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This is the new Vic

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

Jack from Washington, DC:
I heard Boomer Esiason say that NFL Network's contract to broadcast games in the upcoming couple of seasons has somehow exacerbated the CBA problem. Apparently the deal takes a substantial amount of revenue away from what could be used as additional revenue to the salary cap. Is there any truth to this comment and, if so, could you explain it?

Vic: The games the NFL are dedicating to NFL Network could've been included in the other networks' TV package, which would've made that package more profitable. The NFL is trying to grow NFL Network, which only makes sense. In growing a business, you often have to sacrifice short-term gain for long-term reward. Under the current CBA, players receive a percentage of designated gross revenues and that figure divided by 32 is each team's salary cap. TV is one of those designated revenues. By committing games to NFL Network, the NFL is sacrificing some revenue, a percentage of which would've gone to the players. In my opinion, it's important for the players to understand that they are partners with the owners in the business of professional football, and it's necessary that the players understand the importance in growing a business that might provide major revenue to both the players and the owners in the future.

Christopher from Tallahassee, FL:
Is it realistic to say the Jaguars will try to go after T.O. or are they staying away from all the drama? There is no better play-maker in the league.

Vic: We can only hope. I dream of the things he might do in teal. No, make that all-black. Wow! T.O. in all-black. Could it get any better than that?

Robert from San Diego, CA:
I just got the new Madden 2007. I programmed in the Redskins' salary cap numbers and the only players I could get on the field was the practice squad. Do you have any recommendations?

Vic: Pray for a new CBA and then re-structure contracts. It's the only way. Well, there is one other way. You could get your players to volunteer to accept major salary cuts in each of the next four years, as you pass them some money under the table, of course. They would have to agree to cuts in each of the next four years and not just this year, because of the 30 percent rule the league ingeniously put into place in 2006 to forbid teams from dumping money into the uncapped year, 2007. The 30 percent rule means a player's salary can't increase by more than 30 percent from one year to the next. A player would have to agree to reduce his salary in each of the next four years (in accordance with the 30 percent restriction) for you to be able to reduce his salary significantly in '06. Here's another little raisin the NFL ingeniously put into its salary cap cookie for the '06 season, to further protect the uncapped year. If a player's contract voids after the '06 season, the team has to save room on its '06 cap to accept his remaining amortization when his contract voids. In normal times, that remaining amortization would go forward into the next year. The NFL has done a great job of protecting the uncapped year from money-dumping. Now let's see if the league is going to have the courage to enforce its rules against a team that might try the little "volunteer" move. But that's all "C-SPAN CBA stuff" and it's boring. Let's talk about T.O., baby.

Adam from Jacksonville:
Reading your column on Thursday gave me a headache. I know it was groundhog's day but must we have the same annoying repetition that the Bill Murray movie did?

Vic: You're just not cool. Don't you understand that T.O. is where it's at, baby? If you don't know T.O., you don't know football. He's a play-maker. He's a touchdown-dancer. He gets you pub, man.

Michael from Los Angeles, CA:
Call me sentimental. I know pro ball is about the money but, with the Bettis feel-good story of the year, are you willing to admit that sometimes it's not about the money?

Vic: If Jerome Bettis had not agreed to take a major salary cut in 2005, there would be no feel-good story.

Scott from Thunder Bay, Ontario:
You keep complaining about how everybody is talking about the Terrell Owens situation, yet, you keep posting questions from people about him. Maybe if you stop posting them, people will stop writing them.

Vic: I tried that and it didn't work, so I've changed. I'm all about T.O. now. I stopped fighting it and you should see what it did for my inbox. I got three times as many e-mails today as I did yesterday and 80-90 percent of them are about T.O. The dude sells. It's cool to be with it. The old Vic was a bore. He believed in that team crap. The new Vic understands it's all about the show, bro.

Chris from Notre Dame, IN:
That was the worst "Ask Vic" ever. We've been punished enough. Can we get back to the important issues again?

Vic: What important issues? Yesterday, Gene Upshaw made comments that threatened the collapse of pro football as we have known it. The old Vic would've thought that was important but the old Vic was obviously out of touch because I didn't receive one question about Upshaw's comments. The old Vic got tired of swimming upstream. The new Vic is goin' with the flow.

Brandon from Jacksonville:
Chris Mortensen at ESPN listed the Chargers, Saints and Jaguars as being the leading candidates for relocating to L.A. The fans and the city of Jacksonville responded well this season and Wayne Weaver has been very reassuring. Can we remove the Jags' name from all the relocation gossip yet?

