Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: Nov. 29

Let's get to it:

JAMIE MOYER FROM LAREDO, TX:
In the Thanksgiving night game against the Colts, Antonio Brown was penalized for excessive celebration after a touchdown. Why does he continue to do this when he knows they will flag him for a 15-yard penalty? Also, there were two other times in that game where two Colts players were dancing after a play. The first was Pat McAfee after the fake punt, the other was Donte Moncrief after a long reception. Yet no flags on them. What is the stupid policy on "celebration" penalties in the NFL this year?

ANSWER: In the game against the Colts, there was a flag for excessive celebration, but it wasn't because of Antonio Brown's dancing. Rather it was because Le'Veon Bell joined in at one point, which then had it fall under the anti-choreographed celebration rule. Brown actually has modified his post-touchdown routine, after being flagged and fined for "sexually suggestive hip movements," a.k.a., twerking, following an early-season touchdown catch. The ridiculousness of that is off the charts in a business where certain teams' cheerleaders do much worse, and beyond that, I have no confidence in NFL officials being the guardians of decency in America. Since the twerking incident, Brown's only celebration penalties have come when teammates joined in, which to me makes it their fault and not his.

JON PACELLA FROM GAP, PA:
My question is regarding William Gay: Where did the nickname Deebo come from? And is there significance to a goat (I saw a bunch of his teammates had a little goat emoji in their tweets directed at him after he became the franchise's all-time sack leader.

ANSWER: Deebo is the name of a character played by Tommy Lister and popularized in the 1995 movie, "Friday." It's a nickname James Harrison's teammates gave him. As for the goat emoji, I'm guessing it has to do with GOAT being an acronym for: greatest of all time.

LARRY NICHOLS FROM CAZENOVIA, NY:
My son asked me a question and I was unsure of the correct answer: When retuning a kick, if the returner laterals the ball toward a teammate (who is behind the returner) and the ball is "intercepted" by the opponent, how is this classified (fumble, interception, etc.). And can the ball be advanced by the player who caught the lateral?

ANSWER: The takeaway would be classified as a fumble recovery, and yes, the ball can be advanced by the player who caught the lateral.

TOM PITCHER FROM ANNAPOLIS, MD:
Why have the Steelers not used Justin Gilbert, not taking anything away from Artie Burns or Sean Davis? Is Gilbert just not understanding the defense? I just feel he could help us on passing situations on defense.

ANSWER: I asked Coach Mike Tomlin that question just last week. Here is the entire text of his answer:

"(Gilbert) is very much in our plans. You often cannot see it, because of the nature of position he's in. He's the No. 4 cornerback right now. The fourth corner is primarily a special-teamer until something happens to one of three guys, and then the fourth corner is playing about 45 snaps a game. I routinely have that conversation with him, and I'll tell Steelers Nation that. His progress has been very good. He's improving every day. He's getting the detail required to be a positive contributor to our efforts. If anything happens to one of three guys, and that's the interesting thing about the fourth corner position, he can become an every-down football player. And the same thing could occur with Justin. He's been working diligently on a daily basis, and when he gets an opportunity I'm sure he'll be excited to show the people what he's capable of."

TOM DENOVE FROM ORLANDO, FL:
In answering Ryan O'Toole's question about putting more officials on the field so not as many penalties would be missed. You said that better officials are the answer, not more sets of eyes. You said more officials would just create more penalties "because all of the zebras in the herd are going to want to have an impact." Wouldn't better officiating create the same result? Isn't that the point of not missing so many penalties like what is happening all around the league?

ANSWER: The really good officials don't call everything they see, because there are penalties to be called on every snap of every game. Could you imagine that? What fun for the fans. The television ratings would tank. There has to be some judgment as to what's significant and what's on the periphery of the action on the field that matters in the moment. Good officials understand the nuances, and that's what the sport needs. More good officials.

MARK SAMPLE FROM CHITTENANGO, NY:
When three players are involved in a sack, does each receive credit for half a sack or a third? And if each receives credit for a half-sack, does it count as 1.5 for the team?

ANSWER: There's no such thing as a three-player sack. It would never be scored that way.

KENNETH HAGGERTY FROM REYNOLDSBURG, OH:
When schedules are announced does a team have any say about the time or day the league has scheduled them to play. For instance if University of Pittsburgh plays a home game on a Saturday and the Steelers play at home on Sunday, can the Steelers change from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.?

ANSWER: In fact, there were several occasions this season when Pitt played at Heinz Field on a Saturday, and the Steelers played there on the next day. Kickoff times for games are set by the NFL in conjunction with the television networks covering the games. Teams are not permitted to randomly change the time of a kickoff.


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