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Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: Feb. 27

Let's get to it:

MITCH MULARKEY FROM COLUMBUS, OH: I've only heard good things about the Steelers Hall of Honor Museum at Acrisure Stadium. I'm hoping to visit it this spring. What is your favorite exhibit or part of the Hall?
ANSWER: Having been closely involved in this project, I prefer to give you a couple of things that I believe are highlights. There are 53 members of the Steelers Hall of Honor, and within the Museum there is a room devoted to those individuals. Each member is featured, and guests can dive into the career of each via a kiosk that is both informative and interactive. The display, the room in its entirety, conveys the proper respect and ceremony to the Hall of Honor. Another highlight of the experience of the Museum is the Broadcast Booth, a replica of what personalities such as Myron Cope and Bill Hillgrove and Tunch Ilkin used during their careers behind the microphone. A guest can enter the booth, pick one from a selection of famous plays in Steelers history, watch the video of that play, and record a personal version of, for example, the Immaculate Reception. The guest gets to keep his recording.

RAYMOND CHASON FROM CONNEAUTVILLE PA: Has Pittsburgh ever hosted the NFL Draft?
ANSWER: At this point in time, I believe the best way to answer that is "not yet." The 2024 NFL Draft will be held in Detroit, and Green Bay already has been awarded the 2025 NFL Draft by the league. On Feb. 16, the Steelers announced via @Steelers on X (formerly Twitter), "We have officially submitted Pittsburgh's NFL Draft Bid to host the event in 2026 or 2027." It's possible a decision on the host city for the 2026 NFL Draft could be made at the NFL Owners Meetings that are scheduled for March 24-27 in Orlando.

DAN MURRAY FROM CORAOPOLIS, PA: In a recent answer to a question about Kent Nix, you mentioned that he spent the 1966 season on Green Bay's "taxi squad." Can you explain why it is called that?
ANSWER: What was known as the "taxi squad" back in the 1940s has evolved into the practice squad today. During the 1940s, Coach Paul Brown came up with a scheme to hold onto players who were promising up-and-comers but just not quite good enough to make the roster. This was back in the All-America Football Conference days, and the owner of the Cleveland franchise was Arthur McBride, known as Mickey to his friends and associates. In addition to owning the Browns, McBride also owned Yellow Cab Co. in Cleveland, and so Brown got McBride to put those promising players on the payroll of the cab company, even though they never got behind the wheel of one. The name stuck, and the other teams in the league adopted a version of a squad of reserves at the team's beck-and-call. In February 1965, NFL owners voted to adopt a 40-man active roster supplemented by a "taxi squad," but the size of that was not established. It officially was called the "future list." In today's NFL, players on the practice squad are paid openly, receive health care, and attend meetings and participate in on-field sessions just like the players on the active roster.

KIM OWENS FROM FREDERICK, MD: A follow up to the question in a previous Asked and Answered concerning game day revenues: Are you saying that teams with bigger stadiums (obviously bigger expense) and sold out games each week, get the same amount of revenue as a team with a smaller stadium and fewer tickets sold? What incentive is there to build a bigger stadium, other than concessions? It seems like there is much more overhead expense, for 1/32nd of the total revenue. Also, why the big difference in ticket prices?
ANSWER: You misunderstood my answer, or maybe the question, or maybe both. The question asked about ticket revenue, and my answer was that the money from ticket revenue across the league is pooled and then divided equally among the 32 teams. From ticket revenue only. There are a lot of other ways to generate funds from a first-class NFL facility that's sold out, or close to sold out, for every game over the course of a season. I don't know what the lease agreements are with each team's stadium, and I wouldn't bore readers with those details even if I did. But just believe me when I tell you there are a lot of revenue streams to be tapped. As for the variation of tickets prices from one franchise to the next, I believe owners attempt to set prices that are reasonable for their location, fan base, and demand in an attempt to maximize attendance and create an NFL-caliber atmosphere and experience.

JASON PRASTER FROM SAN ANTONIO, TX: Which rookie from the Steelers 2023 Draft Class would you say made the biggest impact on the team and which player from the 2023 Draft Class do you think will take the biggest step forward in their sophomore season?
ANSWER: I'm going to go with Broderick Jones as the most impactful, because once he took over at right tackle the offense in general and the running game in particular became more physical, which became the team's identity during the stretch of the season where the Steelers made a run for the playoffs and ultimately secured a spot. And I think Joey Porter Jr. will take the biggest step forward in his second NFL season. There's no empirical evidence to cite, it's really just a guess, but I like a lot of what Porter showed as a rookie. And a lot of what Porter showed as a rookie should give him confidence moving forward. His aggressiveness in seeking the toughest challenge each week later in the regular season is a perfect attitude for an NFL cornerback, and I believe now that Porter has gotten a little taste of success, he's just going to want more.

TOM LUCIANO FROM ALTOONA, PA: With a new offensive playbook coming, are coaches and players limited by the NFL on meeting time during the offseason, or can they be meeting a lot to learn the new terminology?
ANSWER: At this stage of the calendar, there can be no organized meetings presided over by a coach. There can be informal, unplanned sessions, but there aren't a lot of guys who live in Pittsburgh during the offseason. Phase 1 of the offseason program is scheduled to begin on April 15.

JOE ASHER FROM TAMPA, FL: You've written many times about the greatness of Joe Greene, and rightfully so. Would you consider him to be the greatest of all time at his position? Are there any other Steelers you would consider to have been the greatest players at their position?
ANSWER: What I'm comfortable with is that Joe Greene is the most impactful player – and by impact, I'm referring to on-field, in the locker room, in the community (remember, in 1979 Joe Greene was voted the NFL Man of the Year Award, which became the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 1999). A leader in every sense of the word.

CHRIS FARIS FROM CARMICHAEL, CA: Am I crazy to think that this Kenny Pickett hate and Mason Rudolph love is ridiculous? If they solidify the offensive tackles, and the running back tandem stays as solid as they finished, why can't Pickett be a solid if not spectacular player?
ANSWER: What's crazy to me is how many fans/media believe it's necessary to litigate these issues now. And by "now," I mean more than 2 weeks before the start of the new league year and the opening of free agency, more than 7 weeks before the start of Phase 1 of the offseason program, 2 months before the draft. Your scenario could be 100 percent right, or 100 percent wrong. And those who are coming down on either side of this issue right now cannot and will not be swayed by anything I might write here.