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Never charge admission

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

Greg from Largo, FL:
I am dying to see your power ranking for the upcoming season. When can we expect to be graced with your almighty rankings and, more importantly, will the Patriots still have an asterisk?

Vic: You'll have to wait to find out. I expect to release the first edition of my all-important 2008 power rankings the week of the first regular-season game.

Dave from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
Many years ago I seem to remember that each year the college all-stars played the NFL champion. Whatever happened to that game?

Vic: It rained real hard, all the fans left, so did the teams, and nobody cared that they never returned. The year was 1976 and I was there. Seriously, the game started to lose money. It was staged by the charities arm of the Chicago Tribune and it made no sense to continue it. The NFL champion had won 12 in a row and 16 of 17 and the college all-stars had scored seven or fewer points in eight of those games. The worst part was that the college all-stars were losing to a bunch of second-stringers and rookies. A team of college all-stars couldn't compete with second-line professionals, and the gap has widened considerably since then.

Bill from Lancaster, PA:
I recently watched a show on NFL Network that showcased some of the league's more obnoxious characters. Jerry Glanville happened to be one of them. They showed him and Chuck Noll meeting after a game and, while they were shaking hands, Chuck was upset and poking Jerry in the chest. What happened during the game that made Chuck so upset?

Vic: Glanville's Oilers had become notorious for a lot of dirty stuff; you know, cheap shots. After a game in the Astrodome, Noll and Glanville met for a handshake. As soon as I saw Noll heading for Glanville, I knew something was up because Noll didn't do postgame handshakes. Ask Sam Wyche. In those days, the league was serious about a non-fraternization rule. Anyhow, Noll heads for Glanville, whose team had won the game and taken some liberties. Noll's got the sleeves of his black jacket pushed up and there was a nasty little bounce in his step. Glanville seemed flattered that he was about to have his hand shook by Noll, but when Glanville tried to pull away, Noll reeled him back in. Then Noll said something that went like this: "You're teaching this (crap) and I got news for you, it's gonna be your (butt)." As Glanville turned and jogged away, he looked as though he had just shook hands with Lou Cabrazzi.

Ken from Jacksonville:
What is the truth, Vic?

Vic: You wanna know the truth? Are you sure you can handle the truth? The truth is that this is just a game. That's all, a game. The truth is that there is no house to protect and that no matter how loud you cheer, the Colts' piped-in crowd noise will be louder.

Adrian from Inglewood, CA:
So did you walk to school or carry your lunch?

Vic: I walked to school and I lived close enough to even walk home for lunch.

Jerry from Jacksonville:
You have been around great quarterbacks and very good quarterbacks. What, in your opinion, are the most important qualities of great quarterbacks over the very good ones, and does Garrard possess these?

Vic: I've never covered a top quarterback who wasn't a top athlete. Garrard, very definitely, is a top athlete. Terry Bradshaw is the best quarterback I've ever covered, so I'll use him as the standard. What did Bradshaw have that the average quarterback doesn't, aside from a cannon for an arm and the courage to stand in the pocket and look downfield without peeking at the pass-rush? Bradshaw had the ability to take his game to a higher level in the postseason. That's what he had that made him great. Four up, four down; never lost a Super Bowl. His postseason stats would represent the greatest season of his career; 14 wins and 30 touchdown passes. That's what the truly great quarterbacks do: They play their best football in the postseason. The good ones pile up stats in the regular season.

Nick from Washington, DC:
What's the rule about opposing teams' scouts visiting training camps? They can if there is an admission fee but they can't if there is not?

Vic: That's correct. If a team charges admission to its training camp practices, then scouts from other teams may attend for the price of admission. If admission is free, then scouts may not attend. The Redskins made the mistake a few years ago of charging admission, and the Cowboys scouted the Redskins' whole camp.

Joe from Jacksonville:
Sorry, Vic, you're not an old man and you're a better writer than Kornheiser. I'm sorry I said those things; that was mean. I actually enjoy your work; you do a great job! I wouldn't look at the Jaguars the same if you left, Vic.

Vic: I'm sorry I was nasty to you, too, Joe. It's nice to be nice, isn't it?

