Let’s get to it:
EDWARD GARRIE FROM NOTTINGHAM, UK: My family and I are planning to visit the United States in May and June, and as a Steelers fan since 1984, I would very much like to incorporate a pilgrimage to Heinz Field into our trip. Is it possible to visit the stadium in the offseason? Is there a stadium tour or a museum tour I could book in advance?
ANSWER: Go to HeinzField.com, and you’ll see a nav bar at the top of the page. Click on “STADIUM” and the drop-down box will reveal a category titled “Heinz Field Tours.” Click on that, and it will provide you with all of the pertinent information.
HANK FARRELL FROM GREENSBURG, PA: What is your opinion on trading Antonio Brown to whichever team has the first pick in the draft, and then the Steelers using it to draft Nick Bosa?
ANSWER: Just to clarify, it’s the Arizona Cardinals holding the first overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. This trade you propose – will it happen with the Cardinals participating willingly, or will there be some hostage/ransom situation attached to it? Because trading a wide receiver who will be 31 years old in July and getting the first overall pick in a draft is the definition of delusional. Will. Not. Happen.
JIM HUMPHREY FROM CANTON, OH: For Asked and Answered on Jan. 8, you stated, "I cannot imagine a realistic scenario in which the Steelers spend a draft pick on a quarterback." Well, how about this: Trade Antonio Brown to the Jets, who need a legitimate No. 1 receiver and have the salary cap money to spend, for the third overall pick in the 2019 draft. pick. Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins likely will be available at that point, and the Steelers would be foolish not to take a quarterback this year.
ANSWER: As I read this, I definitely could hear the Ohio State fight song playing in the background, but allow me to remind you of a key word in my statement, and that word is “realistic.” The first part of your scenario that is not realistic is that the Steelers could acquire the third overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft in exchange for Antonio Brown. Now, let’s move on to the next part: If the Steelers had the third overall pick in the 2019 draft, and if they didn’t use it to pick the most dynamic defensive player available at that point – because that area of the first round is where you get guys such as Khalil Mack, Patrick Peterson, Von Miller, and Jalen Ramsey – people would deserve to be fired. Again, the key word is “realistic.”
ROBERT JOCKUMSEN FROM IDAHO FALLS, ID: Why is it that the Steelers never seem to trade up in the draft? They seemed to have wanted linebacker Leighton Vander Esch who was picked by the Cowboys, and look at the year he had. Just curious as to why they never seem to make some moves.
ANSWER: Trades are like dancing the tango – it takes two for it to work. The other NFL teams aren’t in the business of helping the Steelers succeed, and just because the Steelers like a player and want to trade up in a draft to pick that player doesn’t mean they’re going to get the cooperation they need. A few years ago, the Cowboys liked an Ohio State linebacker and tried to work a trade up in the round to select him, but guess what happened? The Steelers liked that player, too, and so they turned down the Cowboys offer and picked Ryan Shazier themselves. Just because a trade doesn’t get made doesn’t mean there was no attempt made to make a trade.
NOAH RAINS FROM MUNCIE, IN: I am about to turn 19, and I am attempting to play college baseball. Just seeing how recruiting works, I have always wondered if the Steelers have their own system when they recruit? Do the Steelers look at only college players or both college and high school players?
ANSWER: Allow me to attempt to be as gentle as possible. There is no recruiting in the NFL. There is a draft, and if a player is drafted then he is required to play there or not play at all. And here’s another rule: a player must be three years removed from his high school graduating class before he is eligible to be drafted by an NFL team. There is no recruiting or scouting of high school players.
MIKE THOMAS FROM ROARING SPRING, PA: I seem to remember the Steelers playing a college team made up of all stars in the 1970s. Is my memory correct?
ANSWER: Yes, and it was called the Chicago Charities College All-Star Game. According to Wikipedia, it “was a preseason American football game played from 1934 to 1976 between the National Football League champions and a team of star college seniors from the previous year. It was also known as the College All-Star Football Classic. The game was contested annually — except for 1974, due to that year's NFL strike — and was played in July, August, or September. The second game, played in 1935, involved the hometown Chicago Bears, runner-up of the 1934 season, instead of the defending champion New York Giants. The New York Jets played in the 1969 edition, although still an American Football League (AFL) team, as once the AFL-NFL Championship was introduced (including for the two seasons before the "Super Bowl" designation was officially adopted and the remaining two seasons before the AFL–NFL merger) the Super Bowl winner was the professional team involved, regardless of which league the team represented.” The Steelers played in two of these – following their victories in Super Bowl IX and Super Bowl X – and they won, 21-14, and, 24-0.
TIM ALAND FROM STEVENSVILLE, MD: I was born in 1959 in Pittsburgh and raised on a diet of black-and-gold everything. The Fall of 1977 was my freshman year in college and I totally forgot about how crazy that season was. Didn't Ernie Holmes also fire a gun at a helicopter? Thank the Lord for no cell phones or social media for both the Steelers and a certain college freshman. Thanks for the laugh.
ANSWER: According to news reports from that time, on March 16, 1973, Ernie Holmes had an emotional breakdown while driving on the Ohio Turnpike, and he ended up firing shots at a police helicopter as it pursued him. He was charged with shooting at a Highway Patrol Heli-pilot. He was found in a field near his abandoned car in Goshen Township, Mahoning County, Ohio. When apprehended, he threw his gun away and put his hands up. He was sentenced to five years' probation.
BARRY BIBLER FROM SALEM, OR: Now that 2018 is over for the Steelers, do you personally see the Steelers getting more firm on the drama via team policies and so forth? I would rather be 8-8 with no drama than 14-2 with this soap opera business going on.
ANSWER: No you wouldn’t. And neither would any other Steelers fans. That kind of stuff sounds good, and it might even make sense to you as you were typing it, but it’s simply not true. Fans want to win. If a drama-filled season ended with a parade through Downtown Pittsburgh with a Lombardi Trophy, there is not a single Steelers fan who would have preferred that particular season had ended with no drama and an 8-8 record. Not one.