Let's get to it:
GIO CALABRO FROM EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP, NJ: I was only 3 years old in 1970 when Terry Bradshaw was drafted, and while I've read much about his difficult first couple of seasons with the team, I don't know anything about his college career. Can you summarize what made him a first overall pick in 1970? Was he a Heisman candidate, did Louisiana Tech compete for a National Championship, etc.?
ANSWER: During the 1968 and 1969 seasons with Terry Bradshaw as the starting quarterback, Louisiana Tech finished 9-2 in 1968 and 8-2 in 1969 and was invited to the first two bowl games in program history. In 1968, Bradshaw passed for an NCAA-best 2,890 yards and then a 33-13 win over Akron in the Rice Bowl; and in 1969, he passed for 2,314 yards and was voted first-team Little All-American. For his college career, Bradshaw completed 424-for-807 (52.5 percent) for 4,459 yards, with 39 touchdowns and 42 interceptions. Based on accounts from that time, it wasn't really difficult to deduce that a player as big and strong as he was, who had the arm strength and toughness he had, who could run and throw like he could, was the top quarterback prospect in that draft class.
JUANITA REEVES FROM COLUMBIA, SC: I will be in Pittsburgh in June 2023. My daughter and I attended the 2022 Hall of Honor weekend, and I want to take my nephews and niece to the Hall of Honor Museum. How and when do we make reservations?
ANSWER: Fans will be able to make reservations for 2023 starting at the beginning of December 2022, but reservations only will be able to be made three months at a time for 2023. If your plan is to visit in June, you should be able to make your tour reservations beginning around the end of February. To make reservations, go to Steelers.com; across the top NavBar you will see a link for Hall of Honor Museum; click on that link and proceed to the Hall of Honor Museum page; scroll down until you see a link for "Book a Tour;" and then that will take you to where you will be able to see what's available and then reserve spot on a tour.
MIKE CARRICA FROM RIO RANCHO, NM: What do think were the greatest strengths of Hall of Fame centers Mike Webster and Dermontti Dawson? The center position is often overlooked in today's game with more focus on offensive tackles due to prolific edge rushers.
ANSWER: Without getting too technical, the easy answer is that what made Mike Webster special were his strength, power, dependability, and work ethic. For Dermontti Dawson, it was speed, athleticism, dependability, and work ethic.
A story that Merril Hoge told during the run-up to Dawson being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012 involved the weeks immediately after he had signed as an unrestricted free agent with the Chicago Bears during the 1994 offseason. One of the first things his new team asked of him was to explain how the Steelers ran the football, because Chicago's coaches wanted to implement those concepts into their own offense to improve the running attack. Hoge diagrammed a play for the Bears coaches that the Steelers used frequently and with great success down at the opponents' goal line. As he drew it up and showed the center snapping the ball, getting out of his stance and pulling around the end to lead the running back into the end zone, one of the Bears coaches told him, "We don't have a center who can pull, let alone pull down at the goal line." To which Hoge responded, "Then you can't run the football like the Pittsburgh Steelers."
ED CAMPBELL FROM CONWAY, SC: Please explain when "half the distance to the goal" or the full yardage is marked off after a penalty.
ANSWER: For 15-yard penalties, half the distance to the goal line is enforced when the line of scrimmage is inside the 30-yard line; for 10-yard penalties, half the distance to the goal line is enforced when the line of scrimmage is inside the 20-yard line; and for 5-yard penalties, half the distance to the goal line is enforced when the line of scrimmage is inside the 10-yard line.
MILTON MANION SR. FROM LOUISVILLE, KY: How many games has T.J. Watt missed in his NFL career?
ANSWER: Eleven. T.J. Watt missed one game in 2017, one game in 2020, two games in 2021, and 7 games in 2022.
DAN MELCHIOR FROM SAN DIEGO, CA: Pundits often talk about the quality and toughness of Divisions. Since the Steelers started winning Super Bowls, what divisions, in both Conferences, have been most successful in getting to and winning Super Bowls?
ANSWER: I usually don't do this, but I wanted to explain to you why your question cannot be answered in a simple and accurate way. The Super Bowl era began with the 1966 season, and at that time there still were two leagues – the National Football League and the American Football League – and neither league had divisions as we know them today. The 9-team AFL was divided into an Eastern Division and a Western Division, and the 15-team NFL was divided into an Eastern Conference and a Western Conference. When the NFL expanded to 16 teams for the 1967 season, the teams were divided into four divisions – Capitol, Century, Central, and Coastal. Things stayed that way until the 1970 NFL-AFL merger when the number of teams grew to 26. The Steelers, Colts, and Browns joined the AFC, and the one league was divided into two conferences and three divisions within each conference – Eastern, Central, and Western. In the 1980s and 1990s, additional expansion and franchise movement shuffled the divisions around, and at one point the AFC Central Division went from four teams – Cincinnati, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Houston – to six teams – Baltimore, Jacksonville, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Tennessee. And then in 2002, new divisions were created, or renamed in some cases, or shuffled around in others, when the 32-team league was divided into 16 teams per conference, and four divisions of four teams apiece overall. For example, are the Ravens to be considered as the "old Browns" because they moved from Cleveland, or are they an extension of the Colts since they do business in Baltimore? And then are they a part of the AFC East, the AFC Central, or the AFC North? There are many other examples – Houston Texans, Tennessee Titans, Seattle Seahawks. Just too many variables. And one last point: I don't necessarily believe the AFC East did anything to cultivate the Patriots as a dynasty.
RALPH ROSSI FROM NORTHERN CAMBRIA, PA: First-time questioner and long-time reader. I had heard that the actual time that the football is in play during a game is around 11-15 minutes. The rest of the time is huddles, timeouts, advertising, etc. That said, when calculating football players' salaries, does that make them the highest-paid athletes of all professional sports based on playing time?
ANSWER: Usain Bolt regularly earned as much as $20 million a year, and it took him 9.58 seconds to run the 100-meter event and 19.19 seconds to run the 200-meter event. And do baseball players actually get credit for standing around in the outfield, or outside the batter's box fiddling with their batting gloves?
MIKE CLAPPER FROM BEDFORD, PA: I have a Steelers/Raiders question. Terry Bradshaw's NFL career ended in 1983 and Howie Long's career began in 1981. Do you know if they were ever on the field together playing against each other? Did Long ever sack Bradshaw? I'm glad they seem to be great friends now when they're on the set together as part of FOX's coverage of the NFL.
ANSWER: The only time Howie Long and Terry Bradshaw had the potential to play the football version of cat-and-mouse was when the Steelers visited Oakland for a Monday night game on Dec. 7, 1981. Bradshaw started the game for the Steelers but was injured after completing 4-of-9 for 29 yards, with 1 touchdown and no interceptions, and he was replaced by Mark Malone. Howie Long did have a sack in that game, but he sacked Malone and not Bradshaw. The Raiders won, 30-27.