Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: Oct. 18

Let's get to it:

DWAYNE PLOSKI FROM FRONT ROYAL, VA: Do you think Ben Roethlisberger will ever pull a Tom Brady or a Brett Favre and sign with a different team? Also, how much longer, with a brand new elbow, do you think Roethlisberger will play?
ANSWER: I look at your first question in another way. In the cases of both Tom Brady and Brett Favre, their original teams were looking to move on from them as starting quarterbacks, and that was what precipitated those players moving on to other teams. I don't see the Steelers having any interest in moving on from Ben Roethlisberger, and I believe both parties are interested in having him retire once his Steelers playing days are over. Based on the way things are going so far in 2020, I could see Roethlisberger and the Steelers doing one more contract, but the length of that one would only be for a couple of years, maybe take him onto his early 40s.

KEITH MILLER FROM WAYNESVILLE, NC: What are the most consecutive wins the Steelers have ever had to start a season?
ANSWER: The 1978 Steelers opened with seven straight wins before losing to the 4-3 Oilers in Houston. And I'm sure if Asked and Answered had existed back then, Chuck Noll would've been ripped for losing to teams he should beat.

DEAN HARRIS FROM DOWNINGTOWN, PA: Do you think if the pass interference replay rule was still in place, that the awful offensive pass interference penalty called on Chase Claypool in the game against the Eagles would have been reversed?
ANSWER: The rule allowing called and uncalled pass interference penalties to be subject to instant replay was so awful, so inconsistently enforced, that the owners voted against it being made permanent after that one-year trial. Based on that, what makes you think it wouldn't have been just as awful, just as inconsistently enforced this year?

RICHARD SIMON FROM SEAL BEACH, CA: With the lack of fans in NFL stadiums because of the global pandemic, does a homefield advantage still exist at all?
ANSWER: Playing in stadiums where there either are a limited number of fans or no fans at all allows for easier on-field communication among players and eliminates any advantage the home team would have in terms of knowing the snap count and being able to get a jump on the opponent at the line of scrimmage. It also negates any chance of the crowd's energy serving to motivate the home team, but there still might be some advantage to not having to travel to play a game, depending on the distance. The not-having-to-travel element is about all that's left of homefield advantage in 2020.

JERRY WEST FROM SOUTHPORT, NC: With all of the hair sticking out of helmets, is it legal to tackle a runner or wide receiver by the hair?
ANSWER: Yes, it's legal, and I remember that happening to Troy Polamalu once.

TYRONE BLAKNEY FROM STRATHMORE, ALBERTA, CANADA: We are proud on this side of the border to have a Canadian player (Chase. Claypool) on the Steelers, especially making a notable contribution. Have other Canadians played with the Steelers in the past? And what Steelers players have worn No. 69 over the years, because 1969 is my birth year.
ANSWER: I know that Shaun Suisham was born in Wallaceburg, Ontario, Canada, and he attended Wallaceburg Secondary School. As for No. 69, it doesn't really have a storied history among Steelers jerseys. The most notable players to wear No. 69 were Steve McLendon and former No. 1 pick Gabe Rivera, whose career was ended when he was paralyzed in an automobile accident during his rookie season of 1983.

JAY SIMMONS FROM DALTON, GA: Having followed Asked and Answered, it seems do me that many Steelers fans do not watch other games or pay attention to the other teams in the league. There is a lot of education in doing that and lets us Steelers fans see how lucky we are year in and year out. Do you feel many of the questions you receive are based on an ignorance of what happens elsewhere in the league?
ANSWER: One of my pet peeves about questions submitted to Asked and Answered is the assumption/belief of some fans that the idea in the National Football League is to attain some standard of play is what's necessary to contend for a championship, when the whole idea is to do what's necessary to defeat the particular opponent each week. If a team wins but doesn't look aesthetically good doing it, that still counts as a victory in the standings, and wins and losses are what determine which teams win their divisions, which teams qualify for the playoffs, and then which teams advance through the playoffs. Winning is the only standard that matters, not third-down conversions allowed, or passing yards allowed, or margin of victory, or any other statistical measurement.

