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Here come the apologists

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

Mark from Boise, ID:
Manning did his job. Defense not only wins championships, it loses them.

Vic: Manning did his job? What is it with you Peyton Manning apologists? He was nearly intercepted four times and three of those should've been intercepted and returned for touchdowns. The only play he made in the second half was catching the Chargers off guard and lobbing a touchdown pass to an uncovered receiver. In his last four possessions, with the game on the line and the Colts only needing one more score to clinch the win, Manning managed a total of 20 plays for 38 net yards. Hey, that's crunch time, baby. A day after he wins the league MVP, he gags with the game on the line and does his usual one-and-done routine. When are you people gonna get off your knees? The guy is 7-8 in career postseason games and six times he's lost in the first playoff game of that year's postseason; three times in the last four years. Manning did not do his job. His job is to win. His job is to get it done at crunch time.

Steven from Jacksonville:
It appeared the Chargers defense was waiting for Manning to call the play, then was changing their defense with 10 seconds remaining on the play clock. Do you think this was a difference in the game and do you think most defenses will try to use this strategy in the future against Manning?

Vic: Defenses have been doing that for the past several years. That was nothing new. Route adjustments, of which Manning and his receivers are the masters, overcome the strategy you're describing. It's just a little mind game the Chargers were playing with the Colts and the indecision ended up costing the Chargers what appeared would be the game-losing touchdown when Antonio Cromartie stood there looking at his sideline for instructions as the Colts receiver ran right by him.

Andrew from Orange Park, FL:
Florida will whip Oklahoma. After that, I would love to see a Florida/USC game. It would be a classic. However, USC would be in the BCS title game if they had taken care of business in a very weak conference. They didn't so they aren't. They have the easiest road of any team in the nation every year.

Vic: A weak conference? You mean the one that went 5-0 in bowl games? How about Florida? Did it take care of business at home against Ole Miss? Utah is the only team in the country that took care of business in every game, and then they went down to SEC country and kicked the crimson out of Alabama, and nobody even mentioned them for the national title game. You need to look at the facts, instead of spending all your time doing the Gator champ.

Ryan from Jacksonville:
Coming off an embarrassing season and possibly having low tickets sales going into next season, do you think it would be a good marketing scheme to get Tebow in a late round to sell tickets?

Vic: Winning sells tickets. If you can guarantee that drafting Tim Tebow will result in winning, then I absolutely think it would be a good marketing scheme to draft him. I have never known a team to fill its stadium with fans who want to watch a player lose.

Michael from Fort Worth, TX:
I have to correct you on your college football statements. First, no one is saying the Big 12 is a quarterback factory, it is simply said that as of right now they have the best quarterbacks in the nation, so to ask what QB from the Big 12 has done anything in the NFL isn't a fair question, seeing how in the past most Big 12 quarterbacks don't get drafted or have to switch positions, your error is in your implication.

Vic: They don't get drafted and have to switch positions because they stink as quarterbacks. Jason White and Eric Crouch won the Heisman Trophy and weren't even considered NFL quarterback prospects. It's only an unfair question because you don't like the answer. The fact remains that the greatest NFL quarterback the Big Eight or Big 12 ever produced is probably Kordell Stewart, who probably shouldn't have been a quarterback. The error is in my implication? No, my error is in thinking you could see through your bias to acknowledge the truth.

Bill from Jacksonville:
How can Boston College tell their head coach he can't interview for another job especially when it's a NFL job or he'll be fired? This seems like a terrible way to treat your head coach. Do you agree?

Vic: No, I don't agree. I think it's time for schools to stand up for themselves and stop allowing their programs to be used as launching pads for coaching careers and, in other cases, to stop allowing the interview process to hold the school hostage for a new and more lucrative contract. If, in fact, Boston College has told Jeff Jagodzinski he will be fired if he interviews for the Jets job, then BC is sending a message to all future head coach candidates: Make sure this is the job you want before you interview for it, and I think that's a proper message. Coaches that jump from job to job toy with the fans' emotions and the promises made to the players. I think it's critical to a program's continuity and success that it finds coaches who are loyal to the program and commit to it for the long term. I applaud Boston College's stance on this matter, but I wish BC had taken the same high road and stayed in the Big East, instead of bolting for the ACC and a big pay day. In having done that, BC toyed with its fans' emotions and the promises that were made to the players it recruited.

Jason from Jacksonville:
In your column on Friday, Vince from Indianapolis said the Colts would win. Looks like you knew what you were talking about.

Vic: I didn't hear from Vince today. What a surprise, huh? Hey, I told him who would win the game and why, yet, he doesn't grace me with so much as a you were right. What if I had been wrong? Do you think I would've heard from Vince? Of course, there was no chance I would be wrong because it was a postseason game.

Jesse from Jacksonville:
How important in your opinion is a running game in the postseason?

Vic: Run the ball, stop the run was 3-1 this past weekend. Even the Cardinals, who were last in the league in rushing during the regular season, knew they had to run the ball.

Steve from Jacksonville:
I'm watching "The Greatest Game Ever Played" and one of the things that is amazing is the horrible traction because of the bad turf. When did this improve in the NFL? Can you imagine hearing the players complain about a field like that today?

Vic: It improved with an increase in the popularity of the game and an increase in exposure, but the major difference occurred when NFL teams started to become the major or only tenants in the stadiums in which they played. Yankee Stadium was a baseball stadium being used by a football team. That was common in those days. The Bears played in Wrigley Field, the Lions played in Tiger Stadium, the Steelers played in Forbes Field, the Colts played in Memorial Stadium, the Browns played in Cleveland Stadium, etc. All of those stadiums were configured for baseball and the baseball team that played in those stadiums were the major tenant, for the simple reason that they played 81 games there.

Jon from San Diego, CA:
Four for four; very impressive that you were able to pick all the winners this weekend. What are your predictions for the winners next weekend? Do you think any of the road teams can pull off an upset?

Vic: I'm not ready to finalize my picks, yet, but I'm leaning toward the two road teams, the Chargers and Ravens, in the AFC, and toward the two home teams, the Giants and Panthers, in the NFC.

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