Let’s get to it:
TODD GOODING FROM PORTAGE, MI: I attended these two games: Steelers at Cincinnati on Dec. 10, 1977, and Miami at Steelers on Jan. 8, 2017, and I’m curious where those games rank among the coldest Steelers games in history?
ANSWER: You have a flair for history. With a recorded temperature of 2-degrees, Steelers at Bengals in 1977 is listed by the team as the coldest game in franchise history. Cincinnati won that afternoon, 17-10. As for the game against the Dolphins in January 2017, that was a Wild Card Round game at the end of a regular season in which the Steelers finished 11-5. The temperature recorded at kickoff that day at Heinz Field was 17-degrees, which placed it tied-for-seventh as the coldest game in franchise history. The other game that began in 17-degree temperatures was the 2010 AFC Championship Game vs. the New York Jets. The Steelers defeated the Dolphins, 30-12.
NICK PITNER FROM WARREN, PA: Does the team that wins the Super Bowl always pick 32nd in the next year’s draft, even if their record is not the best?
ANSWER: Yes. In setting the draft order, the non-playoff teams are ranked in reverse order of their records, with ties being broken by the strength-of-schedule format, but when it comes to the teams in the playoffs, their draft order is determined by how far they advance in the playoffs. If a 9-7 team wins the Super Bowl and a 14-2 team is eliminated in the Divisional Round, the 14-2 team would end up drafting before the 9-7 team, as an example.
ZELO NETO FROM SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL: Are there any NFL supervisors in attendance to guarantee that the players do only the permitted exercises in Phase 1 of the offseason program?
ANSWER: The way it’s typically handled by the NFL is that there are spot checks periodically. Not every team is checked every year, but there always is the possibility of being checked. In that way, it can be compared to the way the NFL goes about its random testing for performance enhancing drugs.
HENRY JONES FROM SHREVEPORT, LA: Why is Marcus Allen not ahead of either one of the starting safeties on the depth chart? Or why not more playing time for him?
ANSWER: There is no other reason why Marcus Allen isn’t higher on the depth chart at safety other than the coaches don’t think he’s a better player than those above him. He’ll get a chance to impact that pecking order starting with the offseason program.
JEFF SMART FROM EUSTIS, FL: I realize none of us know what the team will do on the first day of the draft, but would you like to see them trade up for either of the top inside linebackers – Devin White or Devin Bush? Also, why is everyone so bent on drafting an inside linebacker? If still available, why not get a premier edge rusher?
ANSWER: When it comes to trading up, my opinion is that the cost to do so has to be reasonable. As an example, I would not trade the second-round pick to move up in the first round, and the reason for that is I don’t perceive this particular Steelers team as being “one player away.” Before the three-day draft is over, the Steelers will have to have reinforced themselves at multiple positions, and trading too many of the early picks in a big move to get one guy figures to prevent them from being able to accomplish that. As for an edge rusher, that position would be a possibility, but I believe it’s worth noting that in 2017 the Steelers led the NFL in sacks, and in 2018 they were second in the NFL in sacks. That indicates the production in rushing the passer has been above the line during each of the last two seasons.
MICHAEL FOSTER FROM EWA BEACH, HI: Is there any animosity towards Drew Rosenhaus from Kevin Colbert, Mike Tomlin, or other people in the Steelers organization? Will the Antonio Brown fiasco have an effect on future negotiations with him and his clients?
ANSWER: The Steelers have been doing business with Drew Rosenhaus for more than 20 years, and I don’t remember there being any protracted holdouts or contentious issues that were outside the norm of this kind of business. The culprit in the “Antonio Brown fiasco” always was Antonio Brown.
BRETT ASH FROM GALLAGHER, WV: When will the free agents the Steelers have signed receive their jersey numbers?
ANSWER: I would anticipate that happening once the draft is over and players start reporting to the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex for things such as rookie minicamp, OTAs and mandatory minicamp.
JAMES SCARIOT SR. FROM SALINAS, CA: Would you please post the address to write to Steelers players one more time? Additionally, what was the name of the non-profit organization supported by Mike Tomlin and the Steelers that addressed human trafficking?
ANSWER: The address is: UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, 3400 S. Water Street, Pittsburgh, PA., 15203. The non-profit is: Operation Underground Railroad.
NICK ZEALLEAR FROM LANCASTER, OH: When it comes down to it, who is the better quarterback: Joshua Dobbs or Mason Rudolph?
ANSWER: When it comes down to it, that’s one of the reasons why the Steelers go to training camp – to allow these kinds of questions to be settled on the field. This summer’s time at Saint Vincent College, plus the four preseason games also contained within the summer, should go a long way to answering your question based on something more than just a random guess. Which is what any attempted answer to your question would be at this point.
STEPHEN O'CONNELL FROM CHESAPEAKE, VA: With so many former players coming out against the Steelers organization, often specifically criticizing Ben Roethlisberger, what should we as fans take away from all of it?
ANSWER: I refer you to what the nuns always taught us in elementary school: “Empty barrels make the most noise.”