Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: Dec. 24

Let's get to it:

WES SHIPLEY FROM GIBSONIA, PA: I imagine the official scorekeeping of the Immaculate Reception was simply a completed pass to Franco Harris?
ANSWER: This is the way the play appeared on the official NFL Game Summary:
"Harris 60 pass from Bradshaw (Gerela kick)."

ERIC SCHOBEL FROM POMPTON PLAINS, NJ: In a recent article, there was a list of the coldest games the Steelers ever played in Pittsburgh, but it failed to mention the playoff game with Jacksonville in 2017. If available, please tell us the game time temperature of that game.
ANSWER: The date of that game was Jan. 14, 2018, and the weather was listed this way on the Official Play-by-Play: "Game Weather: Sunny Temp: 18° F (-7.8° C) Humidity: 55%, Wind: From ENE 2 mph."

RICHARD DURBIN FROM CANTON, OH: Have the Steelers ever had to use their emergency quarterback to play in a game?
ANSWER: It may have happened on other occasions, but I am certain it happened on Oct. 9, 1977. Here is an account of that, as written recently by Kevin Seifert for

"Terry Bradshaw broke his wrist in the first quarter. Backup Mike Kruczek separated a shoulder on the final play of the third quarter. And suddenly, on a fall afternoon in October 1977, the Pittsburgh Steelers were all out of quarterbacks.

"Tony Dungy, a rookie safety for the Steelers at the time, was sitting on the bench at that moment.

'"And I'm wondering, 'What is coach going to do now?' Dungy said by phone this week. 'Then I feel a tap on my shoulder. It's Chuck Noll.'

"And so it came to be that Dungy quarterbacked the Steelers through the fourth quarter of a 27-10 loss to the Houston Oilers. As explores the likelihood of an emergency quarterback playing this season, it's worth remembering that Dungy -- long before he became a Super Bowl-winning coach himself -- carved out a unique niche of NFL history. His rocky one-quarter stint behind center left him as the only modern-era player to both throw and make an interception in the same game.

'"It was a fun moment and something I will always remember,' Dungy said. 'And I feel like I could have done better if I had had just a little bit of preparation for it.'

"The Steelers released their third quarterback, Neil Graff, in training camp and it took only four weeks before that decision backfired. As Dungy earned playing time on defense, no one broached the idea of playing quarterback in a pinch. In fact, his career as a safety was just taking off. He intercepted the first pass of his career on that fateful day at the Astrodome.

"About an hour later, Noll was asking him if he remembered anything about the Steelers' offense from that one-week stint as a receiver.

'"I knew eight plays,' Dungy said. 'And so that's all we used.'

"Dashing onto the field for third down on the first play of the fourth quarter, Dungy was so rattled that he forgot to remove the forearm pads that many defenders used in those days. The Steelers failed to convert. Dungy, still not recognizing the magnitude of the situation, trotted to his usual spot on the punt team.

'"NOOOO," yelled nearly everyone on the Steelers' sideline, as Dungy recalled it. 'YOU'RE THE QUARTERBACK NOW!'"

BRIAN FIORE FROM SUAMICO, WI: Understanding that if the emergency quarterback was to be called upon, the situation is pretty dire, but with the starter getting the majority of reps and the backup getting the remainder, is there any work done with the emergency quarterback during regular season practices?
ANSWER: As a rule, no.

ZACK BURCHER FROM LORTON, VA: Assuming that Pickett is good to go for these last four games, what, if anything, do you need to see from him to feel confident about Pickett as the starter for 2023?
ANSWER: That ship has sailed. Kenny Pickett will be the starting quarterback in 2023, and beyond. That doesn't mean he'll never ever get pulled from a game for performance issues, but I believe the Steelers are committed to him as their starter.

TERRY PECK FROM SPRINGFIELD, OH: T.J. Watt doesn't seem to have the impact he had last year or before his injury during Week 1 of the 2022 season. Are defenses doing something different towards him, or maybe he is not 100 percent healthy?
ANSWER: I'm not a doctor, nor do I have any specific knowledge of T.J. Watt's health, but I don't believe there really is any question that he is not currently 100 percent healthy after injuring a pectoral in the opener and then having knee surgery during the time he spent on the injured reserve list.

JOHN CHANDA FROM JOHNSTOWN, PA: During Ben Roethlisberger's 18-season playing career with the Steelers, how many times have they made the playoffs?
ANSWER: Twelve times.

CRAIG BLOCK FROM CANTON, GA: With the long drive that the Steelers had against Carolina, has the league thought out what would happen if a team gets the ball first in overtime, takes the full 10 minutes and then kicks a field goal?
ANSWER: The game is over and the team that kicked the field goal is the winner.

STEFAN PISOCKI FROM WILMINGTON, DE: It seems to me that long-snappers are gradually morphing from center/guard body types to tight end/linebacker types. Have there been recent rules changes that have necessitated this trend?
ANSWER: Not so much rules changes that necessitated this trend, but rules changes that have allowed this trend. Opponents no longer are allowed to line up any player directly opposite the long-snapper, nor is any contact allowed with him as he goes through the process of snapping the ball. That allows for smaller, lighter long-snappers, because that mobility could enable the snapper to be an asset in coverage, say on a punt for example.

