JUANITA REEVES FROM COLUMBIA, SC: I will be in Pittsburgh in June 2023. My daughter and I attended the 2022 Hall of Honor weekend and I would like to take my nephews and niece to the Hall of Honor Museum. How and when do we reserve?
ANSWER: Fans will be able to make reservations for 2023 starting in early December 2022, but reservations for 2023 can only be made for three months at a time. If you are planning to visit in June you should be able to make your tour reservations from around the end of February. To make reservations go to Steelers.com; Above the top NavBar you will see a link to the Hall of Honor Museum; Click this link and go to the Hall of Honor Museum page; scroll down until you see a link for “Book a Tour”; and then you get to where you can see what’s available and then reserve a spot on a tour.
MIKE CARRICA OF RIO RANCHO, NM: What do you think were the greatest strengths of Hall of Fame centers Mike Webster and Dermontti Dawson? The center position is often overlooked in today’s game as the focus is more on offensive tackles due to prolific edge rushers.
ANSWER: Without getting too technical, the simple answer is that what made Mike Webster so special was his strength, power, reliability and work ethic. For Dermontti Dawson, it was speed, athleticism, reliability and work ethic.
A story told by Merril Hoge leading up to Dawson’s induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012 was about the weeks immediately after he signed as an unrestricted free agent with the Chicago Bears during the 1994 offseason. One of the first things his new team asked him to do was explain how the Steelers ran football because Chicago coaches wanted to implement those concepts into their own offense to improve running attack. Hoge outlined a game for the Bears coaches that the Steelers used frequently and with great success at the opposing goal line. As he pulled it up and showed the center snatching the ball, coming out of his stance and pulling around the end to lead the run back into the end zone, one of the Bears coaches told him, “We don’t have a center that can pull, let alone pull down on the goal line. To which Hoge replied, “Then you can’t play football like the Pittsburgh Steelers.”
ED CAMPBELL OF CONWAY, SC: Please explain when “half distance to goal” or full stride is marked after a penalty shot.
ANSWER: For 15-yard penalties, half the distance to the goal line will be enforced if the line of scrimmage is within the 30-yard line; 10-yard penalties enforced half the distance from the goal line if the line of scrimmage is within the 20-yard line; and for 5-yard penalties, half the distance to the goal line will be enforced if the line of scrimmage is within the 10-yard line.
MILTON MANION Sr. FROM LOUISVILLE, KY: How many games has TJ Watt missed in his NFL career?
ANSWER: Eleven. TJ Watt missed one game in 2017, one game in 2020, two games in 2021, and seven games in 2022.
DAN MELCHIOR OF SAN DIEGO, CA: Experts often talk about the quality and resilience of divisions. Since the Steelers started winning Super Bowls, which divisions in both conferences have been the most successful at reaching and winning Super Bowls?
ANSWER: I don’t normally do this, but I wanted to explain why your question can’t be answered simply and accurately. The Super Bowl era began with the 1966 season, and back then there were two leagues — the National Football League and the American Football League — and neither league had divisions as we know them today. The 9-team AFL was divided into an Eastern Division and a Western Division, and the 15-team NFL was divided into an Eastern Conference and a Western Conference. As the NFL grew to 16 teams for the 1967 season, teams were divided into four divisions — Capitol, Century, Central, and Coastal. This remained so until the NFL-AFL merger in 1970, when the number of teams increased to 26. The Steelers, Colts, and Browns joined the AFC, and the one league was split into two conferences and three divisions within each conference – Eastern, Central, and West. During the 1980s and 1990s, additional expansion and franchise moves transformed the divisions, and at some point the AFC Central Division expanded from four teams – Cincinnati, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Houston – to six teams – Baltimore, Jacksonville, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Tennessee. And then, in 2002, new divisions were created or renamed in some cases or rebranded in others when the 32-team league split into 16 teams per conference and four divisions totaling four teams. For example, are the Ravens considered the “old Browns” because they moved out of Cleveland, or are they an extension of the Colts since they do business in Baltimore? And are they then part of AFC East, AFC Central or AFC North? There are many other examples – Houston Texans, Tennessee Titans, Seattle Seahawks. Just too many variables. And one last point: I don’t necessarily think the AFC East did anything to cultivate the Patriots as a dynasty.
RALPH ROSSI FROM NORTHERN CAMBRIA, PA: First-time questioner and longtime reader. I had heard that soccer’s actual playing time during a match is around 11 to 15 minutes. The rest of the time is huddles, timeouts, commercials, etc. But if you calculate soccer players’ salaries, does that make them the highest-paid athletes of any pro sport, measured by playing time?
ANSWER: Usain Bolt regularly made up to $20 million a year, and he clocked 9.58 seconds for the 100-meter dash and 19.19 seconds for the 200-meter dash. And do baseball players actually get credit for standing around in the outfield or fiddling with their batting gloves outside the batter’s box?
MIKE CLAPPER FROM BEDFORD, PA: I have a Steelers/Raiders question. Terry Bradshaw’s NFL career ended in 1983 and Howie Long’s career began in 1981. Do you know if they ever played each other on the field together? Has Long ever fired Bradshaw? I’m glad they seem to be good friends now when on set together for FOX’s coverage of the NFL.
ANSWER: The only time Howie Long and Terry Bradshaw had the potential to play the football version of cat and mouse was when the Steelers visited Oakland for a Monday night game on December 7, 1981. Bradshaw started the game for the Steelers but was injured after completing 4 of 9 for 29 yards with 1 touchdown and no interceptions, and he was replaced by Mark Malone. Howie Long had a sack that game, but he sacked Malone, not Bradshaw. The Raiders won 30-27.