Join jaguars.com Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
John from St. Augustine, FL:
Your response regarding the difference between entertainment and athletic competition really struck home with me. At the risk of being over the top, I thought I'd share a favorite quote with you that illustrates to me how athletic competition is so much more than just entertainment: "You are my adversary, but not my enemy. Your resistance gives me strength. Your will gives me courage. Your spirit enables me. And though I aim to defeat you, should I succeed, I will not humiliate you. Instead I will honor you, for without you I am a lesser person."
Vic: Do you say that right before or after you do the double-chinstrap pull?
Jamal from Jacksonville:
I would really like to know how you feel about the commissioner possibly suspending Vick for the start of the season. Hasn't Michael Vick already paid his debt to society and any other punishment is overkill?
Vic: I'm really getting tired of this question. I've answered it a couple of times already, but I'll do it again because it's the number one topic of the "Dead Zone." Frankly, I don't care what the commissioner decides. Yes, I think Vick has paid his debt to society and I think he has paid a heavy price for what he did, therefore, if the commissioner reinstated his eligibility without further punishment, I'd be fine with that decision. On the other hand, if the commissioner ruled that Vick must serve more suspension time, I'd understand the logic to that decision because he committed a horrible crime and the precedent already exists for suspension following conviction, as in the Ray Lewis and Jamaal Lewis cases. I've kind of turned off to this subject because even though I acknowledge what Vick's conviction has cost him, I'm still not willing to forgive and forget what he did. It sickens me that an athlete of his high standing would torture defenseless animals. I don't like it and I don't have to like it. You've come to the wrong person if you're seeking sympathy for Vick.
John from Jacksonville:
"The coach isn't the revered figure he once was. Vince Lombardi could not have achieved the level of esteem in today's game that he did in his." For coaches today, could this also mean that fewer will be considered Hall of Fame candidates?
Vic: Probably not because somebody has to win and it's winning that puts you in the Hall of Fame. The real question is: Will fewer coaches achieve legendary status, as Lombardi did? The answer is yes. Where are the Lombardi's and Landry's and Noll's and Shula's in today's game? Bill Belichick is a great coach but he doesn't possess the esteem that those coaches do. Lombardi, Brown, Halas, etc. were more than coaches, they were men of honor. They are coaches who will forever be revered as molders of men and shapers of the game. I think we have coaches in today's game who possess those qualities, but the way coaches are hired and fired and the negatives that accompany their celebrity status won't allow for them to achieve the esteem Lombardi did. Chuck Noll was 1-13, 5-9, 6-8 in his first three seasons as head coach, but there wasn't so much as a whisper of doubt about his job security heading into year four. In today's game, he probably would've been fired after his second season, certainly after his third, which means there would be no 11-3 and AFC title game in his fourth season, no four Super Bowl titles in six seasons, and no bust of him in Canton. It's veritably impossible for a coach in today's game to achieve Lombardi-like status. Why? Because we've become an irreverent society. We bash everyone, from presidents to football coaches. We have no patience and we are eager to express our disdain. Lombardi didn't have to deal with that kind of culture.
Jeff from Jacksonville:
Do you feel the Vikings organization should be embarrassed by the way they have let Brett Favre hold them hostage for most of the offseason? To me, if I was a Vikings fan, I'd be furious at my team letting him call his shots, even though I understand the need for a QB in Minnesota is very heavy.
Vic: I don't know if embarrassed is the word, but I think the Favre ordeal should cause the Vikings to take a hard look at themselves. They've manufactured a distraction. So why are they doing it? Because the coach is on the hot seat. See what I mean?
Mike from Jacksonville:
"How could you be a reader of this column and need that explained? It's a young man's game because it's a physical game. Vick is a young man with rested legs. Favre is an old man with a sore arm." Last I checked, even today's quarterback passes more than he runs. You're being foolish. Based on that, you would probably say Vince Young over Favre.
Vic: I wouldn't go that far.
Marcus from Vancouver, BC:
You have been writing for a long time. You have seen and experienced tons of life history. You have the most popular Q&A football blog on the Internet. You run an outstanding golf tournament. When are you going to write a book?
Vic: I have no desire to write a book. Maybe that'll change some day but, as it stands right now, I have a full-time writing job that constitutes a book's worth of writing every year. Following the 1996 season, I was approached by a couple of guys from a small-potatoes publishing company to do a book on the Jaguars' Cinderella season. I was still enchanted by the Jaguars' playoff run and I would've been agreeable to doing a book on it, except the proposal those guys made to me was insulting, which, I have been told, is par for the course in the publishing business. I would've been writing the book for tips in the grill room. All of the guarantees would go to the sales people, the distributors. The author's money wouldn't kick in until after a ridiculous number of books had been sold. They offered no budget for equipment or travel costs. When the meeting ended, I let them know very directly that there was no way I would agree to any of that. The publishing business is a tough racket. It's for two kinds of writers: the big-name authors who get the big-time advances, and the wannabe writers who'll do anything to see their name on a binding. I am neither. You can read my "book" on jaguars.com for free every day.
Andrew from Jacksonville:
Are you ever tempted to ask yourself a question in this column just so you can enlighten the readers?
Vic: I'll often see, hear or read something and think to myself that I've got to work that into my column, and somebody always asks a question that allows me to do that. Here's an example: I recently finished an outstanding read on the life of Paul Brown. In the book, it tells of how Johnny Unitas and Raymond Berry came to play for the Colts and not the Browns. Brown was a great evaluator of talent. He's the one who found Unitas playing semi-pro ball in Pittsburgh. He told Unitas that he didn't have room for him on the roster that year but that he would sign him for the following season. Around the same time, Berry was coming out of college as a somewhat unknown player who Brown had targeted to draft in a later round. Weeb Ewbank was on Brown's staff and had just taken the head job with the Colts. Brown complained to commissioner Bert Bell that Ewbank should be made to remain with the Browns through the draft and Bell so ordered. It turned out to be a major mistake by Brown because, at the draft, Ewbank passed notes to Baltimore sportswriter John Steadman, who couriered the notes to Colts assistant coaches. One of the notes said take Berry now; Ewbank, of course, knew the round for which Brown had targeted Berry. Ewbank also knew of Unitas, through Brown, and used his information to sign Unitas ahead of the Browns. Thanks for asking your question. It allowed me to work that story into today's column.
Walter from Orange Park, FL:
Since left tackle is considered the premier offensive line position, would whoever loses the battle between Tra Thomas and Eugene Monroe then move to right tackle?
Vic: If it's Thomas, yes, if it's Monroe, no. That would be my guess. Monroe is the Jaguars' future at the left tackle position. He was drafted to be a left tackle and he will sign a contract that will pay him to be a left tackle. You're not going to pay a guy all the money the Jaguars are going to pay him and then make him a right tackle. Thomas has swing-man potential and his contract is structured as such. It's professional football. It's about the money.