NATHAN GEISLER FROM BOISE, ID: So why did Steelers Hall of Fame running back Franco Harris sign with Seattle in 1984? Did the Steelers try to re-sign him?
ANSWER: Going into the 1984 season, Franco Harris was going into the option year of his contract. At that time, the Steelers routinely negotiated new deals with players heading into their option years, but when Harris' agent at the time, Bart Beier, informed the team that Harris would not report to training camp until a new deal was completed, all negotiations stopped. The Steelers always insisted on an option year in all players' contracts – even Joe Greene played under contracts that contained option years – because it prevented holdouts. Had Harris reported to Saint Vincent College on time with the rest of his teammates in 1984, the Steelers undoubtedly would have worked on a new deal for him and I am confident Dan Rooney would have gotten a deal done. But the team's policy at the time was that it didn't negotiate with holdouts, and since Harris was under contract for the 1984 season, he became a holdout when he didn't report to training camp, and so all talks on a new deal ceased. If Bart Beier thought he was going to make Dan Rooney blink, he learned a hard lesson. Before training camp ended, and when Harris never reported, the Steelers waived him. When no team claimed him for the $100 waiver fee, Harris signed with the Seattle Seahawks.

BILL PARILLO FROM YOUNGSTOWN, OH: With the 5,000 or so fans allowed in the stadium now, is the visiting team allotted tickets?
ANSWER: No, there is no visiting team allotment.

KELLY McPOLAND FROM PITCAIRN, PA: For those NFL players who've "opted out" for this season, is that an etched-in-stone decision?
ANSWER: There was a deadline for players who chose to opt out to change their minds. That deadline passed a long time ago.

BRYAN PATTON FROM LEWISTOWN, PA: The diamond formation quick screen to Chase Claypool that led to a touchdown was a totally illegal play. The three receivers were blocking before Claypool ever touched the ball. It ended well, but the penalty should have been called.
ANSWER: How do you know which team initiated the contact? Since it all happened within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage, it's possible/likely the Eagles defensive backs were the ones who initiated the contact in an effort to throw the Steelers receivers off their routes. And that play didn't lead to a touchdown, it was a touchdown.

JERRY HECKMAN FROM DALLAS, TX : What is the Steelers' record in post bye-week games?
ANSWER: Including the 2020 season, the Steelers are 19-12 in games following their bye. Chuck Noll was 1-1; Bill Cowher was 8-7; and Mike Tomlin is 10-4.

MICHAEL REYNOLDS FROM MONROE, LA: Can you please tell me our third down defensive stats from last year vs. what that number is so far this season?
ANSWER: Last season, opponents converted 36.4 percent on third downs vs. the Steelers. Through four games this season, opponents are converting 50 percent.

MICHAEL ARCELA FROM ELIZABETH, NJ: We are coming up on game No. 5. If the defense does not have a smothering performance, do we lose all hope for a top tier defense?
ANSWER: Silly me. I thought the idea was to win the Super Bowl.

JOSHUA KARPER FROM OWENSBORO, KY: I am sitting around and catching up on Asked and Answered and laughing like crazy as I read questions about why the defense does not try to hold up a receiver's foot to prevent a catch, complaints about the 4-0 Steelers not playing well enough, why you never answer some folks' questions, and the list goes on and on. Thank you for the never-ending supply of entertainment to get me through the work day.
ANSWER: You're welcome, and I promise not to tell your boss you're reading Asked and Answered instead of working. It'll remain our secret.

BRENNEN MIANO FROM FONTANA, CA: I have a buddy who swears up and down that the Raiders are the best team in the AFC because they beat the Chiefs. It would be great if you could let him know how wrong he is.
ANSWER: Ask him where he puts Buffalo and New England, because both of those teams beat the Raiders.

GERALD SMITH FROM GAITHERSBURG, MD: First of all, I want to tell Tunch Ilkin that our thoughts and prayers are with him. I just want to say that I really enjoy the whole Steelers reporter family (can't think of what else to call you guys). Meaning you, Craig Wolfley, Tunch, and the rest of the group. The one person I think holds the whole group together is Missi Matthews. She asks intelligent questions and conducts herself with class (even when she is refereeing you and Mike Prisuta). I just think that in your line of work, she stands out as a role model for other women to follow.
ANSWER: You get no argument from me.