DICK VOCHEK FROM DAVIDSONVILLE, MD: I was listening to SNR when the host was discussing power rankings, and it was mentioned that Tampa Bay could lose the rest of its games, finish 6-11 but still win the NFC South Division if the rest of the division teams continue to lose as well. If that happened, what would the Bucs draft slot be?
ANSWER: In determining draft order, all of the teams that fail to qualify for the playoffs pick before all of the teams that qualify for the playoffs. In the example you cite, Tampa Bay would have the first pick among all of the teams qualifying for the playoffs but after all of the teams failing to qualify for the playoffs.

GENE MADEC FROM GROTON, CT: I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Steelers legend Franco Harris. All of us in Steelers Nation and throughout the NFL will never forget him. I had a chance to meet him on a trip my wife and I made to Pittsburgh. Not only was he a great player, but an even better human being. My thoughts and prayers to his family. He will be missed by all.

GLAUCIO CAFALCHIO FROM TAUBATE, BRAZIL: I can only imagine how devastating the sudden passing of Franco Harris was for the entire Steelers organization, for the Pittsburgh community and, of course, for the Harris family and their loved ones. My condolences and prayers for you all. May he rest in peace.

JOHN PUHALA FROM SPRINGFIELD, VA: First my condolences to Franco's wife Dana and his son Doc. I had the rare chance to meet Franco at Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh where my father was having a heart procedure. I stepped out to get something for lunch, and as I was walking by the front doors, in walked Franco. I said hello and he returned the hello. I said, "Franco my father is in Room (I forget the number), and he's having surgery around his heart. Could you just pop in and say, hello?" When I got back to my father, he was beaming and said, guess who came and wished me luck and shook my hand? Franco! I never would have thought he would be able to stop by to give comfort like that.

ERIC BURTON FROM FRANKLIN. PA: Instead of a moment of silence for the passing of Franco Harris, fans should cheer (and cry) as loud as they can to honor his greatness. I would love heaven to hear how much he will be missed and how much Steelers Nation appreciated him.

DAVID BOGNAR FROM GERMANTOWN, WI: Twenty-five years ago, my wife and I drove to Pittsburgh from Wisconsin to attend a 25th Anniversary of the Immaculate Reception banquet celebrating Franco Harris. We talked at length with Franco, and it was like regular people who were genuinely interested in each other talking to one another. He couldn't believe we drove all that way from Wisconsin to meet him. He couldn't have been nicer. My wife who is not a Steelers fan like I am would tell friends and co-workers about the time she met Franco Harris. When we heard he died, we were so saddened. It was like a member of our family died. All those feelings for a man we met once 25 years ago.

PAUL KAMMERMEIER FROM BLOOMFIELD, NY: Franco. Damn. I was born in 1968 and raised in Crafton, Pa., and my first memory of football was watching Super Bowl IX. I've been a lifelong Steelers fan, but I've never met any of the greats (except for a brief encounter with Lynn Swann at the Squirrel Hill Cafe in the 1980s), but nevertheless, they all hold a special place in my childhood memories. The passing of any member of those great Steelers teams will hit me a little hard, but this one was just an awful shock. I'm sure I'm not alone as just one member of Steelers Nation to wish sincerest condolences to Franco's family, all of his teammates, to the whole of the Steelers organization, and to its fans. RIP, Franco Harris.

GLEN WHITTEN FROM AGUADILLA, PR: No question today. Just a heartfelt thanks to you and Teresa for the touching tribute to the late Franco Harris. All of Steelers Nation is grieving along with you. Thank you for putting those feelings into words that we can all relate to. Take care.

MICHAEL ANGELO FROM LAS VEGAS, NV: Thank you, Franco. Thank you. The Immaculate Reception game was the first NFL game I watched by myself with no toys or homework or anything else to distract me. Though I really did not understand too much about football because I was so young, I knew I was watching how the game was meant to be played. I fell in love with the gladiators in Steelers uniforms and when Franco made the play that began the dynasty, I was forever a part of Steelers Nation. God not only has a fullback in heaven, He has an even better man. Rest in peace my friend. No. 32 will live for eternity.

LORI STULMANIS FROM FEASTERVILLE, PA: I wanted to tell a story about how Franco Harris' kindness touched a family member of mine just two weeks prior to that family member's passing. My nephew works with a woman whose family knew Franco Harris personally; Franco actually did the eulogy at her father's funeral some years back. Learning my nephew is a Steelers fan, she wrote to Franco and asked if he would send her an autograph to give to my nephew as a Christmas gift. To everyone's surprise, Franco didn't just send his autograph; instead, he sent an official NFL football that he autographed. You can only imagine how shocked and grateful my nephew was with this amazing, priceless gift, especially being the 50th Anniversary of Franco's Immaculate Reception. I'm sure this is just one of many stories showing how Franco Harris was not only one of the Steelers' greatest players, but also a kind, thoughtful man who can never be forgotten.