Vic: Jaguars fans responded well in the 2005 season. They bought enough tickets for the team to avoid having to black out any of its eight home games. That's a major step in the right direction. I really sense that success is happening in Jacksonville and I believe that trend is going to continue. I have a sense of security about the future of pro football in Jacksonville. If this growth continues, Jacksonville will cease to be considered a candidate for Los Angeles.

Joseph from Statesboro, GA:
Are all the questions you get really this bad or did you just pick them to make a point?

Vic: The questions that appear in "Ask Vic" are a representation of what I have received. During the week of the Super Bowl in a season in which Terrell Owens played very little, he has been the overwhelming subject of the questions I have received.

Will from Jacksonville:
With the huge success of your in-game blogging, I would like to ask if we could pile more work on you and maybe you could blog the first round of the draft in April? Has there been any talk about the possibility of doing this?

Vic: In the past, we've killed it during the draft and we'll do it again this year. An in-draft blog is something we need to explore. It's a great idea. The problem, I'm guessing, will be making it technologically possible during the first round, while I'm on the radio. I doubt if the area where we do the radio broadcast is wireless.

Andrew from Ft. Lauderdale, FL:
What do you think about Joey Porter's comments? The Steelers have a rep as a smash-mouth football team with blue-collar players. Talking trash and complaining isn't playing smash-mouth football.

Vic: I agree with you that talk is cheap. In fact, it's worse than cheap, it's worthless. You have to play. Porter is one of those players, however, who uses pregame trash-talking to challenge himself and his teammates. I don't like it but I accept it because Porter is a player who shows up all of the time. He leaves it all on the field. I have never seen him dog it. He's a team leader and his teammates seem to respond to his challenges.

Alex from Los Angeles, CA:
Love the T.O. sarcasm. Keep it up. I love all the e-mails from guys who "agree" with you on T.O. It's the best comedy on the internet.

Vic: You bet, baby. It's all about T.O. Who needs a CBA when you got a T.O.?

Andrew from Jamestown, NY:
I am glad you like T.O. and I think we should give him a good look. He's a play-maker but Wayne Weaver has specified he doesn't want him in Jacksonville, so what can we do to change his mind?

Vic: Just give the dude some time to chill. He'll come to his senses once he realizes how much negative national pub T.O. would get the Jags. Just think of how proud all of us would've been if T.O. had been a Jag when he did that commercial with the desperate homemaker.

Harley from Ormond Beach, FL:
I have always felt the Jags have never had a kick and punt-returner that was a major threat every time he touched the ball and could control field position most of the time. Are there any good candidates in free agency or the college draft?

Vic: Reggie Barlow was an outstanding punt-returner. Antwaan Randle El is scheduled for free agency this year. He's pretty good at it.

Sandro from El Paso, TX:
I am hearing that linebacker Thomas Howard from UTEP could go in the first round? Do you think the Jags would consider picking him up in the first or second round?

Vic: Every team is going to consider Thomas Howard because, even though he's very undersized for a linebacker, he is fast, fast, fast and pro football is a speed game. Howard will go high. He'll be this year's Odell Thurman.

Mark from King of Prussia, PA:
What is your opinion of Shaun Alexander? Do you think he would be as good on another NFL team or is his success somewhat related to the Seahawks having a great offensive line?

Vic: A lot of backs could gain a thousand yards behind Walter Jones and Steve Hutchinson, but Shaun Alexander gained 1,880 yards and scored 27 touchdowns rushing this season. He's special and Jones and Hutchinson make for an unstoppable trio. Even when the play starts out to the right, Alexander tends to bounce it back to the left. That trio is the reason I'm picking the Seahawks to beat the Steelers. The team that rushes for the most yards in Sunday's game will win and I think the Seahawks will win the rushing battle.

Sam from Toronto, Canada:
Do the Jaguars play a one-gap or two-gap defensive scheme?

Vic: The Jaguars play a one-gap scheme.

Greg from Valdosta, GA:
Although the Steelers haven't won any Super Bowls in Bill Cowher's time as coach, the Steelers are still a contender basically every year. What do you think has contributed to their success? Continuity at the coaching position?

Vic: Stability is good in any endeavor. It says you are committed. It says you are patient. It says you may even be stubborn, and stubbornness can be a good thing in football. The Steelers are all of those things and their fans embrace that personality because it is also the personality of Pittsburgh. That's one of the reasons the Steelers have been successful. They are a perfect marriage of team and town. Beyond that, they have drafted very well. That doesn't hurt, either.

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