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It's a matter of ethics; where do you draw the line?


Patrick from St. Paul, MN

With the recent passing of Junior Seau, I have been trying to find out if there are programs available to players that focus on financial planning, career counseling and personal counseling at one time?

The answer is yes, there is such a program and it is provided by every team in the league for each team's players, in the form of a director of player development or players' programs director who assists players in acclimating to professional football, the community and the pressures associated with each, and assists players in managing their daily lives and futures. Formers Packers player Rob Davis is the Packers' director of player development. Davis' bio in the Packers media guide reads: "The program is also set up to get players prepared for life after football, and helps players seek educational and vocational opportunities."

Ali from Huntsville, AL

I don't know about you, Vic, but I watch DWTS religiously in support of Donald Driver, and he's kicking butt when it comes to his performances. The judges give praise but don't give the highest scores. Do you think it's because he's got Packer Nation behind him and they're trying to even out the playing field? I can't help but get frustrated when he gets less than he deserves.

I've heard that one of the judges is a Bears fan. I can't prove that; it's just what I've heard.

Terrence from Austin, TX

OK, speaking about "Bountygate" and ethics, you seem to not agree that it is unethical. "A tough game for tough guys" is a cute mantra, but the fact of the matter is these players and coaches were attempting to take away the livelihood of another to improve their own; nothing tough about that. In my opinion, the real tough person would be the one with the courage and integrity to blow the whistle on the whole thing, even if it meant risking their own livelihood.

It's unethical, but I've spent a lifetime in football and I admire the courage, dedication and toughness required to play the game, and I've used it to measure my own courage, dedication and toughness, but I've never used football as a measuring stick for goodness. In my world, football has always been a roughhouse game for roughhouse guys. I tend to shrug off bad-boy behavior because I have a little bad boy in me that finds some kind of playful enjoyment in a hit that's a little late, and that's why my tolerance for this whole "Bountygate" thing is a little greater than yours. I like the way Hines Ward always smiled through all the bad-boy stuff, even when he was the target. I've always thought that was the kind of person for whom the game was intended, which is to say the kind of person who can take it as well as dish it out, and doesn't whine and cry about what's not fair. That's my idea of a football player. As I've said, I am part of the culture that needs to be changed. Please be patient with me. I'm trying.

Jason from Austin, TX

I saw Tom Brady try to do it, and I've heard that Dan Marino pulled it off. I'm surprised that I haven't seen more fake QB kneel-downs or spikes before halftime. What's the best trick play you've seen?

I don't like trick plays. I think trick plays are unethical and men who use them should be punished. I mostly don't like all that wiggling and jiggling some teams do before the ball is snapped. I like it when two teams line up and play like men. I have respect for teams that play that way.

Brent from Tacoma, WA

I'm at a crossroads. On one hand, I want the Vikings to get this stadium bill worked out so my favorite rivalry will live on long into the future. On the other hand, if they leave, the state of Minnesota will become de facto Packers country and it will bring in a ton of revenue for the Packers, ensuring their long-time prosperity. Can you help me through this?

So, if the Packers moved to Los Angeles, Wisconsin would become de facto Bears country? I don't think so. I am not at a crossroads. I want the Vikings to get a new stadium and stay right where they are. That's been a great franchise in a great football town for a long time. The NFL needs it to stay there and the NFC North needs it to stay there.

Greg from Virginia Beach, VA

It was said that Perry bulked up to play DE. Is it safe to assume he would need to shed that bulk to play OLB?

He certainly carries his weight well, but if he can get faster by losing a couple of pounds, and not lose his pop at the point of attack, then why not cut back on the milk shakes?

Autumn from Hooksett, NH

Hi, I am an eighth grade student from NH. I am working on a project and I decided to do my research on cleats. My thesis is: Having one cleat for three sports would be a benefit to many. The sports I am talking about are soccer, football and baseball. What do you think of the idea of having one cleat for soccer, baseball and football? What would be the pros and cons of having just one cleat?

Football uses different cleats for different types of fields. One of the cleats it uses is long and thick. It would not work on a baseball field because it would make large ruts in the infield that would cause ground balls to take bad hops. I don't know anything about soccer and I try to avoid absorbing any information about it. When I'm passing through the sports channels on my TV and I get to the soccer channels, I close my eyes, push the button down and hold it there until I think I've made it into the college football channels.

