Let's get to it:
EDWARD PRENETA FROM UNIONVILLE, PA: Is there more to the story with regard to Tyson Alualu? It seems unlike the Steelers to commit to a player who wanted to go elsewhere but remains on the team thanks to a COVID fluke and the persuasion of teammates. Isn't it time for Isaiahh Loudermilk, DeMarvin Leal, and Henry Mondeaux to compete for the starting position and show Alualu the door?
ANSWER: The Steelers realize what they have in Tyson Alualu, even if you don't. The guy was a No. 1 pick in the NFL and the fact he's still a quality player in the league should prove to you he's worth the "commitment" the Steelers have made to him. This defense finished last in the NFL in 2021 against the run, and if you don't understand the impact Alualu's injury had on that outcome, I'm not going to waste time trying to convince you.
MICKEY BASILE FROM MT. PLEASANT, PA: Is Ticketmaster the only way to get tickets for training camp? And do we need them for each day we attend training camp?
ANSWER: Tickets are free, remember, and so all you have to do via Ticketmaster is reserve them for the day or days you want to watch practice. But the answers to your questions are: yes. And yes.
JOHN RECHEL FROM LEESPORT, PA: My family is planning on attending training camp, and we're so excited the team is back in Latrobe. Can you please share a Steelers Legends schedule for the photo ops, if there is one? I remember in previous years, the Steelers posted who would be there each day, but I can't find anything.
ANSWER: The Steelers will be hosting a photo opportunity for fans each day the team has a practice open to the public at Saint Vincent College. The photo op on each of those days will be from noon-1 p.m. The schedule of player appearances is ever-evolving, but here is a partial listing, starting with today, July 28 – Randy Grossman; July 29 – Chris Hoke – this is from noon-12:30 only. At 12:30 Chris will be playing Madden against JonBeast of the Knights; July 30 – Charlie Batch; Aug. 1 – Mike Logan; Aug; 2 – Larry Brown; Aug; 3 – TBD; Aug. 4 – John Banaszak; Aug. 6 – Dewayne Woodruff; Aug. 8 – Bryant McFadden; Aug. 9 – TBD; Aug. 10 – TBD; Aug. 11 – Doug Legursky; Aug. 15 until camp closes to the public – TBD.
KRIS PISCZEK FROM CONNELLSVILLE, PA: For Super Bowls how is it determined which player is awarded the distinction of MVP, and who makes that decision?
ANSWER: Super Bowl MVPs are determined by a vote of select members of the media on site at the stadium. Because of the volume of media credentialed for a Super Bowl, not every member of the media has a vote. For example, I have covered four Super Bowls – Super Bowl XXX, Super Bowl XL, Super Bowl XLIII, and Super Bowl XLV – and I never cast a ballot for the game's MVP. The voting is done before the end of the game.
COLLEEN MURPHY FROM SEBRING FL: Is it possible to buy tickets for away preseason games through the Steelers, or do you have to get them from the home stadium or Ticketmaster? I was looking for tickets for the Jacksonville game in August.
ANSWER: The easiest way for fans to obtain tickets to road preseason games is to deal directly with the visiting team. The Steelers are scheduled to play the Jaguars at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 20, and to provide you with an answer I visited the team's website – jaguars.com – and there is an icon on the top Navbar that takes you into area where fans can purchase tickets. There are a lot of tickets at a variety of price ranges currently available for the game against the Steelers.
DAN MELCHIOR FROM PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL: Recently James Harrison's 2007 game against the Ravens has been making its way around social media as one of the greatest defensive performances in not only Steelers but also in NFL history. Where do you rank that performance?
ANSWER: As a refresher, on Monday, Nov. 5, 2007, the 5-2 Steelers hosted the 4-3 Ravens in a game pitting the top two teams in the AFC North. In that game, a 38-7 Steelers victory, James Harrison finished with nine tackles, 3.5 sacks, six hits on the quarterback, an interception, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery on defense, plus another tackle and a forced fumble on special teams. The Steelers finished the game with four takeaways, and Harrison accounted for three of them himself, and all of those takeaways were turned into touchdowns. As for where Harrison's performance ranks, what I can tell you for certain is that it's the greatest individual defensive performance I ever have seen with my own eyes.
But I also offer this single-game performance that was turned in by Joe Greene in 1972: It was Dec. 10, 1972, and the 9-3 Steelers were in Houston for a game vs. the 1-11 Oilers. Sounds like the makings for a rout, but there were some extenuating circumstances: DE L.C. Greenwood and G Sam Davis were out. LT Jon Kolb and G Gerry Mullins had the flu, and while Kolb played, Mullins only made it into the third quarter. G Bruce Van Dyke pulled a calf muscle in the first quarter and was done for the day; C Jim Clack injured an ankle and was done for the day. All six of those aforementioned players were starters. DE Craig Hanneman, Greenwood's backup, aggravated a knee injury and was done for the day; DE Dwight White injured a knee; DT Steve Furness injured an ankle. WR Ron Shanklin was injured in the first quarter and was done for the day; QB Terry Bradshaw dislocated a finger in the second quarter and was done for the day; and tight end Larry Brown, who would grow into an offensive tackle, was that day playing flanker.
The Steelers needed a hero, and Joe Greene stepped up. He had five sacks and blocked a short field goal attempt by the Oilers; he recovered one fumble and forced another, and those takeaways led to two Roy Gerela field goals. The Steelers won, 9-3, and Greene was responsible for nine of the points himself – six the Steelers scored and the three the Oilers did not.
ALAN SPRIGGS FROM HOOVER, AL: If the Kenny Pickett vs. Mitch Trubisky competition is a tie or close (I'm not sure Mason Rudolph is really in the battle), is there any chance they just throw Pickett in for a "sink-or-swim" experience?
ANSWER: The surest and quickest way for a coach to lose the locker room is to have an agenda other than playing the guys who give the team the best chance to win. The Steelers don't even like to use the word "rebuild," and so I don't believe Coach Mike Tomlin would throw a rookie into the lineup for a "sink or swim" experience. And the idea that a competition that could span all of training camp plus three preseason games would end in a tie is a figment of fans' imaginations.
RAYMOND LOPEZ FROM TEMPERANCE, MI: I've been a Steelers fan since 1972 and therefore lucky enough to witness all six Super Bowls? Why don't teams allow their quarterbacks to call the plays during games, like Terry Bradshaw did?
ANSWER: With all of the technology now available and at their fingertips during games, I imagine coaches today prefer to be in control over the way in which a game unfolds. It has gotten to the point where some coaches even prohibit their quarterback from calling audibles at the line of scrimmage.
RUSS PALLONE FROM TRINIDAD, CO: Any word on throwback uniforms for the 2022 season? I'm ready to move on from the bumblebee uniforms.
ANSWER: News must travel awfully slowly to Colorado, because the last season the team wore the bumblebee jerseys was in 2016. Anyway, Steelers President Art Rooney II said the throwbacks for the 2022 season will be a replica of the jerseys worn in 1972, in keeping with the theme of celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Immaculate Reception.
TERRY PECK FROM SPRINGFIELD OH: I see that some teams have alternate helmets they are wearing at certain times this coming season. Do the Steelers have any plans to adopt an alternate helmet?
ANSWER: As mentioned in the previous answer, the 2022 season will be a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Immaculate Reception, and the team's 1972 helmets are basically the same as the current version with the exception of the facemasks then being gray and now being black. Based on that, the Steelers currently have no plans for an alternate helmet.