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Asked and Answered: Oct. 24

Posted Oct 24, 2017

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

Let’s get to it:

DEAN HAZEL FROM HIRAM, OH:
Was the fake punt during the Bengals game called on the line, or was it planned before that?

ANSWER: What likely was planned ahead of time was how the Steelers would react to the opposition’s punt return unit leaving one of their gunners uncovered. In those kinds of situations, all of the players on the field have been instructed what to do in such a situation, and then it’s up to those individuals to be on their details and react accordingly when/if the situation presents itself.

That was similar to Tyler Matakevich blocking the punt in the opener against the Browns. The opportunity presented itself in terms of the Browns alignment, and Matakevich reacted accordingly and blocked the punt that Anthony Chickillo recovered in the end zone for a touchdown.

TOBIAS ENGELHARDT FROM PINNEBERG, GERMANY:
What I find hard to understand are the tiebreakers concerning the playoff picture. Just as an example: if you look at the playoff picture after Week 7, you will find Kansas City in the top spot in the AFC, even though the Chiefs are 5-2, just like the Steelers. But Kansas City is 1-1 in its division, while the Steelers are 3-0 in their division. So how come the Steelers are the No. 2 seed behind the Chiefs?

ANSWER: I believe your misconception comes from when you consulted the standings. After all the games of Oct. 22 were completed, the standings on both NFL.com and ESPN.com listed the Steelers as the top seed in the AFC. Sometimes standings are updated as individual games are completed, and sometimes standings are updated only after all the games are completed. My advice there would be to wait until all the games are over before checking for something like playoff seedings, and here’s something else to know: when breaking a tie among teams from different divisions – Kansas City, Pittsburgh, New England – division records do not apply. It’s the teams’ respective conference records that come into play.

ALAN KOCA FROM EL DORADO SPRINGS, MO:
If a player misses a single game for an illness or injury such as a hamstring, are they docked any of that week’s salary?

ANSWER: No.

TIM LEBER FROM MYERSVILLE, MD:
Could you describe a typical agenda for in-season Saturdays for Steelers players, coaches, and staff ?

ANSWER: For players and coaches, the day begins with morning meetings, and then after that there could be a light walk-through or something similar. If it’s a game on the road, then it’s off to the airport for the charter flight to whatever city. If it’s a home game, the players then are off until it’s time to report to the team hotel, where there will be more meetings, food, and then curfew.

BEV DUDDRIDGE FROM LAS CRUCES, NM:
What is the symbol on the left front of the Steelers jersey that has MDM in a shamrock shape?

ANSWER: It is indeed a shamrock, but the initials are “DMR.” That’s the patch the team is wearing as a tribute to Dan Rooney, who died in April.

ANGIE WILSON FROM NAMPA, ID:
What is the process for appeal and payment when a player is fined?

ANSWER: The appeal is filed with the NFL office in New York. After the appeal is heard and ruled upon, if there is still a fine to be imposed on the player, the amount of that fine is garnished from his next paycheck.

ROBERT RICHARDSON FROM MODESTO, CA:
For home games does the team stay at a hotel the night before, or drive into the stadium from their individual homes?

ANSWER: The team reports to a hotel by 5 p.m. on the day before the game. Players then are permitted to drive from there to the stadium the next morning/afternoon, depending upon kickoff time.

GREGORY LEWIS FROM BROOKLYN, NY:
After scoring a touchdown our skill players want to celebrate to the extreme. This draws a penalty, which creates adverse field position for our defense. What can you do or should you do to these players who seem more concerned with their brand than field position that is ultimately detrimental to our cause.

ANSWER: What can I do? Me? I’ve long been in favor of making them stay after school and clean the erasers, but that’s against the rules in the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

MIKE KAEL FROM ROCKY RIVER, OH:
When the ball is spiked, is that counted as an incomplete pass for the quarterback?

ANSWER: Yes.

TROY HENSHAW FROM PLACENTIA, CA:
Listening to Ben Roethlisberger and his snap count/cadence, he uses what sounds like "Blue 80" a lot. Even though I hear the same color/number called, the play is different from the last play. What is the meaning of the Blue 80 call?

ANSWER: It means the exact same thing as when Peyton Manning used to yell “Omaha.”




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