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Asked and Answered: Jan. 16

Posted Jan 16, 2018

Another installment of Bob Labriola answering your questions about the Steelers and the NFL.

Let’s get to it:

JOHN DIX FROM LAWRENCEVILLE, NJ:
On a punt, if the receiving team makes contact with the ball but does not control it, it becomes a live ball and the kicking team can recover it. So in the playoff game against Jacksonville when the Steelers blocked the punt, the ball made its way downfield, the Jaguars surrounded it and downed the ball. Wasn't that a live ball that they could have recovered since it was touched by a Steelers player?

ANSWER: No, because the ball had not yet crossed the line of scrimmage when it was contacted by the Steelers player. A blocked punt is not a live ball unless a member of the receiving team touches it after it has crossed the line of scrimmage.

AIDAN MACDONNELL FROM KINGSTON, ONTARIO, CANADA:
Statistically, was that Ben Roethlisberger's best playoff game? And, do you think both coordinators will be back next year, with Todd Haley's contract being up and the defense giving up 45 points to a team with an offense that was very one-dimensional?

ANSWER: Starting with Ben Roethlisberger, that was his best statistical playoff game in terms of attempts, completions, yards, and touchdowns. His passer rating against the Jaguars was 110.5, and he has had two playoff games with a higher passer rating: In the 2005 Wild Card Round in Cincinnati, he completed 14-of-19 for 208 yards, with three touchdowns, no interceptions, and a rating of 148.7; and in the 2005 AFC Championship Game in Denver, he completed 21-of-29 for 275 yards, with two touchdowns, no interceptions, and a rating of 124.9.

As for your question about the coordinators returning in 2018, I make it a point not to get involved in advocating for the hiring or firing of people, whether they be coaches, players, whatever. I don’t have the complete knowledge of the job performance to have an opinion, and even if I had an opinion I understand and accept that my opinion doesn’t matter. Therefore, I believe it’s best for me to keep quiet on those issues.

JAMES SCARIOT SR. FROM SALINAS, CA:
Is there any recourse for an NFL team to seek sanctions of an officiating crew for blatant missed/incorrect penalties that are called?

ANSWER: Teams can complain about it to the league office, but there is no recourse that really matters.

DAVE COSTELLO FROM ROSCOE, IL:
How long has Renegade been an anthem at Steelers home games? The song came out in 1978 and I'm curious if the tradition started that far back.

ANSWER: The tradition of playing the Styx song “Renegade” didn’t begin until after Heinz Field opened, which was in 2001. In fact, the first time the song ever was used to juice the crowd was during the 2002 Wild Card Round Game against the Browns. The Browns held a 17-7 halftime lead, and shortly into the second half, the Steelers deficit had grown to 24-7. After the Steelers offense was forced to punt, during the commercial break the song first was played to inspire the defense, and it has been a tradition ever since.

DAVE HENRY FROM PRINCETON, NJ:
How was the Julio Jones play ruled a catch, and the Jesse James play was ruled incomplete?

ANSWER: The answer to that is the same as the answer to this one: How was the JuJu Smith-Schuster block in the game against the Bengals in Cincinnati a penalty and a suspension, and the block by Chris Hogan against the Titans in New England a legal play? Because they make it up as they go along.

PETER DEWAR MELBOURNE, VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA:
The commentators on the game against the Jaguars said that Ben Roethlisberger was being booed in the first quarter. Is that true?

ANSWER: There was booing, but I didn’t perceive it to be directed toward an individual. The booing, in my mind, was being directed at the team’s overall performance at the time. Had I purchased a ticket, I would’ve been booing, too.

CHRISTIAN MARGRIS FROM OLIVET, FRANCE:
The Jaguars just beat us at Heinz Field with authority. Even though the Jaguars defense was fearsome almost everybody believed that the real game was coming up next week. Has there been another time when the Steelers have been kicked out of the playoff when they were clearly the favorite on paper ?

ANSWER: Absolutely. In the 1994 AFC Championship Game, the Steelers were playing at home and were 9-point favorites over San Diego but lost 17-13; in the 2001 AFC Championship Game, the Steelers again were at home and were 10-point favorites over the Patriots and lost, 24-17.

ROCKY FALLETI FROM YOUNGSTOWN, OH:
Why on The Steelers website is there no place to post comments? Is it just that the Steelers do not want anything negative posted about their performances?

ANSWER: The comment feature on stories apearing on Steelers.com has been disabled, because spammers were filling up the comment section of every article with unauthorized advertising. There had been some attempts made to block this practice, but the spammers were like cockroaches – adaptive and able to survive just about anything. The NFL, which hosts all of the team websites, has been notified and is working on a new framework to block the spammers. Once that happens, the comment section will be restored.

KEN WILSON FROM EXPORT, PA:
Now that the season is over, I was thinking about the 2018 season. Le'Veon Bell has proven to be a distraction "Pay Me" and not a team player. What if the Steelers trade him to Cleveland for the first overall pick in the draft and draft Minkah Fitzpatrick, the No. 1 rated defensive back from Alabama. Then ask JuJu Smith-Schuster to be like Ty Montgomery of the Packers and become a running back. He has the receiving skills, blocking skills (knocking out Vontaze Burfict) and the size to become a running back. This way Martavis Bryant can become the No. 2 receiver, and the whole thing would mean that many problems are solved.

ANSWER: Excellent idea. Once you hammer out the details with Cleveland General Manager John Dorsey, get back to me.




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