Asked and Answered: Dec. 18
MIKE PAZSINT FROM NEW CASTLE, PA: What was Ben Roethlisberger’s listening record? And Terry Bradshaw’s? Fans, receivers, and the media complained that Mitch Trubisky didn’t push the ball down early in the season, and after he did so against the Ravens, several big plays were made. Cue the fans cheer, but unfortunately then the interceptions came and the fans groaned.
ANSWER: Terry Bradshaw has attempted 3,901 passes during his career and finished with 212 touchdowns and 210 interceptions for an interception percentage of 5.4. Ben Roethlisberger attempted 8,443 passes during his career and finished with 418 touchdowns and 211 interceptions, for an interception percentage of 2.5. In 2022, Trubisky’s only season with the Steelers, he attempted 158 passes with 4 touchdowns, 5 interceptions and a 3.2 interception percentage.
CRAIG BROWN FROM ROARING SPRING, PA: How do you see the future for Mason Rudolph? Will he be a free agent after this year and do you think the Steelers will try to keep him? Personally, I liked him and I think the Steelers would have been better off with him as a backup and investing the money they spent on Mitch Trubisky elsewhere.
ANSWER: Mason Rudolph may become an unrestricted free agent in March 2023, and at this point I can’t think of a realistic scenario where he doesn’t decide to seek an opportunity with another team, maybe not necessarily for more money, but for an opportunity to play and compete for a role on the team other than the #3 quarterback. As for the rest of your post, it’s 100 percent retrospective. When the Steelers signed Mitch Trubisky freehand, they were not guaranteed the opportunity to draft Kenny Pickett. So, without Trubisky signing while on free agency, and if they didn’t get a chance to draft Pickett, would you have been fine handing the starting job to Rudolph? I don’t believe that for a second.
JASON CHALFANT FROM DETROIT, MI: Do you think it would be wise to cut Derek Watt and put Conner Heyward at full-back/tight end? And why aren’t there two-way punters/placekickers out there doing both to free up roster spots for other positions?
ANSWER: I don’t think it would be wise to cut Derek Watt, especially now with four regular season games left. Finding a bigger role for Connor Heyward has nothing to do with Watt’s place on the 53-man roster, and Watt also has value as a core player on special teams. The reason there aren’t more bettors/pitchers in the NFL is because they are two separate jobs that require two separate skills. Like why there aren’t more centers/long-shots or more electricians/plumbers or more dentists/cardiologists, because while it would be convenient to do a root canal and open-heart surgery in the same location, you might find it better to have a second one travel and make things right.
DAVID PEPPER FROM LINCOLNSHIRE, UK: Against the Ravens, I thought we might have gone for the onside kick in the fourth quarter given the time left. With recent onside kick rule changes, has this reduced the likelihood of success to a point where it’s no longer worth trying?
ANSWER: The rule changes made onside kicks a last resort in my opinion, and the other factor in this particular case against the Ravens was that the Steelers had three timeouts remaining — two of their own, plus the 2-minute caution. Had the Steelers defense gotten a three-and-out, the Ravens would have punted at the 2-minute warning, and that would have been plenty of offense time in a situation where you only need a field goal to win .
RAYMOND GONZALES OF PITTSBURGH, PA: Which five offensive linemen do you think were the best players for the Steelers?
ANSWER: I would go with (in alphabetical order) Larry Brown, Dermontti Dawson, Alan Faneca, Jon Kolb and Mike Webster.
JAKE PALMER OF JACKSON, WY: I feel sorry for players who don’t have family in the Pittsburgh area at this time of year. Does the team organize holiday reunions for players without family in the area?
ANSWER: Every year, the Steelers hosts a Christmas party for all players, coaches and staff, usually around 10 days before Christmas. There will be food and drinks at the party, Santa Claus will also come and give gifts to the children in attendance, and the team photographer will be there to take pictures of everything, which will then be made available to the players’ families.
BILL BROWN FROM SUFFOLK, VA: I remember watching an NFL game on TV that had no announcers. Is my memory correct, and if so, was it taken into account again?
ANSWER: The only NFL game to be televised without an announcer was played on December 20, 1980 and the 8-7 Miami Dolphins hosted the 3-12 New York Jets with the broadcast on NBC. It was the regular season finale, and both teams were eliminated from the playoffs. The idea was the brainchild of NBC executive Don Ohlmeyer, who recently explained his reasoning to ESPN. “Here we had this dog from a game,” Ohlmeyer said. “Part of my thinking was what could we possibly do to get fans to watch this?
Ohlmeyer’s characterization of the game as “a dog” was apparently shared by the ticket-buying public as attendance was 41,854 and capacity at the Orange Bowl was 72,319. The Jets won 24-17, and no more games were televised without an announcer. As for the stunt driving the ratings up, Ohlmeyer told ESPN, “He certainly did a lot better [ratings] number for us than this dog deserved.”
TODD GOODING OF PORTAGE, MI: If I remember correctly and I’m still a few stones from a load, I believe the Steelers used to stay at a hotel the night before home games. Is that correct and do the Steelers still stay in a hotel on the nights before home games?
ANSWER: All NFL teams have players and coaches and select necessary personnel who stay in a hotel before home games.
DEREK LEWIS OF POINT MARION, PA: What is the status of the cornerback that we inherited from the Washington Commanders? Has he played in any games since joining the team?
ANSWER: Williams Jackson III is on injured reserve. He has not appeared in any games for the Steelers.
MÖHRMANN CHRISTIAN FROM WOLFESBURGH, GERMANY: Just a hilarious segment of Asked and Answer on December 15th, with all the requests about the tickets that cannot be gifted. If Mr. Molinaro can’t decide who benefits, I’ll throw my hat in the ring too. But please tell him that he should make a decision quickly because I have to fly over from Germany. Made me laugh all day. Relax, it’s just football.
ANSWER: As the slogan on the t-shirt reads, “It’s not football. It’s Steelers football.”
GREGORY MOORE OF WILMINGTON, NC: As someone who drove from Wilmington, North Carolina to watch the 2016 Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens game on Christmas Day, last week’s Steelers Nation love letter to Michael Molinaro of Gahanna, Ohio, a smile to my face. My wife and I planned our entire Christmas around this 2016 game, and our reward was watching our beloved Steelers score a game-winning touchdown in the closing seconds. Ben Roethlisberger’s pass to Antonio Brown, who reached and stretched the ball over the goal line, not only won the game but also propelled the Steelers into the playoffs while knocking the Ravens out of contention for the postseason. All of this was worth the price of admission. I grew up 45 minutes south of Pittsburgh (just off I-79), but this game was my first live NFL experience and I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to surpass it. We were a bit cold but this Christmas Day game gave me and my wife a lifetime memory. I can’t say the same about any other of the 42 days of Christmas that I’ve experienced.
ANSWER: Hey! Hey! Hey!
GEORGE BASSETT FROM LAGUNA WOODS, CA: I don’t care what anyone says – please keep “drinking and being moody!” Fancy comments and questions will move your segments forward. Kudos for a fabulous Q&A on December 15th.
ANSWER: I will do my best.