Let's get to it:
KEN WALDROP FROM ONTONAGON, MI:
In the Super Bowl era, is it true that the Steelers lead all teams in AFC Championship Game appearances, and if so by what margin?
ANSWER: The Steelers' 16 appearances in the AFC Championship Game are the most of any franchise in the Super Bowl era. The Steelers are 8-8 in those games. Next up are New England and Oakland, both with 14 appearances. The Patriots are 9-5, and the Raiders are 5-9. Denver has been to 10, and the Broncos are 8-2.
SCOTT MCNAMEE FROM OSHAWA, ONTARIO, CANADA:
What is it about the Jaguars that seems to give the Steelers such a big challenge? Historically, in 23 total games, including postseason, the Jaguars hold a 12-11 edge in the all-time series. If it weren't for the jersey colors being different, I'd almost think they were the Ravens the way they play the Steelers so tough.
ANSWER: When the Jacksonville franchise joined the NFL for the 1995 season, the Jaguars were placed in the AFC Central Division, along with Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Houston. In short order, the Cleveland franchise would move to Baltimore and become the Ravens, and the Houston franchise would move to Nashville and become the Tennessee Titans. The Jaguars coach at the time, Tom Coughlin, quickly identified the Steelers as the team to beat, and he set about building a team and a front office to do just that.
The Jaguars regularly overpaid during free agency to acquire Steelers players, and Coughlin was famous for adding Steelers castoffs or practice squad players shortly before one of the teams' home-and-home matchups and then cutting them shortly after, with the belief being he was using them to obtain whatever inside information those individuals might be able to provide. It was this tactic that led to the NFL passing the rule requiring a team hold onto a player for three weeks on its 53-man roster after taking him off another team's practice squad.
BRIJ GARG FROM NEW DELHI, INDIA:
I viewed the 1975 Steelers America's Game episode recently. The amount of talent on that team was ridiculous. How did the Steelers manage their salary cap while retaining so many high-caliber players? Did the players take pay cuts for Super Bowl rings, or were the players in their first contracts?
ANSWER: The NFL didn't go to its current system of free agency tied to a salary cap until 1993.
CHRIS JONES FROM NEW ALBANY, OH:
When teams have a bye week such as the Steelers just had, how do the coaches generally tend to use that extra week? Curious if they tend to spend more of the time game planning/preparing for their next most likely opponent (e.g. Jacksonville) vs. the other potential opponents?
ANSWER: The Steelers didn't spend the off week preparing. Instead they spent it working on their own development. The team practiced Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, with the Wednesday and Thursday practices being in pads, and the Friday session was longer than the typical Friday session. Then, the players were back on the field for a Monday practice; Tuesday was the normal off day, and then the schedule has the team on the field on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday leading up to the game, which is when the game plan for the Jaguars will be installed and practiced.
LOU BOLOGNA FROM HERMITAGE, TN:
Can you tell me if the playoff money that the players get is only for the players who are active for the actual playoff game?
ANSWER: All players on the 53-man roster are paid the playoff stipend for each round of the postseason, whether they are active on game day or not.
GARRY MILLER FROM MIRAMAR BEACH, FL
Could you explain the difference between intentional grounding and the quarterback spiking/clocking the ball to stop the clock?
ANSWER: Spiking/clocking is the act of taking the snap and immediately throwing the ball into the ground. Intentional grounding occurs over the course of a play in which the quarterback is attempting to throw the ball down the field but then simply throws it away in an effort to avoid a loss of yardage.
ED SWARTZ FROM NORWICH, OH:
We know the success the Steelers have had since 1969. Did they have any winning seasons or division championships before that?
ANSWER: There were some winning seasons – eight to be exact – but no division championships. In 1947, the Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles finished with the same record at the end of the regular season. In a one-game playoff for the right to play for the NFL Championship, the Eagles won, 21-0.
RICH WAWRZENIAK FROM HORRY, SC:
For the playoff games do the teams get to suit up the entire 53-man roster, or, is it still limited to 45 as is the regular season?
ANSWER: Game day rosters, for the regular season and the playoffs, are set at 46 players.
MARGRIS CHRISTIAN FROM LOIRET, FRANCE:
Not really a question, but a memory to show how great Steelers fans are. I went to London to see my first NFL game in a stadium. It was the Wembley game between the Vikings as the home team and the Steelers on Sept. 29, 2013. I went a few days early to enjoy London and met a group of Steelers fan in the subway while wearing my Ben Roethlisberger jersey. We started chatting and I said that I hoped to get my hands on a Terrible Towel at the stadium on the day of the game. Out of the blue, one of the fans gave me the Wembley game edition Terrible Towel. He added that he bought them by the dozens and had been handing them out to the European fans he came across. A great, kind, and classy gesture from the greatest fan base in the world.
ANSWERS: That's Steelers Nation for you.
GREG KRESOCK FROM SCHENECTADY, NY:
Been reading this segment for about a year now. How in the bright blue sky do you deal with the repeated questions about having the players play out of position so often? From what I have seen of Mike Tomlin, he never does that, outside of necessity due to injury. Love the sarcasm, by the way. Keep it up.
ANSWER: I'll do my best.
JOHN BENNETT FROM BISHKEK, KYRGYZSTAN:
I have to disagree with your answer to Laverne from Florence, S.C. I'm sure we can find someone better than Darrelle Revis to play tight end after Jesse James gets moved to cornerback. You shouldn't feed these fantasies.
ANSWER: You're absolutely right. I totally forgot about the team's two tight-ends-in-waiting: T.J. Watt and Al Villanueva. Apologies.