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Lets' try to get it

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

Charles from Jacksonville:
After Roger Staubach retired, he made one of my favorite commercials when his line was, "Now I make my own calls." Do you have any good stories from the days when quarterbacks called the plays?

Vic: Yeah, I do, but I can't tell you about them because they are from 20 years before the Jaguars had a team and I was covering another team then and there are "Ask Vic" readers who don't want me to tell stories about any team other than the Jaguars. It offends them.

Scot from Jacksonville:
I understand and respect the importance of history and NFL pioneers, but if you were to take them out of contention and consider, say, the 1980's or 1990's onward, who would be the revolutionaries, relatively speaking, as far as players and coaches go?

Vic: Bill Walsh is the first name that would come to mind, but he had introduced a lot of the concepts of his west coast offense as Paul Brown's offensive coordinator, so, who gets the credit? Vic Fangio and Dom Capers and all of the zone-blitz boys revolutionized defense. I'm not ready to say Bill Belichick is a pioneer because when did teamwork become a revolutionary concept? I won't give Belichick credit for cutting veterans in favor of young players for the purpose of saving salary cap money because long ago coaches traded veterans for draft choices and replaced those veterans with young players. There's only so much that can be invented before everything's been invented. The pioneers had an open field. Walsh is the most revolutionary coach of the last 25 years. Lawrence Taylor is the most revolutionary player.

Namscott from Miami, OK:
If giving away their product was so terrible, then why did they continue to abide by the law after it went off the books?

Vic: The NFL continued to abide by the rules of the 1973 Act of Congress after it expired because to have not done so would've been to invite more government interference and an even greater act of wrath.

Kevin from Jacksonville:
Why don't the Saints just list Reggie Bush as a quarterback or kicker and then have him report as eligible for every play so he could still wear number five.

Vic: Players are assigned numbers according to their primary positions. Neither quarterback nor kicker would be Bush's primary position, so the league would order Bush to change his number. I've gotten questions about Dallas Clark wearing number 44. I suspect he's able to do that because he plays a lot of H-back.

Chad from Yulee, FL:
Doug Flutie, Warren Moon, Joe Theisman and Kurt Warner are some of the big names that come to mind having benefited from success in the CFL and NFL Europe. Who are some of the unheralded guys that had decent careers in the NFL only after proving themselves in smaller leagues?

Vic: The list of those guys is long. Let's begin with a couple of more high-profile guys who came out of lesser leagues. Cookie Gilchrist was the "Babe Ruth of Canada," where he played fullback, defensive line and did the kicking. Jake Delhomme is another Europe guy. How about the greatest all-time product of a lesser league? Johnny Unitas played for the Bloomfield Rams, an inner-city Pittsburgh semi-pro team that played on a dusty, rock-strewn field.

Courtney from Jacksonville:
In regards to 1973 when the government passed the 72-hour rule for TV blackouts, I think the concern at the time when government intervened was that the demand for the product wasn't there or it wasn't as great as the league would've liked.

Vic: Let me stop you there because you are way off. Tickets were in greater demand then than they are now. It was common for men to travel outside the blackout area to watch the game. Motel rooms outside the blackout area filled up quickly for the playoffs. Tickets back then truly were "hot." Why? Because you couldn't see the game if you didn't have a ticket. That's what the owners were afraid of losing; their "hot" ticket. In some ways, they have. In other ways, they haven't. I think it all turned out for the best and the owners' original fears were unfounded, but I don't think Congress had any right interfering. That's what I mean when I said, "you don't get it." To get it, you first have to start with Congress' unconscionable interference in the NFL's business affairs.

Jay from Tallahassee, FL:
I want to know how you feel about the Ricky Williams situation. If you were Nick Saban and Ricky had a successful year in the CFL, would you allow him back on your team?

Vic: Are you kidding? I wouldn't have had him on my team last year. Ricky Williams is not dependable. What he did to the Dolphins the first time around, when he quit on Dave Wannstedt right before the start of training camp, was an unforgivable sin. It's time for the Dolphins to move forward into a different era; an era of a dedication and dependability. I think they have something good cookin' in Miami under Saban. They're better off without Williams.

Dan from Jacksonville:
I have read your articles describing how Congress unfairly forced the NFL to televise their games on free television. The people who passed this law had positions of elected power. That power was to be used to decide what was right and fair for our country as a whole. They passed a frivolous law merely to benefit themselves by allowing them to watch the NFL whenever they wished. It was an obvious abuse of power. I get it. I also feel in many ways it had to be a blessing in disguise. Did it not bring football to the masses?

Vic: You certainly do get it and, yes, it did bring football to the masses and, as I said, the owners' original fears were unfounded. All I want is for people to understand and appreciate the history of the blackout rule. It wasn't the owners who instituted the 72-hour rule. It was Congress, and they did so in an abusive act of interference.

Buddy from Huangshan, China:
Stop thinking of yourself. You may not care if you get banned, but try to listen to what we are saying here. You are not the only part of My friends and I follow the Jaguars, watch video and keep up with the cheerleaders by going to Americans here crave the little bit of America we can get and if gets blocked because you made a Tiananmen Square joke (that wasn't even funny), then we are the ones that lose out. So how about thinking about the fans in China instead of your bloated ego?

Vic: Maybe you should ask more nicely, or I'll start talking about that thing called "The (Fence)."

Matson from Jacksonville:
Like the evolution of the passing game, so, too, have the ideals of sportswriters changed over the past decades. What, in your opinion, has been the greatest improvement/advantage for sports journalism in the past half century, and what do you wish would never have changed?

Vic: Without a doubt, sportswriters have benefited most from technology. When I started doing this, we carried portable typewriters, heavy and slow transmission devices (I think they were called Telerams), paper and carbon paper. Now, I carry a laptop and I transmit in a flash by e-mail. I'm thankful of technology every time I click on send. What do I wish would never have changed? I guess the answer is the coaches', players' and reporters' attitudes toward each other. Each was more respectful of the other back then. We realized we were in this together. I think that attitude was the result of the realization that pro football wasn't the national pastime and we all wanted it to be more popular and wanted it to get more publicity. I would describe the attitude between coaches, players and reporters now to be one of suspicion. I'm not saying we didn't have that back then. A slightly adversarial relationship between the media and the men who coach and play the game is healthy, but I don't think it should get to the point that there's a loss of respect or sensitivity. There's too much of that now.

Mark from Loveland, OH:
What does it mean when a defensive lineman is using a "one technique?"

Vic: "One technique" refers to the defensive tackles. When they are in "one technique," they are shading the inside shoulders of the guards.

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