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Go ahead, block me

Join senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Neil from Gloucester, England:
Name your starting offensive line for the upcoming season and why?

Vic: The only position in question is left guard. Vince Manuwai has had a couple of rocky seasons after a great rookie year. He'll have to compete for his starting job this summer. His competition will be Mike Williams and Dan Connolly. Williams, in my opinion, needs to shed some weight to be able to compete at his full ability in the heat and grueling regimen of training camp two-a-days. If Williams was to win the job, Chris Naeole might move to left guard to make room for Williams at right guard. Let's not forget, however, about Connolly. He made a big impression as an undrafted free agent last summer. Connolly could step right in at left guard. Khalif Barnes and Mo Williams are the starting tackles and center Brad Meester and Naeole are the other two starters.

Candy from Santa Monica, CA:
I'm relatively new to following NFL football. My question is what are the three most memorable plays in the modern era? From reading, I would guess: 1. Immaculate Reception, 2. Music City Miracle and 3. Montana to Clark. What's your take? And by the way, I wrote this to you in a thong bikini and I look as good as any Eagle cheerleader, honey.

Vic: That's what I'm talking about. This is exactly what "Ask Vic" needed. Leave it to a California girl named Candy to provide a little sex appeal. Go Eagles! By the way, I think the top three all-time plays are: 1. Immaculate Reception, 2. Bart Starr QB sneak to win the Ice Bowl, 3. Alan Ameche scores in 1958 title game. Your selections for the modern era are pretty strong, as I'm sure you are, too.

Brad from Vancouver, BC:
When was your first live NFL experience? Was it a good one?

Vic: It was October 25, 1959. The Steelers were hosting the New York Giants and I was an eight-year-old sitting behind the screen at home plate in Forbes Field. Mostly, I remember the colors. I had never watched anything but a black and white TV and the first thing that hit me about seeing a game live was how vivid the Giants' red and the Steelers' gold were. The Giants won the game, 21-16. It was the year after their sudden death OT loss to the Colts and the Giants had all of their great players back for a re-match with the Colts. Charlie Conerly was the Giants' quarterback. They had Frank Gifford, Kyle Rote, Andy Robustelli and Dick "Little Mo" Modzelewski, the guy from my hometown. The Steelers' best players were Jack Butler and Ernie Stautner. Butler remains the boss of Blesto and I talked to him this morning to make sure I had the right game; the Steelers played some games at Pitt Stadium around that time. The Giants only lost two games that season, one at Philadelphia and the other one to the Steelers at Yankee Stadium, but the Giants lost to the Colts, again, in the NFL title game.

Nick from Odenton, MD:
Do you have any unusual football stats that we might find interesting? For example, the most blocked punts in a game, the most interceptions, etc.

Vic: Here's one from the Jaguars' inaugural season: The 1995 Jaguars hold the NFL record for the fewest opponents yards lost attempting to pass in a season, 72.

Mary from Clearwater, FL:
Do you read all of your e-mails because I've written to you several times and never, ever have you answered them.

Vic: I have never, ever not read an e-mail.

Adam from Jacksonville:
Both OT games last year that the Jags played they won. In both games they lost the coin toss. They won the games by playing football, not by being the first one to make a two-point conversion after the third OT.

Vic: You're right and you made your point beautifully.

Andy from Jacksonville:
Are the old-time coaches that said don't run on the sand the same old-time coaches who said no water during practice?

Vic: The same ones.

Bill from Ware, MA:
I was scouring the NFL rule book in regards to overtime rules and I came across this. 1. The team scoring first during overtime play shall be the winner and the game automatically ends upon any score (by safety, field goal or touchdown) or when a score is awarded by the referee for a palpably unfair act. What is a "palpably unfair act" and has such an act ever determined a winner?

Vic: If, in the course of a player running uncontested for what would be a game-winning, overtime touchdown, someone from the opponents' sideline runs out and tackles the ball-carrier, the referee would likely rule a "palpably unfair act" and award the violated team the victory. I don't know of it having happened in my lifetime.

Fester from Green Cove Springs, FL:
I agree with the NFL. I think Congress overstepped its authority when it forced the NFL to give away its product by televising home games.

Vic: Good for you. You get it. There was absolutely no reason for the government to interfere, other than a lot of congressmen wanted to see their favorite teams' home games on TV. Look at it this way: The government has seen no reason to interfere as gas prices skyrocket and oil companies bathe in profits, so how can we justify forcing the NFL to televise its games? Don't tell me about tax money to build these stadiums. That was 1973 and the landscape of professional sports was very different.

Kevin from Jacksonville:
In response to your "Ask Vic" is a free voice for a free world and will not be silenced, the government of China uses a very restrictive browsing filter on their country's internet. They take those incidents very seriously and have blocked all information related to the event. Blocking websites unfortunately is done using keywords instead of by the actual content of the website. Mention those events too frequently and would be blocked because it would be considered corrupting the youth of China against their government.

Vic: They got a zillion mouths to feed and instead of spending their time looking for food they spend it reading "Ask Vic?" Now I know what Rodney Dangerfield meant in the movie "Caddyshack" when he said, "On the good side." I'd be honored to be blocked.

Lane from Orlando, FL:
What players and coaches do you feel revolutionized the NFL more than any other?

Vic: George Halas and Paul Brown come to mind right away. They each contributed major creations that helped usher in the modern era of professional football. Halas placed great importance on assistant coaches and one of his assistants, Clark Shaughnessy, showed the pro football world what could be done with the T-formation, as the Bears blasted the Redskins, 73-0, in the 1940 NFL title game. Brown defined the word "pro." He made players follow a tight regimen of film review and classroom study. Halas and Brown not only were pioneers of the league, they were men with vision who established the foundation of the game that's played today. Vince Lombardi's impact on the game is the mystique he gave it. Even now, we remain intrigued by his legend. Simply put, Lombardi popularized the game. The most important players, in my opinion, are Johnny Unitas, Jim Brown and Lawrence Taylor. Unitas defined how to play the quarterback position. Brown established the standard by which all players are judged and he provided players with the ability to speak their minds. Taylor ushered in the new style of defensive player.

Mike from Sheffield, PA:
What do you feel is our biggest loss with Jimmy Smith? Is it the leadership or the flat-out playing ability?

Vic: It's the ability. It always come first. You can't lead if you can't play.

Corey from Jacksonville:
Regardless of whether or not Barry Bonds has cheated, the overall accomplishment should not be undermined. Undoubtedly, we are witnessing one of the greatest overall players to ever play the game. Juice or no juice, he deserves praise for his accomplishment.

Vic: So it's come to this? Regardless of whether or not somebody has cheated? Are we that desperate for entertainment? Please reconsider your statement. If it wasn't so egregious, it would be laughable.

Bobby from Kingsland, GA:
Are the owners just giving their product away by putting it on TV for the home crowd? Are we to believe they are not getting paid the way every other sport on TV is, or anything else we see on TV for that matter? It's another stream of money for them.

Vic: You don't get it.

Shaun from Ocala, FL:
Who decides on the design and color of the team's jersey and what does it take to change them?

Vic: Each team is ultimately in control of its own uniform, but it gets a lot of guidance from NFL Properties, for the obvious reason. Properties is the merchandising arm of the league and the league very definitely wants its teams to wear jerseys that are marketable.

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