Thanks for Everything, Vic!
By Zoltan Paksa
On the last edition of “Jaguars This Week”, Vic Ketchman announced the sad news that he will be leaving the Jaguars in the near future and be moving up north to cover the Green Bay Packers. I can hardly put into words how big of a loss this is for the team, for the fan base, and for me personally. Checking Ask Vic around the same time every day was a common ritual for many Jags fans and even on a bad day, fans sought Ketchman’s in-game blog for a deeper persepctive. We could all rattle off many of Vic’s classic one-liners from “The quarterback must go down and the quarterback must go down hard” to “Just win, baby” to “I wouldn’t worry about that” to his “all-important power rankings” (one word immediately comes to mind: asterisk). We all fondly recount Vic’s often hilarious stories about the Jaguars, the Steelers, the history of the game, and even just life itself. And now he’s gone…
I can’t speak on everyone’s behalf, only my own, but I’m often asked how I (being halfway across the world in Budapest, Hungary) became a Jacksonville Jaguars fan. Well, in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, I watched the NFL (only the Super bowl) on German TV stations. After viewing highlights and recaps from the playoff games, I saw a team with a funny name – the Jacksonville Jaguars. Around 2003, I started following the Jaguars through the internet and found Jaguars.com and the writing of Vic Ketchman. Vic’s editorials and “Ask Vic” column became my primary source for learning about the Jaguars and the NFL and played a major role in my steady transition into a diehard Jaguars fan. He was kind enough to answer my questions (close to 30) and not just in “Ask Vic” (any of you remember Video Vic?). Although we never met in person, he was a familiar face for me (and I’m sure for many other Jaguars fans). A friend and cohort who has become a part of our daily lives. And now he’s gone…
Vic has served the Jaguars since Day 1 of the franchise. He has attended every Jaguars game, home and away (except when he suffered a heart attack in Christmas 2009, but still returned 2 weeks after that). He is an employee of the Jaguars, but with Vic, it was a man sharing his wisdom and not just PR fluff. He was always there to help fans interpret the action, even when the Jaguars lost in ugly fashion. Despite the hundreds of angry and ignorant emails that filled his inbox every day, it was never Vic’s style to lash out, but to challenge readers to control their negative emotions – or just make fun of them for being so childish. The only time I ever heard Vic truly angry was on Jaguars This Week, when he absolutely destroyed a “wise guy” phone caller, full of ignorance and hate – and that was a thing of beauty.
I seriously hope that in the next 2 weeks, while he is still with the Jaguars, the organization, and especially the fan base will celebrate him the way he deserves after 16 seasons. He was a backbone for this team – watching him leave feels exactly how it felt when Freddie T left the Jaguars. He will be greatly missed and right now, I just can’t picture anybody capable of filling his shoes.
I’m really glad that you covered the Jaguars for so long and so well. Thank you for the personal connection you shared with us fans and the bridge you were between the team and ourselves. Thank you for the great stories and increasing our appreciate for the game. Thank you very much for EVERYTHING, Mr. Ketchman!