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Tight end prospect on fans' radar

Thirty teams yield stage to Panthers, Broncos


Del from Sterling, IL

Any thoughts on the upcoming O.J. Simpson mini-series?

Infamy is more powerful than fame.

Randy from Medicine Hat, AB

In the past, didn't the championship winner play an all-star team from the rest of the league? Could that work today?

I think you might be referring to the College All-Star Game, in which a team of college all-stars played the NFL champion in Chicago each July. It didn't work then, so I can't imagine it working now.

Ben from Wauwatosa, WI

Jordy Nelson is my favorite player in the NFL, not just a favorite Packer. It's because he's a farm-boy, like me. What player have you loved simply because of his background?

When I was a kid, I identified with the players from the mill towns in Western Pa., players such as Ditka and Namath. Cookie Gilchrist and Dick "Little Mo" Modzelewski were from my high school and I always watched their games. The NFL's popularity is built on that homegrown feeling. I always saw football as being our game. We invented it, we play it. Once and a while, a baseball or basketball player would emerge from the region where I was raised, but the chain of football talent it produced was constant. It was our identity. It was really all we had. I get what you're feeling for Jordy Nelson. I think it's good for you to identify with someone who makes you feel good about yourself.

Stephen from Cedar Falls, IA

Vic, how would you word the catch rule so it's easy to know what is and what isn't a catch?

I'd make the wording as simple as possible: A player is judged to have completed a catch when he has two feet down in bounds and has displayed control and possession of the ball. The rest would be up to the official. It's a judgment call. I think the problem now is there's too much language. The ambiguity of a catch is the product of too many defined variables.

Jeremy from New Holstein, WI

I'll start out by saying I like a bone-jarring hit as much as anyone. I like the Pro Bowl, though. I enjoy seeing some of the best players having a good time and getting outside their element a bit. I like watching who they are in a more casual environment and how they interact with each other. I saw plenty of good hits this season. The Pro Bowl is just a nice change of pace. Is that flawed thinking?

There's nothing wrong with that attitude. The Pro Bowl is for the fans at training camp who cheer a deep pass completion against air. They're the ones who have a more innocent view of the game. They like the pretty part of football.

Tom from Elkport, IA

Pretty cool, the first TD in Super Bowl history was a one-hand grab with no gloves.

That is the most upright, over-the-middle catch I have ever seen. What gets lost in that catch is the courage it took to make it in the middle of the field. Thank God Jack Tatum wasn't sitting there. Great receivers lose their bodies, but they don't lose their hands. McGee's catch is an all-time feel-good moment.

Joe from Moline, IL

Which NFL commissioner would have made the best President of the United States?

Pete Rozelle is the answer. He's the best commissioner of any major professional sports league ever. His genius was understated. His poise was without parallel. His control was the result of the respect he commanded. When he spoke, giants of the game, such as Lombardi, listened. Pete possessed a rare human quality. He spoke often of his regret for allowing games to be played during the Kennedy assassination weekend. He was the most powerful executive in all of sports, but reporters could call him and ask him questions or get a statement on a subject, and he would always meet with reporters in the back of the press box when he attended a game. He was special.

Michael from Marlboro, NJ

Vic, I was watching a video of the 2011 Packers and I noticed Aaron Rodgers played much smoother. He was always smiling and he seemed to have little to no tension. What happened to Aaron? He barely smiled this past season and looked very frustrated and never released emotion, even after great plays.

It was a trying year for him. I think he was giving us a preview back in the summer, after Jordy Nelson's injury, when Rodgers gave reporters an interview that challenged the young receivers to step up their play. I think he saw storm clouds brewing.

Conor from Milwaukee, WI

I have full trust in the draft-and-develop system, and the people we have in place to do those things. That being said, I want to know when the proper time to start mortgaging your future for the present would be? If you draft and develop with enough success, do you ever need to risk your cap health for any reason?

No. The cap is No. 1. It must never be abused.

Tom from West Bend, WI

Baseball (and to a lesser extent, basketball) can be played in a somewhat friendly way. Football cannot. Why not just name a Pro Bowl team, take some photos, pay some bonuses and skip that horrible charade of a game altogether?

Because there are 52 entertainment weekends a year and the NFL isn't going to give away one it owns. They will fix this problem.

Warren from Lutz, FL

Would GM Vic give $10 million for one year for a rejuvenated Calvin Johnson?

Probably not. The draft is loaded with wide receivers.

Eric from Louisville, KY

Vic, if the Panthers get off to a quick start like they have throughout the playoffs, does Peyton Manning stand a chance playing catch-up from a 10-14 point deficit?

It has to be Denver's No. 1 goal to keep the Panthers from getting that big early lead, as they did against Seattle and Arizona. Denver has the defense to keep this game close. Denver wins if its defense stands on its head and Peyton Manning is able to nibble at the Panthers defense. It's the only way I can see Denver winning.

Dan from Chattanooga, TN

Vic, if every team in the league practiced draft-and-develop, and only patched through free agency when the deal was worth it, how would that affect free agency, or the league as a whole? Surely the league benefits from the teams who willingly overspend in free agency?

The league wants free agency to thrive, but I see it as a market in retreat. Affordable one-year patching seems to be the trend. The hold-me-hostage contracts are in decline.

Brian from St. Charles, IL

Vic, what are the odds they go for a tight end in the first round.

Henry Hunter?

Joe from Asbury, IA

Vic, I'm just curious. How much has your inbox decreased since the end of the season? Thanks for keeping "Ask Vic" going in the offseason. I enjoy your work.

We're in a little bit of a down period right now, as the other 30 teams in the league step back and watch the Panthers and Broncos play in the game to which all teams aspire. Nothing much can happen in the league until after Sunday's game.

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