balance out but it seems the NFC has superior teams and the AFC is set to lose Brady and Manning to retirement.

We felt the same way in the 1970s when the AFC kicked the NFC around like a tin can. It changed. The balance of power will always change. Between the 1997 and 2008 seasons, the AFC won nine of 12 Super Bowls. The NFC has now won four of the last five. Back and forth it goes.

Scott from Lincoln City, OR

Vic, what was your immediate reaction upon learning they passed a rule to extend the uprights five feet?

We need a rule forbidding kickers to kick the ball higher than 35 feet above the crossbar. You can never have enough rules.

Michael from Austin, MN

I was just looking at nfl.com’s “Greatest Quarterback of All Time” bracketology. It is currently into the second round. Can you help justify the voters who chose Rich Gannon over Brett Favre and helped Gannon move onto the second round? Favre has to be one of the top 10 quarterbacks of all time. What say you?

This is an outrage. We need a rule forbidding this kind of ridiculous expression of opinion. Seriously, though, what do fans think they accomplish when they vote in stuff like this and then do so frivolously? Favre is a lock for the Hall of Fame. I mean no disrespect, but Gannon has no chance. We need a poll to know that?


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