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Find the line and don't cross it

Dave from East Burke, VT

I'm sure I won't be alone in wanting to know what you think of the lengthening of the extra point. How often do you think teams will resort to the two-pointer?

I think it's going to change the game dramatically.

Taylor from Fort Dodge, IA

Vic, please don't take this the wrong way. I'm not trying to catch you and criticize you. I just simply want your thoughts. What I'm curious about is you said we need to stop people who are going to cause problems in the league from getting into the league to begin with, but in other instances you had said you find football players where you find football players, meaning not everybody is going to be the most upstanding citizens. My question for you is where do you draw the line?

You find football players where you find football players has nothing to do with citizenship. It means you don't draft the school or the conference, you draft the player. Kennard Backman comes from a school that no longer has a football program. I think you might be thinking of my willingness to give young men who have made mistakes a chance to grow and change. Yes, I will do that because some of the best players I've covered grew from troubled backgrounds into solid citizens. Where do you draw the line? I'm just a sports writer. I'll leave that question for people trained to answer that question. There is, no doubt, a line.

Jay from Arlington Heights, IL

Can you please explain what you mean when you say Unitas invented the passing game?


He invented the modern-day two-minute drill. He took us from lob ball to precision passing. The Unitas-to-Berry, on-time, down-and-out to stop the clock is the example. He gave us the back out of the backfield with Lenny Moore. He defined the pocket and what could be done in it. He created combination routes that confused defenses. He is the father of modern offense.**

Ryan from Menomonie, WI

As I understand the situation, part of the issue with the punishments the public sees as too lenient stems from the CBA limiting the league's hand. Is it likely the next CBA will have more teeth regarding personal conduct off the field?

Trade money for punishment? Not likely, and that's why it's so important to find that line and don't cross it. We're concerning ourselves too much with punishment. It's not the answer. We've got the toughest commissioner in NFL history – they call him "The Enforcer" – but misconduct issues are worsening.

Denny from Midvale, UT

I would like to respond to the answer you gave to Lisa a couple of days ago. The words you used reminded me of the scene in "Field of Dreams" in which James Earl Jones explains baseball. Very poetic. Very majestic and full of passion. If we accept cheating, we will lose that.

When you accept cheating, you confess to being a cheater.

Steven from Las Vegas, NV

"We need to identify trouble before it comes into the league." Great in theory but you also said GM Vic would have drafted Jameis Winston, even though he was flying a regatta of red flags. Pot meet kettle.

He has to pass the tests from the people trained to evaluate a man's character. I promise you, Winston was under intense scrutiny. He had to have passed the Bucs' evaluations for them to draft him No. 1 overall. I was covering the Jaguars in 1996 when they had the second pick of the draft and knew Lawrence Phillips would be available to them. Phillips was a fast-rising prospect. Stardom was predicted for him, but he had a bad background and the Jaguars went hard to work within their security division researching that background. They talked to psychologists about him. The issue went right up to the day before the draft, when they decided they would pass on Phillips. The Rams drafted him with the sixth overall pick; it was a mistake. When it comes to players of risk, scrutiny of them must be intense. The Bucs did their homework. Only time will tell if they got good advice.

David from Prophetstown, IL

Vic, I'm a relatively new reader of your column, but have learned a lot. Could you please explain the asterisk story and how it backfired on you?

It cost me a round of golf. That's how it backfired. I was on the first tee at Sawgrass when I got a call to come back to the office because ESPN was playing fast and loose with an asterisk that was in my power rankings. It had been there for four months, but it was only an issue now because the Jaguars were going to play the Patriots that week. The Jaguars' owner ordered the asterisk removed and I needed to write an explanation, so I went back to the office and wrote something humorous, because that was the original intent of the asterisk. I remember writing I wasn't retracting our position because you can't retract something that had been on the site every day for four months. I don't do those things anymore because a round of golf is more important to me than feigned concern.

Evan from Toronto, Ontario

Vic, I heard a quote from Jack Lambert the other day saying, "Football is not a popularity contest." I love this quote because I think that's part of what's wrong with the game today. When do you think the game changed from that view to what we have with players today?

It changed in 1995. That's when TV began making us angry.

Dave from Lehi, UT

"The ball is the chalice on the altar of football." Great line, Vic; probably a little bit of a stretch, though. How excited were you about that line in yesterday's post?

After I wrote it, I smiled and said, "You da man, Vic, you da man."

Tim from Marshall, MI

You somewhat answered my baseball question by answering someone else's baseball question. I don't want to sound presumptuous but how much of that philosophy plays into your question selection every day?

I don't know. I'm just trying to get to the first tee.

Eric from Lansing, MI

Vic, I found your inner child playing on the railroad tracks in downtown Lansing. Did he make it home?

He called me from Natrona. He was on the tracks, wandering.

Eric from Minneapolis, MN

Why hasn't any other sport been able to cultivate an honor code similar to professional golf? It is the only major professional sport where the competitors enforce penalties on themselves, often costing hundreds of thousands of lost winnings and potential victories.

Congratulations, Eric, you are in the "Ask Vic" Hall of Fame, on the good side, for asking one of the best questions in this column's history. Why, indeed?

RB James Starks rushed for 333 yards on 85 carries with 2 TDs last season in his fifth year with the Packers.

Steve from Austin, TX

Your answer to Mike regarding high school football brought tears to my eyes, as it perfectly encapsulated the excitement I felt growing up in a small Texas town. To this day, my all-time favorite sports venue is the old ramshackle high school stadium in my hometown. Today, it's a parking lot for school buses, with only the locker rooms and concession buildings remaining as storage sheds. Whenever I return for a visit, I always drive to the site, park my car and walk around remembering my youth. Thanks for the memories.

They make us rich. The more you have, the richer you are.

Jeff from Nelson, BC

Regarding getting the ball in play more quickly and more often in baseball, wouldn't making it two strikes and you're out and three balls is a walk change things? Would fans at the park like a shorter game? Would owners like less time to sell beer, food and souvenirs?

I don't think it would shorten the time of the game. I think it would produce more runs and more action. I think it would produce a lot of big innings. You'd have to throw out the record book, but I think the DH rule has already tainted the game's regard for its history.


Troy from Mazomanie, WI

Why don't you start your own website, Vic?

I'm doing exactly what I want to be doing. Working for a team site is a fantastic experience because you inherit the team's fan base as readers. is where passion for the Packers lives, and I love it. I spent a lot of years covering the game, but it wasn't until I began writing for a team site that I found the fans, and they're the best part of the game. This column is the best part of every day of my life. It allows me to talk with you. I didn't have that in the newspaper business. This is an amazing forum for interaction. I love the good old days, but I'm very thankful for the experience has given me, and I'm really looking forward to the 2015 season.

J.B. from Chicago, IL

It's my belief the league would be far more successful at reducing off-the-field issues if it punished the team rather than the player. Reduce cap, take away draft picks; make the teams more responsible for the players they choose. Would it solve everything?

I like that idea. I like it when this column thinks.

Brian from Fond du Lac, WI

"Institutional control comes from the top. It begins in that room full of owners." Very true, but if what you're suggesting is asking a room full of billionaire-sized egos to not attempt to one-up each other at any cost, then you need a stiff drink.

You're right.

James from Orlando, FL

Just learned Mr. Kraft is not appealing NFL sanctions. That speaks volumes about Deflategate. I think the NFL has more info that hasn't been released and Mr. Kraft got word of it. Looks like he's leaving Brady to fight on his own. What's your take?

Never go against the family.

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