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Reduce the headgear

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

Gary from Nancy, KY:
What impact will Dick Jauron getting fired Tuesday have on the Bills ability to game-plan? How does a shuffling of coaching responsibilities impact the Bills preparation for the game against the Jaguars?

Vic: The preparation will be the same and it'll be conducted by the same coaches, minus Dick Jauron, of course. The difference is that the team now has a lame-duck coach and that seldom produces success.

Dennis from Indianapolis, IN:
Since it is almost that time of year, a trivia question for you: What is Todd and Margo's last name?

Vic: Chester.

Gavin from Edmonton, Alberta:
Love what you do to keep us fans informed. I was giving some thought to what defenses could do if offenses begin routinely going down at the one-yard line to kill clock. What's to stop a defensive player from tackling a running back from behind with the momentum carrying the runner/ball across the plane of the goal line for a touchdown? I guess we would probably start to see sliding farther from the goal line.

Vic: When the defense starts pushing the offense toward the goal line, that's when I will stand up in the press box, close my laptop, go to my car and drive to the mountains, where I will collect berries and drink beer and never watch football again.

Gary from Puyallup, WA:
Thanks for triggering fond childhood memories of watching "The Millionaire" each week. How many questions have you received asking which position Michael Anthony plays?

Vic: It didn't stimulate much play, which means "Ask Vic" is a young place. It was a great show and an even greater idea for a show. How many times have you asked yourself what you'd do if Michael Anthony came to your door and handed you a check for a million dollars? Now we call it the lottery.

Chris from Atlanta, GA:
I know this is a pro football site but I felt the need to ask about a call at the end of the Notre Dame game. I think it's been lost in the shuffle with fire-Weis discussion but on the fumble by Clausen, both the head official and another referee both come onto the screen signaling incomplete pass before a Pitt player recovered the ball. Is the rule of replay different in regards to when the whistle is blown?

Vic: I don't know, but I didn't like the call and the reason is that it appears the play had been blown dead. At that point, in my opinion, it should not be reviewable because the officials have signaled both teams to end their pursuit of the ball. What TV didn't tell us is whether or not the whistle had blown. It appears it had. Here's a question I'd like answered: After all these years, how can we still be struggling with the proper administration of replay review? It's mind-numbing.

Kenny from Tampa, FL:
In the Jets situation, near the end of the game on Sunday, couldn't they have continually jumped offside to stop the clock? There would be no run-off because they were ahead at the time. What do you think of this?

Vic: So you want the down and the time on the clock to remain the same for eternity, right? Wouldn't that delay the Super Bowl?

Greg from St. Johns, FL:
I've always enjoyed reading your in-game blog after getting home from the stadium to "see" the game from another perspective. We're going on a cruise that my wife scheduled last year and I will miss my fourth Jaguars home game since 1995. I don't want to put any added pressure on you, but your blog, along with whatever stats and TV highlights I catch onboard, will be my Jags/Bills game-day experience. Any extra details and musings will be greatly appreciated.

Vic: I'll work extra hard, I promise.

Ed from Jacksonville:
Let's see, mid 40's with rain falling, 10-plus losses in seven of the past 10 years and headed to their eighth, a horrible team with five offensive touchdowns in the past 15 games, a depressed economy in the rust belt and, yet, nearly 69,000 fans show up in Cleveland. Could you imagine the attendance and excuses you would hear in Jacksonville with those set of circumstances?

Vic: Cleveland has been a great pro football town for a long time.

Tommy from Newark, DE:
What are your three prerequisites needed to be an effective journalist? Mine would be quick wit, sense of humor and thick skin.

Vic: That's good; I like that. Add observant, fair and stupid (all sportswriters are idiots, according to the modern fan) and I think you're on your way toward building a real-life, hot dog-eating, lap top-carrying, former ink-stained wretch.

Jason from South Amboy, NJ:
Do you think fantasy football has affected real football in any way?

Vic: It absolutely has. Fantasy football is a big-time NFL brand that drives a lot of sales. Pro football is about the money and fantasy football is a big money-maker. There's no doubt in my mind the mania for offense is motivated, to some degree, by the fantasy football craze.

Mark from Houston, TX:
If your wife could describe you in one word, what would it be?

Vic: Sensitive.

Dustin from Jacksonville:
What can you tell us about the performance of teams that have changed coaches in midseason?

Vic: I think you know what the answer is, so I'll refer to a couple of instances where it produced success. Dick LeBeau took over for Bruce Coslet following an 0-3 start in 1999, and the Bengals played well enough, especially late in the year, for LeBeau to be retained as head coach. Marty Schottenheimer took over for Sam Rutigliano following a 1-7 start in 1984, and the Browns won four of their final eight games and Schottenheimer was retained as head coach. It happens, but not often.

John from Jacksonville:
Just wanted to set the record straight on the Groves interception and runback in the Jets game. There was no intentional falling down on the part of Groves. I was sitting in the stands in that end zone and it was all Groves could do to get as far as he did. He literally tripped over his own feet, but you could see the excitement and anticipation in his eyes as he approached the goal line.

Vic: Are you sure about that?

Tony from Tallahassee, FL:
I was reading Don Banks' NFL power rankings and he mentioned a game in the 1980's between the Dolphins and Jets that had no announcers and let the sounds of the game play out. Did you see that game and what are your thoughts on something like that happening in the future?

Vic: It was horrible and it dramatically drove home the point that broadcasters are very important to the telecast of a game. I couldn't watch it. I don't think it'll happen again.

Randy from Orange Park, FL:
On the assisted push of Garrard, it was explained later in the game that it is permissible to push a player but not pull. If you recall, Nwaneri did the same thing the previous week in pushing Mojo across the goal line. Now, whether this is a definitive explanation of the rule I can't be sure, but I thought I would bring it to attention.

Vic: What you've brought to everyone's attention is the convoluted mess that is the rulebook. There's no way you can read that rule that I put in yesterday's column – "or push or throw his body against a teammate to aid him" – and not understand it to mean you can't push a teammate, yet, it's not being called that way. The rulebook needs to be re-written. It needs to be simplified so it is subject to less interpretation. I remember a few years ago reading the "around the world" rule regarding the goal line and asking why it wasn't being enforced. The answer I got was, "Because Mike doesn't want it called that way."

Conor from Missoula, MT:
What do you think of the recent proposal to ban helmets from all NFL practices?

Vic: I got laughed at years ago when I wrote – I think it was in this column – that if the NFL truly wanted to make football a safer game, all it had to do was outlaw the facemask. It would fix everything because nobody leads with their face. Goodbye head shots and goodbye launching, hello broken noses and missing teeth, but broken noses and missing teeth are minor injuries compared to broken necks and post-concussion dementia. Look, it's football, you will get hurt, but the blunt-force trauma injuries are threatening the future of the sport. They have to be eliminated at all cost and as long as players' heads and faces are protected, those players are going to hit with maximum force. Reducing the headgear will reduce the force of the blows. What we're seeing, however, is an opposite reaction. The size of today's helmets is incredible. Some of them appear as though they have hidden compartments inside.

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