Master photographer Jay Maisel was using that Nikon 70-300VR, now he is using underestimated and overlooked Nikon 28-300VR - look for what FroKnowsPhoto says about that lens meanwhile Maisel shooting stunning work with it.
I was using Nikon 55-300VR for sports and broke it, now using Nikon 55-200VR. Not thinking to go for a 2.8 lens. I don’t believe 2.8 is magical and make me a better photographer. Plus I have a tendency to do more with lesser tools - they are actually helping me to stand out from the crowd. Every sports photographer out there using similar / same equipment and you can not see any difference between the shots of different photographers. All of them look like they fabricated in the same facility.
I’d go for Nikon 70-200 f/4 VR perhaps - I had very bad experience with a SIGMA 70-300 (non VR) APO DG lens so I have trust issues even with their expensive sutff - perhaps mine was a bad copy but I prefer to stick with the brand lenses. I’d prefer Nikon’s 70-200 f/4 VR instead of Sigma’s 70-200 f/2.8.
Also I always approach in doubt to the people who promote expensive equipment and claim that its the only way to make good images. Because its not. I’m shooting my cat portraits in the street with a $100 lens.
I humbly recommend everyone to stop listening today’s internet-famous-pop-photographers instead start looking the advices of the old masters like Ansel Adams, Ernst Haas… I’ve read a lot from them about photography equipment and they always stated that it is you and not the equipment. A decent lens manufactured with today’s technology like 70-300VR can render wonderful images if you know what you are doing.
That’s my 2 cents…