Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: Oct. 19

Let's get to it:

RODGER SHAFFER FROM PLUM, PA: Looking back at the trades of wide receivers Chase Claypool, Martavis Bryant, and Antonio Brown, have the Steelers ever traded a wide receiver that actually worked out for the other team?
ANSWER: One trade of a wide receiver that worked out in the way you describe came in 1970 when the Steelers traded Roy Jefferson to the Baltimore Colts for veteran wide receiver Willie Richardson and a fourth-round pick in the 1971 NFL Draft. While Richardson never would play a regular season down for the Steelers (more on that shortly), that No. 4 draft pick acquired in the trade was used on defensive end Dwight White, an original member of the Steel Curtain and a player who retired with 4 Super Bowl rings. In 5 seasons with the Steelers, Jefferson played in 65 regular season games, 56 of which were starts, and he had 199 catches for 3,671 yards (18.4 average) and 29 touchdowns. He was voted first-team All-Pro once and to two Pro Bowls, but following the 1969 season Jefferson began to test Coach Chuck Noll, and once Noll decided he wasn't going to put up with Jefferson any longer, the trade was made. After leaving Pittsburgh, Jefferson would play 7 more seasons – 1 for Baltimore and then 6 for Washington – and in those 7 seasons he played in 97 regular season games, 88 of which were starts, and he caught another 252 passes for 3,868 yards (15.3 average) and 23 touchdowns. In the 1970 postseason, Jefferson caught 8 passes for 139 yards (17.4 average) and 1 touchdown in helping the Colts win Super Bowl V, and then after getting shipped to Washington he played in 7 more playoff games and caught 22 passes for 296 yards (13.5 average) and 3 touchdowns, and one of his playoff seasons there ended with Washington's loss to Miami in Super Bowl VII. So Jefferson actually caught more passes for more yards after being traded.

As for Richardson, he wasn't happy with being traded from the Colts to a Steelers team that had been 1-13 the previous season, and so he sought to re-negotiate his contract before reporting to the team. Dan Rooney refused that request, and so Richardson didn't report to the team. Then he did report and stayed long enough to catch 4 passes for 62 yards in the preseason and tried again to re-negotiate, but Noll apparently had tired of this whole back-and-forth and traded Richardson to Miami for a fifth-round pick in the same 1971 draft that would bring the team White in the fourth round. The Steelers then used that fifth-round pick on West Texas A&M cornerback Ralph Anderson (6-foot-2, 180 pounds). Anderson spent two seasons with the Steelers (1971-72) and played in 21 games, with 9 starts, and had 4 interceptions and 3 fumble recoveries. That closed the book on the Steelers trade of wide receiver Roy Jefferson.

JIM NEAL FROM FAYETTEVILLE, NC: On Monday Night Football (Cowboys vs. Chargers), I watched a quarterback throw a pass and catch it himself, because the ball was batted at the line of scrimmage and bounced back to him. I was wondering if you could tell me whether or not a Steelers quarterback has ever done that?
ANSWER: How many times that may have happened in 90 seasons of Steelers football is something I won't even attempt to answer, but what I can tell you is that Ben Roethlisberger is credited with two receptions during the course of his 18 NFL seasons. The first came on Sept. 14, 2008, in a 10-6 win in Cleveland, and that reception was scored as a 7-yard loss; and the second came on Oct. 14, 2018, in a 28-27 win in Cincinnati, and that reception was scored as a 1-yard loss. I have no other details.

LARRY REIMER FROM AVALON, CA: I will be attending the Rams game this coming weekend and have invited 10 others to join me. I always wear the same color jersey as the Steelers when I attend (superstitious I guess). This season, the Rams have split wearing their white uniforms and their blue uniforms for home games, so it makes it difficult to know what color jerseys the good guys will be wearing. Do you know whether the Steelers will be in black or white jerseys?
ANSWER: For Sunday's game vs. the Rams at SoFi Stadium, the Steelers will wear white jerseys and Los Angeles will wear blue jerseys.

NATE GEISLER FROM BOISE, ID: With this week being about the Steelers vs. the Los Angeles Rams, it makes me think of Super Bowl XIV, which the Steelers won, 31-19. I know Terry Bradshaw was the MVP of that Super Bowl, but he threw 3 interceptions in the game. I always thought the MVP should have been wide receiver John Stallworth for his big catches, much like what happened in Super Bowl X with Lynn Swann. What are your thoughts about Super Bowl XIV and Bradshaw as the MVP?
ANSWER: Let me start with some with some pertinent statistics. Terry Bradshaw completed 14-of-21 (67 percent) for 309 yards, with 2 touchdowns, 3 interceptions, and a rating of 101.9; John Stallworth caught 3 passes for 121 yards, with one of those being a 73-yard touchdown and another being for 45 yards to convert a third-and-7 in the fourth quarter, which led to the Franco Harris 1-yard run that accounted for the Steelers final touchdown and iced the 31-19 victory. Giving the MVP award to Stallworth would've been a tough sell since he only caught 3 passes in the whole game, and if I were to identify a second candidate besides Bradshaw for MVP I would point to Jack Lambert. For the game, Lambert was credited with 14 tackles, including 10 solo tackles, and his interception at the Steelers 14-yard line with 5:24 left in the fourth quarter preserved what was at the time a 24-19 lead and started the offense on that final game-clinching touchdown drive. I'm not going to make the case that Bradshaw was an undeserving MVP of Super Bowl XIV, but the best second choice would have been Lambert in my opinion.

