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Goodell gets high marks for tackling top issue

The dinosaurs must change or become extinct


Brian from Spring Hill, TN

I believe there will be more two-point attempts than a lot of people think. I'm sure there are already a percentage of coaches who have decided they will be going for two points rather than the extra point throughout the season. This in a lot of games will force the opposing coach to do the same, in essence dictating the flow of part of the game. My question is would Coach Vic be one of those coaches?

I'm not as bold as Coach McCarthy; I tend to choose the more conservative route, mostly because I lean toward the defensive side of the ball. I agree with you, however, we're going to see more two-point tries than we might think, but it's not because coaches are going to choose the bold route, but because I think moving the kick back is going to have a negative effect on kickers in general. I see misses coming, and we all know what happens when kickers miss; they lose their confidence and it spills over into all of their kicks. I think moving the PAT kick back is going to pose a major challenge to kickers throughout the league. If they miss, their coaches will lose confidence in them, and that's when we'll see coaches start going for two points, and we might even see them go for it more on fourth down, instead of attempting field goals.

Spencer from Harbor City, CA

Vic, what is your opinion on the performance of Commissioner Goodell? Do you agree with the talking heads that he has too much power?

Is it power or responsibility? Either way, I believe it's something the commissioner would rather not have. I think he'd like to share his crime-and-punishment duties – or at least share in the controversy – with a committee. At the start of his term, he took a firm stand against player misconduct, and I think it's painted him into some corners. He's also been aggressive in changing the game in pursuit of player safety, and I commend him for it. That's Roger Goodell's No. 1 issue, player safety. Player conduct is the players' No. 1 issue, not Goodell's.

Jack from Madison, WI

I think it's important at a young age to know what it's like to lose, and how to deal with it. What do you think?

Some kids need to know what it's like to win; they've already done too much losing. Those kids need a trophy. Why do we have to take it away from them just because it's beneath us?

Chris from Wyoming, OH

Vic, ESPN is running a SportsCenter piece on the Oklahoma drill today. Sadly, they are focusing on it as a threat to health, a sign of the times.

I see players not practicing because they're injured, and they didn't get hurt in the Oklahoma drill. Why is it OK to get injured catching a pass but it's not OK to get injured in an Oklahoma drill? It's because the Oklahoma drill is viewed as frivolous and unnecessary, and that's wrong. The Oklahoma is not a punishment drill, it's a teaching drill. It teaches players how to win their one-on-ones by featuring them in that one-on-one encounter. It's at the heart of the game: Win your one-on-one. Here's an example of something for which I believe the media bears blame. The new media has done a hatchet job on the Oklahoma. They've intimidated coaches into taking it out of their practice routines for fear of being excoriated for having a player injured in it.

Nathan from Eau Claire, WI

What is the point of joint practices?

They give players new competition. Instead of practicing against the same players every day and learning how to attack their weaknesses, they face someone they don't know, which is good practice for how it'll be on game day. I'm an advocate of combined practices because they raise the bar of competition. I also like the edge they set. This is an edge game. I like an edgy team. I think it's good for its soul.

Cameron from Neenah, WI

What do you think about all of the fights going on in training camp?

They don't offend me.

Dave from Norfolk, VA

Vic, if a player sustains a career-ending injury and decides to retire, what is the salary cap impact of their guaranteed money?

I gave an incorrect answer this morning and offer this correction for our afternoon and evening readers. Retirement would not accelerate a player's amortization. Everything stays the way it is.

Jackson from Mount Vernon, IN

Vic, while I never was a big fan of baseball, I've always been an athlete and a competitor. Seeing that a youth baseball coach had his team tank a game to eliminate another team from the tournament they were competing in makes me sick. The worst part is there are no rules to prevent that! What kind of action would league commissioner Vic take?

He would meet with the president of that youth baseball organization. He would read the league's charter to the president of that youth baseball organization and ask him if he believed the actions of his manager reflected the charter's values. If the response of the president of that youth baseball organization didn't satisfy commissioner Vic, the president of that youth baseball organization would feel a distinct chill in the air as he left commissioner Vic's office. At that point, commissioner Vic would search the rules for any loophole that would allow him to rescind the youth baseball organization's membership.

Diane from Charlotte, NC

As a former gymnastics coach and mom of three gymnasts, we used shark cartilage pills for injuries/pains when other meds didn't help. Is this form of therapy allowed in the NFL?

To my knowledge, the guy with all the bottles doesn't test for shark cartilage, but I could be wrong.

Brad from La Crosse, WI

The WIAA has decided to limit high school teams to 60 minutes per week of full-contact practice. The 60 minutes includes drills or game situations that occur at game speed when full tackles are made at a competitive pace and players are taken to the ground, and drills in which the tempo is competitive, with no pre-determined winner, and the players are not tackled to the ground. I understand the safety concerns, but I feel bad for the kids like me who were never stars. It didn't bother me I wasn't getting a ton of snaps on game day because I still got to play the game I love every day in practice. I think the safety emphasis could win over a handful of parents, but will turn off even more kids. Do you have any thoughts on this change?

The culture has to change or we'll lose the game. When I played high school football, football was all about winning the physical battle. Practices were tests of courage and endurance. We had "Bloody Monday," and "Pork Chop Hill," and cage matches in which a backstop was turned upside down over two players who would confront each other until one succumbed. It was a king-of-the-hill game. It was savage. That game can't survive in today's world. We have to change and we have to find a way to make the change work. As a nation, I think we love football too much to fail. The most daunting challenge falls on dinosaurs such as me. We have to learn to adapt to the new conditions, or we will become extinct. I'm trying.

Steven from Milwaukee, WI

Is there another Q&A column you can recommend that actually discusses Packers football? Or maybe could start one.

Good one, Steven. That is unbelievably hilarious. You know what else is unbelievably hilarious? My numbers! They're through the roof. And here's the best part: Tomorrow is payday!

Adam from Wausau, WI

I love the reference to the "Miracle in the Meadowlands." If not for that comeback, the Packers would not have a Super Bowl in 2010.

Wrong miracle, Adam. In this miracle, the Giants' offensive coordinator called a quarterback-fumble play and Herm Edwards picked up the ball and ran it for a touchdown. What was the guy thinking? He should've called the quarterback-handoff play.

Chris from Minneapolis, MN

Did you know there is only one city in the U.S. that has at least three major sports teams (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL) and all of the teams wear the same colors? I'm sure that makes it easier for fans to know what to wear for the Steelers/Pirates doubleheader on Sunday.

Did you know a major league sports team has never left Pittsburgh? Not many major league cities can say that.

Phil from Cimarron, KS

The last few columns I've read, you mention Mike Pennel pretty frequently. What about Mike do you like so much?

He has big-body quickness. I think it's the No. 1 quality a defensive lineman can possess. I have very high expectations for Pennel. I really want to see him get some playing time against Maurkice Pouncey this Sunday.

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