Let's get to it:
STEPHEN CUPRZYNSKI FROM COCKEYSVILLE, MD: I enjoyed and received much pleasure from those 1970s Steelers teams. One player I had a keen interest in was Rocky Bleier. I'm a Vietnam veteran, non-combat, and truly admired Rocky's grit and determination to come back from being wounded and excelling in the NFL. Could you please provide his career statistics, and would you know of any books written on his life?
ANSWER: After his college career at Notre Dame, Rocky Bleier came to the Steelers as a 16th round pick (417th overall) during the 1968 NFL Draft. He played 140 regular season games over 11 seasons during which he rushed for 3,865 yards on 928 carries (4.2 average) and 23 touchdowns to go with 136 receptions for 1,294 yards (9.5 average) and 2 more touchdowns. In addition, he played in 18 postseason games during which he rushed for 480 yards on 141 carries (3.4 average) and 4 touchdowns to go with 19 receptions for 202 yards (10.6 average) and 2 more touchdowns. The definitive book on his life is: "Fighting Back" by Rocky Bleier with Terry O'Neil.
JIMMY CRUZ FROM CITY TERRACE, CA: I know T.J. Watt won the Defensive Player of the Year Award a couple of years ago. How many other Steelers have won that award, and who were they?
ANSWER: T.J. Watt was voted AP Defensive Player of the Year in 2021, and this is a list of other Steelers to win the award: 1972 Joe Greene; 1974 Joe Greene; 1975 Mel Blount; 1976 Jack Lambert; 1993 Rod Woodson; 2008 James Harrison; 2010 Troy Polamalu; and 2021 T.J. Watt.
ANDREW SCHERBIK FROM PORTSMOUTH, VA: Which rookie do you feel will have the most immediate impact?
ANSWER: Joey Porter Jr. He would be my pick as of late June because in addition to his skill-set, veteran Patrick Peterson has been quoted as saying while some young players believe they have all the answers, Porter wants to be coached, wants to learn, and wants to become great.
MATHEW MCKENNA FROM BROOK PARK, OH: If the starting quarterback is replaced during a game for some reason – injury or performance – when their team is losing, and then the backup comes in and wins the game, which quarterback gets the win added to his record? Or if the backup comes in when the team is winning and then the team loses, who is assigned the loss?
ANSWER: The first thing to realize is that the NFL doesn't employ the same criteria as Major League Baseball in determining a quarterback's record as a starter. In the NFL, it's a simple case of identifying the starting quarterback and then determining whether that player's team won or lost the game. If it won the game, the starting quarterback is credited with a win. If it loses the game, the starting quarterback is credited with the loss. It doesn't matter what the circumstances were before the departure of the starter.
DENNIS SLEEGER FROM YORK, PA: When speaking of the great defensive lines of the past there are the Four Horsemen, the Purple People Eaters, and the Steel Curtain. I was wondering how many of the players from those famous defensive lines were elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Also, how many Super Bowls did those famous defensive lines win?
ANSWER: The Los Angeles Rams defensive line carried the nickname the Fearsome Foursome, and the players were Deacon Jones, Merlin Olsen, Rosey Grier, and Lamar Lundy. Jones (Class of 1980) and Olsen (Class of 1982) are enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. This original configuration of the Fearsome Foursome disbanded in 1967 when Grier suffered an injury in the preseason and retired, and since the first Super Bowl wasn't played until the conclusion of the 1966 NFL-AFL season, there were no Super Bowls for this group. The Minnesota Vikings Purple Eaters were Carl Eller, Alan Page, Gary Larsen, and Jim Marshall. Eller (Class of 2004) and Page (Class of 1988) are enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The original configuration of the Purple People Eaters disbanded when Larsen's career ended after the 1974 season. This group participated in three Super Bowls – IV, VIII, and IX – and the Vikings lost all of them. The Steel Curtain defensive line was made up of Joe Greene, L.C. Greenwood, Dwight White, and Ernie Holmes, and it disbanded after Holmes was traded to Tampa Bay during the 1978 preseason. Greene (Class of 1987) is the only member of the Steel Curtain enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Steel Curtain participated in two Super Bowls – IX and X – and the Steelers won both of them.
