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The insanity is almost over

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

David from Tuscaloosa, AL:
In another amazing effort by the NCAA rules committee to put the lid on emotions during games, taunting will now result in retraction of points. Are we really that sensitive?

Vic: I have another question: Are college coaches really that powerless to control the behavior of their players? When the coaches decide enough is enough, the problem will end. I guess that's the idea. Start taking points off the scoreboard and the coaches will make the problem end.

Dave from Jacksonville:
So if Ben Roethlisberger got away with at worst rape and at best taking advantage of a drunk, college-age girl, you don't care because he is a football player? You are classless and I hope Wayne Weaver reads your response and fires you for conduct (for a sportswriter your words are your actions) unbecoming to the franchise. Also, the sarcasm concerning the "save the whale" campaign and "Teal Deals" does more harm than good. I am not angry. I am serious. Please go back to where you came from. You have worn out your welcome just like Santonio Holmes did in Pittsburgh. You are just a sportswriter, no more, no less. I am a true Jaguars fan who is a season ticket holder from day one who never misses a game and have read your columns since the print days. I have no personal animosity towards you. It is just time for you to move on. Good bye!

Vic: Got it.

Bob from Neptune Beach, FL:
It's nice to come to a media outlet and hear the voice of reason and sense. Thank you.

Vic: Not everyone agrees with you.

Eric from Jacksonville:
It's about the money, Vic. Controversy sells. All entertainment is about evoking emotion and controversy is the easiest way to do that.

Vic: You're absolutely right. That's why we're playing fast and loose with the facts these days, because we know the viewers, readers and fans are angry and looking for a fight and when the fight begins, the sales and ratings spike. Those who can step back and remove themselves from the senseless controversies, which have little or no impact on their lives, are the smart ones. Embrace the joy, reject the anger.

Ray from Nampa, ID:
Draft week is upon us and I can't wait to see who GM Gene picks for the Jags. Realistically, give us some names that could be there at 10 that the Jags would seriously consider picking. Spiller? Pierre-Paul? Haden? Morgan?

Vic: Yeah, those guys are all candidates. I would also include Dan Williams, Brian Bulaga and Rolando McClain. Those appear to be the players that fit in and around the 10th pick, but that doesn't mean the Jaguars' board looks that way. There could be someone up there the mocks have overlooked. Beanie Wells, for example, was a lot higher on the Jaguars' board, I believe, than Wells was regarded or ended up being picked.

Jerry from Jacksonville:
Are you starting to go soft on character? Are you suggesting the Jaguars should start drafting bad-character guys?

Vic: Absolutely not. It's critical that these personnel departments investigate the backgrounds of players they might draft and sign to big contracts. You don't want to bring bad guys into your community and you don't want to waste your money on someone who's undependable. What I'm saying, and I thought I made this clear, is that I've grown tired of the witch hunt we, the fans and media, have created. We're sitting in judgment of young men we've never met. We've turned it into entertainment. Maurice Jones-Drew is the classic example. His character was under attack for an incident at a Denny's. People that didn't know him and knew nothing of the facts of that incident were quick to cite the incident and use it to speak negatively of Jones-Drew. I got e-mails on top of e-mails from the self-righteous, criticizing the Jaguars for having drafted another thug. So wadda ya think now?

Brian from Jacksonville:
I just want you to know that I credit you with cultivating my interest in the team and driving me to become a season ticket holder for the first time. I realized that for less than the cost of a 20-ounce soda per day, I could not only get a season ticket but lock in the price for three years, make payments with no interest and essentially get money back with all the "Teal Deals" coupons. What excuses are left?

Vic: There's only ever one excuse that resonates: They don't win enough. The Jaguars' responsibility is to win games and contend for a championship, which means making it into the postseason.

Nick from Lafayette, IN:
I'm kind of afraid that "Teal Deals" is merely a patch, a necessary patch but a patch nonetheless. Will these companies be willing to give away half-priced meals and great deals every year? What happens if they don't? Jacksonville has to do everything it can to get people to buy tickets, but they also need people to buy tickets because they absolutely love football. It's an excellent marketing strategy for dire times, but I think people might be getting carried away with how it could save the Jaguars. Is it a good thing to get so excited over these deals?

