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My NFL experience

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

Jose from Jacksonville, FL:
Your thoughts on Tony Kornheiser's comments about Jacksonville?

Vic: It's shtick, that's all. Some sportswriters have been known to make it part of their act. Woody Paige has flattened more cities than the Luftwaffe. It's what he does. I never knew Tony Kornheiser to include civic assassinations in his literary repertoire, but now I do. Let's not forget that he has a TV show that is very popular and it didn't get that way by not being entertaining. You have to admit, the line about the goat was very funny. How do you counter the kind of playful criticism that is being directed at Jacksonville? You learn to laugh at yourself. It's worked in all of the other cities at which writers have poked fun. Jacksonville is just new at the game.

Nate from Macclenny, FL:
Some friends of mine were going to go down and check out the NFL Experience; test our skills, if you will. But some are convinced it's just for little kids. Is that true? What exactly is the NFL Experience?

Vic: I always thought the NFL experience was a seat in the press box and a bad hot dog. Now I hear they have some kind of interactive games they call the "NFL Experience," and all I can tell you is if they make me cover it I'll retire. Frankly, I don't know what it is, but my guess is they don't make you block or tackle anyone. (editor's note: for details about the NFL Experience go to: _

Candice from Los Angeles, CA:
You handsome hunk of a man, I am having trouble finding a room in Jacksonville for the Super Bowl weekend, understandably. I am told I am a very attractive lady, age 40. Let me just say, I dig you. Would we be able to make arrangements for me to stay with you, or would that violate a no-fly zone? Feel free to print this, I have nothing to hide. Has someone placed the franchise tag on you?

Vic: You make me feel so cheap.

Alan from Buford, GA:
Since we're not allowed to talk about the NFL combines, free agency or the draft, I'll stick to Super Bowl questions. Everyone else seems to be coming out with their greatest Super Bowl moments. What are your favorite moments from Super Bowls gone by?

Vic: Adam Vinatieri's two kicks are clearly Super Bowl moments. Tennessee coming up a yard short on the last play of the game is memorable. Lynn Swann's dramatic catches – three in X, and one each in XIII and XIV – are legendary. Garo Yepremian's goof is a rib-tickler. I have a personal favorite that involves Art Rooney Sr. being presented the Lombardi Trophy after IX, as his players stood around him chanting, "Chief, Chief, Chief." How about the Lester Hayes postgame interview? Scott Norwood missing wide-right. Those are some.

Steven from Jacksonville:
How common is it for players to not hire an agent and do the negotiations themselves?

Vic: It's not common at all. Tedy Bruschi did it most recently. I think it says a lot about a player's courage and self-security to go head-to-head with the people who employ him. Remember, in representing their side of the negotiations the team is likely to point out a player's deficiencies.

Nathan from Golden, CO:
I'm curious about the divisional round games. If the sixth seed wins in the wild-card round, would they play the first seed in the divisional round?

Vic: Yes, they would. All you have to remember is that the lowest-seeded survivor plays the highest-seeded survivor.

James from Hernando, MX:
After watching college football, who's your favorite player going into the draft?

Vic: I thought this was an off-year for college football. I never felt like the season had a lot of flavor to it, in terms of teams or players. That's rare for me to feel that way. The previous year, college football was loaded with guys whose talents I loved. You might remember that I had Kevin Jones at the top of my value board last spring for a long time. He was a guy who I thought had real big-time ability and I was stunned that he was drafted as low as he was. This year just didn't get it done for me. Cedric Benson looks like he has some Earl Campbell in him. Reggie Bush is dynamite but he's an underclassman. I'm sorry, but I can't give you the name of a player who really turns me on.

Drew from Jacksonville:
There has been a lot of talk about Jacksonville not being ready for the Super Bowl this year. You have been covering football for many years and seem to have a very level head and sound judgment about the sport and the aura that surrounds it. Do you believe Jacksonville is ready? What do you see as the pros and cons we are facing?

Vic: Jacksonville is ready. Whether or not it succeeds at hosting the Super Bowl will depend on two factors: the weather and those cruise ships. Jacksonville is on the weather line. So is New Orleans but it has a dome. This isn't Miami or Pasadena. All we can do is keep our fingers crossed. The other problem area for Jacksonville is the lack of hotel rooms. That introduced the cruise ship concept, which is unique but untested. All we can do now is wait and see.

Todd from Birmingham, AL:
My friends and I have been debating which free agent has had the bigger impact for the Eagles, Jevon Kearse or Terrell Owens. I say Kearse because defense wins championships. What do you say?

Vic: There's no denying what Terrell Owens did for the Eagles prior to his injury. He made the difference, so, I have to say Owens has had the greater impact between the two players. But Jevon Kearse is playing at the highest level of his career right now. I have never been a big Kearse fan. I always thought he got his stats in garbage games and situations. Not now. He is lighting it up at the most important time of the year. If he does it in the Super Bowl, you may be right about him having the greater impact, but I think you're forgetting about another free agent, Jeremiah Trotter. Where do you put him in your rankings?

Rob from Jacksonville:
Is there any reason, in your mind, for the poor fan turnout in Jacksonville? It's embarrassing to go to the final home game of the season in a make-or-break game to find more teal showing than fans in the stadium. With a major turnaround season, going from way under .500 to 9-7, isn't there something wrong with fans not responding to such a dramatic improvement?

Vic: We've walked this ground too much already. Let's wait to see what the downsizing of Alltel Stadium will produce next season. Yes, I agree with you that the no-shows for the Houston game were horribly disappointing. My hope is that decreasing the seating capacity of Alltel Stadium will introduce all new dynamics for attendance and fan support.

Justus from Charles City, IA:
When a player gets fined by the NFL, where does the money go?

Vic: To charity.

Mark from Jacksonville:
Jack Del Rio said he and his new offensive coordinator would have to take a good, hard look at the personnel they have on their roster. Now that we don't run a "West Coast offense," who on the Jags is most likely to suffer from the new style of play? In short, who is in the most danger of being cut?

Vic: I don't see one player on the Jaguars offense who bears the stamp, "West Coast only." It's certainly not Fred Taylor or Kyle Brady. Byron Leftwich isn't what I would consider a "West Coast" quarterback. Greg Jones? Fu? Who? Maybe that's why it didn't work.

Alex from Rancho Cucomonga, CA:
After seeing Reggie Williams play a full season, do you think he was a good first-round pick or should we have gotten Udeze?

Vic: I love the name of your hometown. How do you get born in a place like Rancho Cucomonga? Anyhow, I think the verdict is still out on both of those players. You know, it really didn't come down to those two guys. The Jaguars had concerns about Kenechi Udeze's shoulder and had pretty much flushed him out of their plans. Ben Roethlisberger was available but the Jaguars weren't going to take a quarterback. The next guy taken was Dunta Robinson at 10 and he had a great rookie year. But it wasn't about Udeze. Will Smith was a more likely candidate as a defensive end.

David from Jacksonville:
What do you think Wayne Weaver needs to do to get fans out there on Sunday?

Vic: In my opinion, he's done more than he should have to do. The Jaguars have really worked at this. The size of the stadium will fit the size of the market next season. That was the last hurdle. The rest is up to the fans.

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