Bill from St. Paul, MN

Vic, how about this for a suggested rule change? If a defender leads with his helmet to make a hit, his team should be penalized with a personal foul, and that defender's facemask should be removed for the remainder of the game and he must play without it. Your thoughts?

And if he doesn't want to continue playing, he can stop, but only if he promises to take everybody out for ice cream after the game.

Michael from Merrill, WI

Vic, on the offensive pass interference, normally a receiver gets called when he is only pushing off. It's really no different than the illegal contact for the defense. Plus, this is a passing league now and that's what fans want, a lot of points. So why would the league ever consider giving the defense the ball after offensive pass interference?

Michael, don't take everything I write literally. Some things are meant solely as food for thought. What I wanted you to get from what I suggested is that the rules of the game are tilted dramatically in favor of offense.

Rick from Eagan, MN

Do you think Mike Holmgren is doing a good job as the Browns GM?

I think this season and this draft class will answer that question.

Andy from New York, NY

What's with every controversy ending in gate? It seems like it has run rampant throughout every sport. What are your thoughts on this cliche label?

I think it's become part of pop-culture language. I think it also serves to remind us what a major event in American history Watergate is. Its effects even spilled over into sports reporting. Prior to Watergate, newspaper reporters that covered teams flew with the team. It was just accepted practice that if you wanted to know the team, you had to travel with the team. Roger Kahn wrote of it in his book, "The Boys of Summer." The long train rides were perfect for sports writers to bond with the players and develop "inside" reports. Traveling with the team came to an abrupt halt, however, after Watergate. All of a sudden, newspapers became vigilant about maintaining a distance from the teams they covered. The focus on journalistic ethics became intense, and I think it was at the expense of the newspapers and their readers because I think the quality of coverage declined. When the media pulled away, the teams responded by doing the same. Sound relationships that had long served both parties became strained or fractured, and all because somebody broke into an apartment building in Washington and stole some political information. If anything, the effects of Watergate have intensified. I'm glad I was able to get a few years in before Watergate happened. I greatly enjoyed the old days, when reporters didn't feel a need to keep their distance and teams were just happy to have the coverage. The greatest PR slogan of all-time is: Write anything you want, just spell the name right. It used to be that way.

Tim from Harrisonburg, VA

I was wondering what your thoughts are on the 53-man roster. Do you think it's a perfect number or do you think it should be higher or lower?

Fifty-three is plenty, especially when you consider that there are eight practice-squad players dressing in each team's locker room, and that each team has a ready-to-go database of street free agents who can be accessed in a flash. The game has enough specialization in it already. If more players are added to the roster, we'll have 22 players running on and off the field after every play.

David from Honolulu, HI

Can you explain why moving Charles Woodson to safety would extend his playing life? What's the difference between safety and corner?

A step.

Douglas from Pleasant Prairie, WI

Don Drysdale told Mickey Mantle, "Your guy gets one of my guys, I get two of yours. Don't dig in."

That's unethical. We need an investigation.

Cody from Clintonville, WI

Knowing you're a ground-and-pound, run-the-ball kind of guy, which offensive formation is your personal favorite? Power-I, Wing-T or Wishbone?

The Wing-T is the greatest offense of all time. You could power out of it, counter out of it and throw out of it. It allowed for pure power football, and it also incorporated a lot of misdirection and finesse-type devices, such as full-spin hand-offs by the quarterback. The problem with the Wing-T is that its signature block, the "post and turn," has been banned. That little double-team by the tackle and wing back on the end, in which the tackle stood the end up and the wing back crab-blocked the end's knees for the purpose of turning him, is history. My favorite Wing-T plays were eight and nine counter. The flow went one way and the wing back went the other way, taking a full-spin hand-off from the quarterback and running face-first into the pursuit of the defense. It was a chilling play, but it would break big if you caught it right. It kept the defense honest.

Derek from South Point, OH

I have been reading "That First Season," about Lombardi turning around the Packers. Excellent read. What do you feel is the greatest example of a coach coming in and turning a team's fortunes around?

Ara Parseghian at Notre Dame in 1964. They would've won the national title had they not gotten jobbed at Southern Cal in the last game of the year.

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