During a wave of interviews on Thursday, Jan. 9, Steelers President Art Rooney II fielded questions on a variety of subjects. The first story about that interview can be found here.
The following is a recap of some of the other issues Rooney addressed:
ON BEN'S FUTURE WITH THE STEELERS**
"What I would say about it is that we certainly expect Ben to be playing here beyond the current contract. When both sides are able to come together on an extension – I don't know when that will be, and really it's too early to say as far as if it's this season or next – but there is no doubt we look at Ben as somebody who's going to be here for the long-term. Ben, we have to have him retire as a Steeler. There's not a doubt about that."
ON THE STATE OF NFL OFFICIATING
"The commissioner even said recently, we look for (ways of) improving the officiating. Consistency is something we need to do better, but I also think our officials by and large have a difficult job and they do a good job. The area that needs some discussion is how we use replay. I'm not necessarily looking for more plays to be replayed, in terms of the actual number, but we need to look at whether the way we're doing it now is most effective. Who is actually reviewing the play? Should go to a centralized sort of command post?
"It takes too long as far as I'm concerned. I would like a system that didn't take as long. If that's the college system, the NHL system, I think those are things we've got to look at. But we need to speed up the process, particularly for the fans sitting in the stadium through all this stuff. It just takes too long, and I really do think we have too many replays. While we may need to expand the kinds of plays eligible for replay, I don't want to see more replays per game, that's for sure."
ON ADDITIONAL PUNISHMENT FOR THE MIKE TOMLIN INCIDENT IN BALTIMORE
"We notified the league office that we would intend to appeal any further discipline from the incident. As far as we're concerned, it really had no impact on that game nor any impact on the playoffs. There's no reason for that to be revisited at this point. Mike has paid the price. Mike has expressed his remorse. So I don't think there's anything I need to add there. As far as we are concerned, it should be behind us."
ON NO-SHOWS IN NFL STADIUMS
"I'm not going to say that I'm not concerned. We went back and looked at our no-show history. We had some down years at the end of the 1980s, we had some down years at the end of the 1990s, and our no-show experience was similar based on what we could see. Having said that, there's no question it's a different era, it's a different time and all of the comforts at home that are available now are things we've got to look at. To me, the bottom line is we have a great game and we need to make sure it's a great game. That's what people come to see. The play on the field has to be what people want to get in the car and drive down to see."
ON A SUPER BOWL PLAYED IN AN OUTDOOR STADIUM IN THE NORTHEAST
"Everybody is watching it. I don't think it's going to become a regular rotation, but people are watching this to see how it goes. If it comes off without a hitch, then maybe we will see more northern games. Heck, we played in Dallas in a snowy week. It's not like going south always works. So we will see. I think it might be fun to have some snow for the Super Bowl. It's not something that I think would be a disaster. It will be fun to watch."
ON EXPANDING THE PLAYOFFS FROM 12 TO 14 TEAMS
"I'm not opposed to looking at it, but I would be concerned about what goes along with the whole package. There is some talk out there about re-seeding and not having the division champions have the home games, and I would be opposed to that. Our division competition is important. It's really what creates the rivalries that we have and that our fans enjoy."