Brandon from Jacksonville:
Do you think the Jaguars have the proper pieces in place to run a Gregg Williams style of defense?

Vic: That's what we're going to find out in the next few weeks. I see speed and I see athletes. Now, can they be molded into an attack unit? Stay tuned.

John from Jacksonville:
Was Jerry Porter an old-guy acquisition?

Vic: It's a question I'm sure the Jaguars had to ask themselves and, obviously, they decided Porter has several good years remaining in his career. Nonetheless, when a player starts creeping up on 10 years in the league, he's closer to the end than he is to the beginning and there's a risk involved in signing him.

Dave from Columbia, MO:
As a reporter, if a guy came out of a loss with a surly attitude with the media, would that automatically put you against said coach, even if he's a decent one-on-one interview?

Vic: Absolutely not; I have no problem with a coach showing his emotions, as long as he attempts to answer the questions.

John from Austin, TX:
At one time, didn't the Oilers have a player who wore jersey number 00? Do you remember who that was and what position he played?

Vic: I sure do. You're talkin' about "Double 0" Ken Burrough, who happens to be from Jacksonville. Burrough was a top-notch wide receiver for the Oilers who had a thousand-yard season in 1975 and caught 421 passes in his career. When Burrough played, a 50-catch season was the equivalent of a 100-catch year by today's standards. I believe Burrough was able to wear "00" because he was "grandfathered." In other words, he had the number before new standards were adopted. Burrough was the 10th overall pick of the 1970 draft, by the New Orleans Saints.

Greg from Jacksonville:
You get insulted, belittled and berated daily. You take most of it in stride, but one particular jab gets you; questioning your credibility and objectivity. Why that one?

Vic: It's the one insult that can't be tolerated, so, every now and then I have to select one of the attacks on my credibility and swing back. My credibility as a reporter is at the root of this column's success. If I ever lose credibility with the reader, this column is done and so am I as a reporter.

Steve from Jacksonville:
I have seen your credibility questioned here several times, and I myself thought you were either blind or toeing the company line during the Leftwich era. Now I think I know the real deal. You're one of those liberals that want an African-American to succeed so badly you'll put on a pair of rose-colored glasses when it comes to their qualifications or performance. Do you think that's the case?

Vic: No, I was just trying to be fair and balanced.

Jason from Jacksonville:
I have a love-hate relationship with Jeff Fisher. He always seems to have a better grasp of details than others around him. He throws red flags before the replay on the Jumbotron, he's arguing calls that take the sportscasters 10 minutes and five assistants to look at, and I'm pretty sure he's the only coach that fully comprehends the tuck rule. Speaking strictly from a nuts and bolts perspective of the game and not the execution of it, is this guy a genius or is it more about his supporting cast?

Vic: He's a top coach. I sincerely mean that, but I don't agree with you on your assessment of his grasp of replay review and the rules of the game. I saw him blow two big, big calls in games against the Jaguars. A few years ago, there was a big play involving the possibility that Byron Leftwich had crossed the line of scrimmage before throwing a pass. It was real, real close and Fisher didn't challenge the call. When asked why he didn't challenge, he said it was not a reviewable play. He was wrong. It is reviewable. Then, last year, the Jaguars won a game in Nashville that hinged on a fumble recovery by the Jaguars, when the Titans center whiffed on a snap; the ball never came up, which should've constituted a false start by the offense, which would've voided the play and returned the ball to the Titans. As I recall, TV broke for commercial and we sat in the press box and watched replay after replay of the botched snap, yet, there was no challenge by Fisher. All I could think is that he didn't know the rule. The crazy part about all of this is that he's on the competition (rules) committee.

Chris from Jacksonville:
I think I would seriously cry if the Jags left Jacksonville. How much would it cost to buy them and keep them here forever?

Vic: If they were for sale, between $700 million and $800 million should get it done. If I had that kind of money, I'd tell Wayne Weaver that when he's ready to sell, give me a call. Yeah, I'd buy the team, keep it in Jacksonville and the first thing I'd do is announce that the team would wear its teal jerseys for all home games, even the one o'clock starts in September. Boy, would that honk off the white-jerseys-in-the-heat sissies.

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