RAYMOND CHASON FROM CONNEAUTVILLE, PA: When you look at the competition for the No. 3 wide receiver, how difficult will it be come training camp to say for sure who is starting?
ANSWER: The way I view things is that because there are so many different offensive personnel groupings in today's NFL, and receivers, running backs, and tight ends often are aligned interchangeably, it's difficult to identify who is the No. 3 wide receiver from play to play. I contend a much more important benchmark would be how the offensive snaps are allocated to the wide receivers in uniform for that particular game.
JOHN LANIGAN FROM WHITE OAK, PA: How come there are never any men's polo shirts with pockets that are licensed by the Steelers or the NFL? This also is true for the Penguins, Pitt, and West Virginia.
ANSWER: All I can tell you is that if men's polo shirts with pockets on the front were popular and in demand, they would exist with the Steelers logo on them because the whole point of licensed merchandise is to sell it. Since there aren't any NFL licensed men's polo shirts with pockets on the front it must mean that style is not in demand. As has been said about the merchandise business, people vote at the cash register.
GEORGE THOMAS FROM OCALA, FL: I understand that Dan Moore Jr. had a good minicamp and had looked good during OTAs. Do you think that the drafting of Broderick Jones has given him the motivation to improve his game over his past couple of seasons?
ANSWER: I can only imagine that it would have to be a wake-up call for a player to see his team use a first-round pick on a guy who plays his position, but there is no way Dan Moore Jr. would have been able to make the changes to his body that were on display throughout the offseason program if he had started that program in response to the Steelers choice of a No. 1 pick in the draft. I realize many fans don't want to hear it and are interested in instant gratification, but sometimes players need time to grow and develop during the transition from college football to the NFL. I have been told by knowledgeable people – and not directly affiliated with the Steelers – that Moore falls into that category.
RICK PIETROLUNGO FROM GREENCASTLE, PA: In the June 20 edition of Asked and Answered, you answered a question about David Trout's career with the Steelers ending when the team picked up Gary Anderson off waivers. I remember Anderson being a quality kicker while being with the Steelers. What were his overall statistics while with Pittsburgh?
ANSWER: Below are Gary Anderson's career statistics during his 13 seasons with the Steelers – he also kicked for 5 seasons in Minnesota, 2 seasons in Philadelphia, 2 seasons in Tennessee, and 1 season in Philadelphia. And for a bit of context, I have included the statistics in the same categories for four other Steelers kickers – Norm Johnson, Jeff Reed, Shaun Suisham, and Chris Boswell.
Career FG Pct. (regular season – 197 games): 78.2 percent
Career FG Pct. (playoffs – 10 games): 78.9 percent
Career FG Pct. (40-49 yards): 68.8 percent
Career FG Pct. (50+ yards): 29.6 percent
Career FG Pct. (regular season – 63 games): 82.7 percent
Career FG Pct. (playoffs – 7 games): 83.3 percent
Career FG Pct. (40-49 yards): 71.4 percent
Career FG Pct. (50+ yards): 33.3 percent
Career FG Pct. (regular season – 127 games): 81.9 percent
Career FG Pct. (playoffs – 12 games): 88.9 percent
Career FG Pct. (40-49 yards): 67.1 percent
Career FG Pct. (50+ yards): 47.0 percent
Career FG Pct. (regular season – 71 games): 87.9 percent
Career FG Pct. (playoffs – 5 games): 81.8 percent
Career FG Pct. (40-49 yards): 88 percent
Career FG Pct. (50+ yards): 37.5 percent
Career FG Pct. (regular season – 116 games): 86.3 percent
Career FG Pct. (playoffs – 8 games): 100 percent
Career FG Pct. (40-49 yards): 77.6 percent
Career FG Pct. (50+ yards): 80 percent