Vic: It is what it is. We are in save the whale. Let's fill it up for this year and worry about next year when next year comes. I asked Joe Adeeb and Bobby Handmaker, the creators of the "Teal Deals" idea, if they were prepared to do this annually and they said they were. Yes, it very quickly will become part of the perceived value of a Jaguars season ticket. It would be wonderful if the Jaguars didn't need to add value to their tickets to sell them, but at this point in time they do. Hey, everybody wanted marketing, right? Well, this is marketing.

Forrest from Jacksonville:
What kind of trouble did Ernie Holmes get in for shooting at that police helicopter?

Vic: It happened in the offseason and Holmes, whose nickname was "Fats," didn't do any prison time. He spent time in a mental health facility and he was back on the field for the following season. One of my all-time favorite training camp stories is from the training camp that followed the helicopter incident. Chuck Noll traded for veteran defensive tackle Tom Keating as insurance in case Holmes didn't make it back. Keating had a wonderfully glib sense of humor, which he displayed for all to enjoy at practice one day. Noll was instructing his players when a TV station helicopter that was attempting to land at training camp began hovering over the field, interrupting Noll's instruction. Noll stopped talking, folded his arms and began staring at the helicopter, as though he was trying to bring it down with his eyes. The helicopter continued to hover. Everyone, of course, was thinking the same thing. Keating broke the silence by saying, "Easy, Fats, easy." There was an explosion of laughter. I looked at Noll and he was shaking with laughter. By the way, a recently-written book speaks of the Holmes incident and quotes a policeman as saying they could've killed him a dozen times, but didn't. If they had, I would've suffered a great loss. Holmes was a fascinating study and a great player for three years. He dominated Gene Upshaw in the 1974 AFC title game.

Brandon from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
You hit the nail on the head with the stadium comments you made about Texas Stadium and Giants Stadium. Probably one of the best memories I will have in my entire life is the first Jaguars game I ever went to. That view of the river in the background on a sunny day with the fly-by will forever be with me. Our stadium defines Jacksonville, don't you think?

Vic: Yes, I do. The personality and landscape of Jacksonville is built into that stadium. The view out the south end of Jacksonville Municipal Stadium is the very best thing about it.

Ryan from Manteno, IL:
What's the deal with Brian Westbrook still sitting in free agency?

Vic: It's a young man's game.

Michael from Gainesville, FL:
I just wanted to congratulate you for educating us. You should feel proud of yourself. This was a response to a question on the "NFL Network" by a Jaguars fan in regards to us drafting Tebow in the first round: "We don't need Tebow to put people in the seats. We need more wins. You get those by drafting the best available player. No one player is bigger than the team." This is classic Vicism.

Vic: It's almost over now. A few more days and the insanity will end. It reached a peak on Sunday in "The Florida Times-Union." That has to be the first time in newspaper history that the front page of the sports section displayed nine pictures of the same person's nose. My hands started to shake when I picked up the sports section. I've developed a twitch in my eye like the inspector in "The Pink Panther." It'll all be over soon. I've clung to sanity for three years. I can make it three more days.

Matthew from Jacksonville:
You will be happy to know they still sell Primanti Bros. at PNC Park. The game was great and the Pirates actually won. I had my first sandwich down at the original – a steak and cheese. Loved the bread; nothing like some thick-sliced homemade bread to make a sandwich great. I also went to grab some fresh bread from the Italian bakery the next day. It was gone by the time I made it home. By the way, as far as the moral issue, I agree with you, but I think the city is saying enough is enough.

Vic: Here's what you do: You reach inside that loaf of Italian bread, pull out of the soft stuff in the middle and eat it, and leave the hard crust in the bag. Now, when you get home, shove some stuff into the pocket of the hard crust. Put anything you want in there. You know what's really good to put in there? Spaghetti. Oh, yeah, warm up some leftover spaghetti and stuff it inside the crust. Unfortunately, I'm not allowed to do that anymore, but I have my memories.

Jon from Tallahassee, FL:
It's funny how much the game has changed in 12 years. I'm watching the Broncos-Packers Super Bowl on "NFL Network" and I see helmet-to-helmet hits, defensive linemen going low on the quarterback and a ton of contact from corners, and it's a pleasure not to have to deal with instant replay the whole time.

Vic: I think the competition committee should be required to view videos of old games, to get a feel for what's good and what's bad, as it pertains to today's product.

Matt from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
On average, which is the highest-selling month for tickets?

Vic: July.

Tim from Gainesville, FL:
Will you be live-blogging the first round on Thursday?

Vic: Yes.

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