Let's get to it:
KEVIN W. MCCARTHY FROM WINTER PARK, FL: Who do list as the top five (or more) NFL quarterbacks born in the Greater Pittsburgh area?
ANSWER: There are six quarterbacks from Western Pennsylvania who are enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In alphabetical order, those six include George Blanda from Youngwood, Pa.; Jim Kelly from East Brady, Pa; Dan Marino from Pittsburgh; Joe Montana from New Eagle, Pa; Joe Namath from Beaver Falls, Pa; and John Unitas from Pittsburgh. Those are the top six because being enshrined in the Hall of Fame is a simple way of separating them from all of the others. As far as ranking those six, I would go with this order: Unitas, Montana, Marino, Kelly, Blanda, and Namath.
GARY SCOTTON FROM CUYAHOGA FALLS, OH: I was recently watching a repeat of Super Bowl IX and was amazed that during the playoff run how few yards rushing the Steelers defense allowed. This was during a period of time when teams ran first to establish the pass. I was wondering if you know this stat for the other Super Bowl winning teams that supposedly had "the best defense" ever? In particular the Ravens or Bears teams that everyone likes to tout as the best of all time.
ANSWER: Over the three games of the 1974 postseason, the Steelers defense allowed an average of 48.7 rushing yards per game, an average of 2.3 yards per carry, and zero rushing touchdowns. In those three games, Buffalo rushed for 100 yards on 21 carries, with most of that coming from fullback Jim Braxton, because O.J. Simpson was held to 49 yards on 15 carries; Oakland finished with 29 yards on 21 carries; and Minnesota managed 17 yards on 21 carries. The Steelers allowed 33 total points in the three games, but only three offensive touchdowns, two of which were scored by the Bills in a 32-14 final.
By comparison, the 1985 Bears allowed only 10 points in three playoff games, with consecutive shutouts over the New York Giants and Los Angeles Rams, and then allowing New England just 10 points in the Super Bowl. The Bears defense allowed 125 rushing yards on 51 attempts during the postseason, which worked out to an average of 41.7 yards per game and 2.5 yards per carry. The 2000 Baltimore Ravens needed four games to win their first Super Bowl, and that defense allowed 23 points in four games, but only one offensive touchdown. Denver, Tennessee, Oakland, and the New York Giants combined to average 64.5 rushing yards per game and 3.1 yards per carry.
DAVID ANDERSON FROM IDAHO FALLS, ID: Any word on the progress of getting Bud Dupree into a long-term contract?
ANSWER: The Steelers never have been a team to leak "progress" of negotiations, and so there's nothing unusual about there being radio silence on this issue. But this is an unusual offseason throughout the NFL when it comes to signings, both of draft picks and veterans to contract extensions. My impression about this is that the continuing unknowns associated with the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic have impacted the speed with which teams have gone about this type of business. I have no concerns whatsoever about teams getting their draft picks signed before the start of training camp, whenever that might be, but in particular with the Steelers, I believe the first veteran to get a new/extended contract will be Cam Heyward.
JASON PRASTER FROM SAN ANTONIO, TX: When researching Joe Greene, it lists he wore jersey Nos. 72 and 75. When did Joe Greene wear No. 72?
ANSWER: Ken Kortas was a starting defensive tackle for the Steelers from 1965-68, and in each of those seasons he wore No. 75. As a returning veteran, he began 1969 as the "owner" of No. 75, and so rookie Joe Greene had to select a different jersey number, which became No. 72. Over the course of the 1969 training camp/preseason, Kortas lost his job as a starting defensive lineman, then he lost his roster spot, and then ultimately he lost No. 75, all to the same rookie from North Texas State.
DOUGLAS KELLAR FROM WARREN, PA: For the life of me I can't remember the name of the outside linebacker who recently walked away from the Steelers and football. Can you provide any details and maybe statistics from his time here?
ANSWER: Jason Worilds was the team's second-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the 52nd overall selection. In five seasons with the Steelers, he played in 73 games with 37 starts, and Worilds' statistics show he was coming into his own in 2013-14, his final two as a professional football player. He posted 25.5 career sacks, with 15.5 of them in those final two seasons; 67 quarterback hits, with 45 in his final two seasons; and four forced fumbles, with three in his final two seasons. Worilds retired from football at the age of 27 and became a member of Jehovah's Witnesses.
JOHN NOH FROM SAN JOSE, CA: How is a 2-point conversion awarded (if at all) to a player's career statistics especially when the conversion is a successful pass and reception? Does the receiver get the two points or does the passer?
ANSWER: If Ben Roethlisberger completes a pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster for a 2-point conversion, Roethlisberger doesn't get credit for a pass attempt, a completion, or the yards gained, and Smith-Schuster doesn't get credit for the reception or the yardage. The only statistic that counts is the 2 points, and those go to Smith-Schuster. In the case of James Conner running the ball into the end zone for a 2-point conversion, the only statistic that counts is the 2 points, and those go to Conner.
TAYLOR COONS FROM CHESAPEAKE, VA: When free agents are brought in, does General Manager Kevin Colbert scout the free agents and tell Coach Mike Tomlin who he's bringing in, or does the coaching staff have to approve as well?
ANSWER: The Steelers don't make unilateral personnel moves, and by that I mean a situation where the general manager makes decisions on players and the coach then accepts the roster assembled by the GM. Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin work together in assembling the roster, both in adding veteran free agents, making the draft picks, and signing undrafted rookies and futures contract guys. All of this, of course, is subject to the approval or veto of President Art Rooney II.