Asked and Answered

The best of Asked and Answered: July 12

With Bob Labriola enjoying a summer break, we've gone through recent editions of Asked & Answered and selected a few memorable questions…and answers.

Bob returns to his normal schedule next week.

Let's get to it:

March 1

MARK DUGGER FROM VERONA, NY:
If the team starts a possession at the 20-yard line and loses 10 yards on the first play and then goes on to score, would the length of the scoring drive be calculated from the 20-yard line or from the point where the loss of yardage occurred?

ANSWER: In the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XLIII, the Steelers had a first-and-10 from their own 22-yard line, with 2:30 left in a game they were trailing, 23-20, to the Cardinals. On the first play, Chris Kemoeatu was penalized for holding, which moved the ball back to the 12-yard line. The Steelers then went on to drive down the field and score the game-winning touchdown on that perfect pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Santonio Holmes. That scoring drive went into the record as an eight-play, 78-yard drive. That means the length of the drive was measured from the original line of scrimmage.

February 25

JOHNNY JOHNSON FROM STAFFORD, TX:
Just how difficult is the position of long-snapper? Seems like it should be a spot where a guy can snap and play another position as well.

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Check out the greatest photos of Pittsburgh Steelers LS Greg Warren.

ANSWER: Long-snapping is easy, until the game-winning field goal attempt sails wide because the snap was either slow or off-line. Long-snapping, which typically refers to punts, and short-snapping, which refers to placement kicks, are timed to one-hundredths of a second, and one tenth-of-a-second can be the difference between making an NFL roster and being out of football. Also, NFL snappers are expected to put the ball on the spot designated by the holder every time. EVERY TIME. Rain, cold, windy. EVERY TIME. And the best ones also shoot the ball back there right on the spot but also with the proper spin so that when the holder puts the ball on the ground the laces already are facing the way the kicker wants them. Did I mention that all of this is expected EVERY TIME? Saving a roster spot is a nice idea, but in those situations when a game is going to be decided by a kick, I want Greg Warren standing over the football, not a backup guard, or a No. 3 tight end, or whatever position that extra guy on the roster is actually playing.**

BRIAN PILE FROM GOLETA, CA:
Why do the Steelers not put the player's uniform numbers on the front of the helmets in preseason games when they are there for the regular season games?

ANSWER: It's a long-time tradition of the franchise dating back to the 1960s. Supposedly it's to signify that all players have to re-earn their spots on the team every summer during training camp, and those who do that successfully are "rewarded" with their number on the front of their helmet.

February 2

WAKI OOKINDA from CARSON CITY, NV:
I have a question/bet that I hope someone with your expertise can answer: Ben Roethlisberger drops back to pass in the red zone and throws the ball to Antonio Brown. The ball hits the crossbar and bounces backward toward the goal line, where Brown catches it in the end zone. Is it a touchdown or an incomplete pass?

ANSWER: Incomplete pass. As soon as the ball hit any part of the goalpost, it was dead.

January 28

CHARLIE YEMCHUK FROM NORTHEAST, MD:
Through your years of covering the Steelers, who are some of your favorite players to cover? What would be one of your most memorable moments of being around the team? Thanks for Asked and Answered. I look forward to them each week.

ANSWER: There have been a large number of players for whom I developed a great respect as professionals, but I usually remember them as being part of specific Steelers teams that won championships, that were fun to watch, or both. There are too many to list here, mainly because there is a very real possibility of forgetting someone and leaving him out. As for a memorable moment, for me it would have to be this one: when Dan Rooney raised the Lombardi Trophy at Ford Field after the Steelers defeated the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL. A very, very emotional moment, much in the same way it must have been when Art Rooney Sr. was handed the Lombardi Trophy in the Tulane Stadium locker room after the Steelers won Super Bowl IX.

ISAAC OSTROW FROM MEMPHIS, TN:
Thank you so much for doing Asked and Answered. In the NBA, MLB, and NHL the playoff matchups are best-of-seven game series. In my mind, that system prevents a team from being eliminated because it had a single bad game. Why doesn't the NFL do at least best-of-three series for the same reason? (The reason I ask this is because we beat Denver in the regular season, but lost in the playoff game. They were better than us that one time.)

ANSWER: First of all, football is more physically demanding than those other sports you list, and playing more than one football game per week isn't really advisable, especially during the stage when the sport is going through the process of crowning its champion. Imagine a best-of-three in the Wild Card Round, then a best-of-three in the Divisional Round, then a best-of-three to crown the conference champions, and then I'm assuming you'd go best-of-three in the Super Bowl. The NFL postseason would last until April. Plus, I believe it's special for fans who buy a ticket to an NFL playoff game to know that it's an elimination game for somebody. And if you have a ticket to either a conference championship game or the Super Bowl, you know there is going to be a trophy presentation when it's over.


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