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It's just a for-fun game

Join Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Shannon from North Little Rock, AR:
If Pudge Heffelfinger scored the winning touchdown for the Allegheny Athletic Association to defeat the Pittsburgh Athletic Club in the first-ever professional football game, how is it that the score was 4-0? Thanks for all you do.

Vic: The scoring system in football underwent dramatic and rapid change from the inception of the game and 1912, when the standard of six points for a touchdown was established. When Pudge took it to the house in 1892 on a recovered fumble, the only score in the game, a touchdown was worth four points. Five years later, it was upped to five points. In 1876, a touchdown didn't count for points, it only gave a team a chance to kick a goal from a designated spot on the field. Football was not a scoring game back then. It more closely resembled war. The death count in football in the early 1900's was so frightening that the sport was in danger of being outlawed.

Caleb from Melbourne, FL:
Jeff Fisher and Vince Young are out in Tennessee, as well as their defensive coordinator. In Houston, they have issues with their head coach and also have let go of their defensive coordinator. They have also begun the tedious process of switching to the 3-4 defense. It seems the stability for next year is on the side of Jacksonville and we seem to be the ones on the rise now.

Vic: I completely agree that the AFC South is in a transition phase and the timing couldn't be better for the Jaguars, who got a two-year head start on their transition phase over the rest of the division. All indications are that the division has taken and will continue to take a step back, especially when you consider the rigorous schedule the division will play next season. It's not ridiculous to think 9-7 could win the division in 2011.

Tyler from Neptune Beach, FL:
If you had a time machine, would you change anything?

Vic: If we had a time machine, we'd change much about our lives. We'd change all of the defeats into victories, but would always winning change our lives for the better? Would it make us better people? How many lessons have you learned in victory?

Bo from Orange Park, FL:
I love your column and read it every day. I wanted to say thank you for your honesty and sense of humor in all your answers. Today is a hard day for me and my family because my father lost his battle with cancer late last night. While I had to make all the arrangements today for the funeral, I had in the back of my mind that as soon as I am off of this phone I can go read Vic. Thank you and good luck in Wisconsin.

Vic: We all need hiding places. They are places where we can be alone with our joy or our grief. They are places that allow us time to recover, so we may regain our balance and return to life and its demands. I have my hiding places, too.

Robert from Pittsburgh, PA:
I remember sitting in class one day, impatiently waiting for you to post "Ask Vic." Finally, you posted it and it was about seven or eight questions. I sent you another "Ask Vic" question saying, "Come on, Vic, what's with the lack of questions? I've waited all day for this?" Shortly after I got home that day, I checked my e-mail and there was a message from you that read, "Cause your questions suck."

Vic: The truth is the pure defense. I just put it in Pittsburghese for you.

David from Durban, South Africa:
I just wanted to thank you for your professionalism. You were the compass of reality for the fans. We will miss you, even from as far as Africa. Go well, or as we say in South Africa, hamba kahle umf'wethu.

Vic: Gunga galunga. Gunga gunga da gunga.

Al from Fruit Cove, FL:
From what I'm reading, it seems that Ted Thompson, the GM you'll work with in Green Bay, is cut from the same mold as Gene Smith: low key, draft-focused, do what you think is right for the long term. Agree?

Vic: Yeah, I think that's an apt description. Thompson is one of the stars of the scouting world. Thompson has been a great segue from Ron Wolf. I think it's very encouraging for the Jaguars that their GM has a relationship, as evidenced by the Anthony Smith trade, with Thompson and the Packers. I watch for that kind of stuff. General managers are, to a degree, defined by the company they keep.

Jay from Rochester, NY:
Based on your knowledge, if the Jaguars somehow had the choice between DE Da'Quan Bowers, DE Cameron Jordan, DE Robert Quinn and DE JJ Watt, who do you think would be the best fit for our inconsistent defense and why?

Vic: You're serious, aren't you? You're watching way too much Mike Mayock.

Clay from Jacksonville:
What other quarterbacks can you think of whose careers would have been more spectacular on a better team?

Vic: There's a ton of them. John Brodie, Joe Ferguson, Jim Hart and Archie Manning immediately come to mind.

Reggie from Orange Park, FL:
Once you do retire, do you think you'll ever become a fan of the game or a team?

Vic: Absolutely I will, and I guarantee I'll be a fan of the Jaguars.

Shane from Callahan, FL:
The most boring game I've watched all season was the Pro Bowl. Did you watch it?

Vic: I tried to watch it but I couldn't get my eyes off Vince Wilfork. What happened to him in Hawaii? He looks like he ate a luau.

Marc from Jacksonville:
Did you see the AFC players laugh and joke around while being down by 42 points? I can't believe they don't care about the Pro Bowl. This just shows you that they are just playing for a paycheck. They don't have passion for the game.

Vic: You're wrong. The players have great passion for the game, just not that game, and I can't blame them. I'm opposed to the Pro Bowl, not because there's anything wrong with playing a for-fun, pickup game, but because fans such as yourself attach a standard to it. It is not football as the NFL plays it, but too many fans either don't understand that or won't accept it. In my opinion, the manner in which the Pro Bowl is being played and packaged is bad for the image of the game.

Shane from Orange Park, FL:
What do you think the Senior Bowl did for Ponder? Should he be considered first-round material again?

Vic: I never stopped considering him first-round material. Look, the entire issue with Christian Ponder is his arm. Is he recovered? Will he remain recovered or are the arm troubles he had last season going to become chronic? Those are the questions that have to be answered on him and they will be answered most effectively at the scouting combine, where teams will get a full medical workup on him. I really hope he submits to a full evaluation at the combine. He has to prove his arm is sound. If he elects not to throw, suspicions will linger. I think he's a talent.

Patrick from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
Do you think it would be worth it to trade for Kolb or Palmer if it would cost us a first-round pick?

Vic: No, I don't. Kevin Kolb wasn't considered to be worthy of a first-round pick in a weak quarterback draft class, so why would you spend a first-round pick on him in a strong quarterback draft class? Carson Palmer's career is clearly in decline. Why trade for a guy in decline and who has a history of injury when you can draft a young, healthy quarterback on the rise?

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