STEVE HOUSEHOLDER FROM WESTERNPORT, MD: With the retirement of John Norwig, who is the new head athletic trainer? Did the Steelers promote from within or hire outside the organization?
ANSWER: Gabe Amponsah is the Head Athletic Trainer, and he had been the Director of Sports Medicine/Head Athletic Trainer (Football) at the University of Kentucky. Prior to working at the University of Kentucky, Amponsah had been an Athletic Training Intern for the Steelers.

TONY TURAY FROM SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN, CANADA: With all of the tiebreaker scenarios to make the playoffs, has there ever been a time when teams had to meet? Play a game, kick field goals, etc.?
ANSWER: From the website, I randomly selected a list of the tiebreakers to use an example to answer your question, and that list is below:

If, at the end of the regular season, two or more clubs in the same division finish with identical won-lost-tied percentages, the following steps will be taken until a champion is determined.

Two Clubs
1. Head-to-head (best won-lost-tied percentage in games between the clubs)
2. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the division
3. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games
4. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference
5. Strength of victory
6. Strength of schedule
7. Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed
8. Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed
9. Best net points in common games
10. Best net points in all games
11. Best net touchdowns in all games
12. Coin toss

The case is the same for every tiebreaker category the NFL uses in that if the teams are still tied through all of the statistical categories, then there is a coin toss to determine the winner. The coin toss is always the last resort.

GREG MELLISH FROM ST AUGUSTINE, FL: The Steelers offensive line significantly progressed during the course of last year, especially the last eight games. So with the same players, why did the unit regress back to where it had been at the beginning of last year?
ANSWER: Actually, it hasn't been the same players. Isaac Seumalo, who started 17 games for the Eagles last season, replaced Kevin Dotson at left guard. James Daniels, who started at right guard for the Steelers and didn't miss a single offensive snap, has missed the last two games with an injury, and it's not 100 percent certain he'll be available for Sunday's game vs. the Rams. Daniels has been replaced by Nate Herbig, who started 11 games for the New York Jets last season. And Dan Moore Jr., who started 17 games and played every offensive snap for the Steelers at left tackle last season, has missed a game-and-a-half because of injury this season and was replaced by rookie Broderick Jones, and he also is no lock to be able to play vs. the Rams on Sunday. Within the first 5 games of this 17-game regular season, the Steelers already have experienced more change on the offensive line than they did during all of 2022. So your premise of "with the same players" is simply not accurate.

RICK DRISCOLL FROM EAST ANGUS, QUEBEC, CANADA: I've noticed several times this season where on a kickoff the player on the receiving team catches the ball outside of the end zone while calling for a fair catch. Yet the receiving team then starts on its 25-yard line. Was this rule designed to reduce the number of injuries on a kickoff? Can you explain that rule and whether its sole purpose is to reduce injuries?
ANSWER: During the spring Owners Meetings, the membership voted to approve a resolution that allows players to fair catch on kickoffs with the resulting possession beginning at the team's own 25-yard line. The new rule specifies that the fair catch off a free kick (safety or kickoff) must occur behind the team's 25-yard line in order for the ball to be placed at the 25. The rule change will be for one year only, with the league citing "player safety" as a reason for its proposal.

"The kickoff play for us has been a play that has had a lot of changes for us over the years, all really driven by health and safety," Rich McKay, chairman of the NFL's competition committee, told NFL Network's Judy Battista. "The concussion rate on the play has gone up. It's gone up because the ball is being returned more by kicks that are being hung inside the 5-yard line. College made this rule change in maybe 2018 or 2019. We looked at their data and said, you know what, this is the right thing to do now."

At the time the rule change was announced, McKay and NFL executive Jeff Miller said that their modeling indicated the kickoff return rate would decrease from 38 percent to 31 percent, and the concussion rate will drop 15 percent due to the approved proposal. "We needed to do something," McKay added at the time. "We just can't sit there and ignore that data."

JEFF DULIK FROM LADERA RANCH, CA: As another follow-up to the issue of listening to Steelers games outside of Pittsburgh, I am able to listen to the games on WDVE-FM though TuneIn Radio.
ANSWER: Thanks for sharing.

ALAN SPRIGGS FROM HOOVER (PICKENS), AL: Not to be judgmental, but do you see a knowledge deficit in the Pittsburgh fan base? Growing up in the 1970s and 1980s, I always remember the national/MNF announcers complimenting our fan base on its knowledge of football. We don't hear that anymore, and seeing some of the questions here and on the P-G chats, I wonder what happened? People believing silly trade rumors, asking about position changes, arguing about why Matt Canada isn't jumping up and down in the coaches' booth when he's actually doing his job and planning a 2-point conversion play … It's actually embarrassing how bad things have become.
ANSWER: I don't know that I believe it's a knowledge deficit among all Steelers fans as much as it is how social media gives even the whack-a-doodles a platform they didn't have during the 1970s and 1980s, and how social media also allows silly rumors and stupid questions and baseless theories and accusations to get into the mainstream and then gain traction.