Q&A: July 19
DEREK LAKE OF BUSHNELL, FL: What positional battle are you most looking forward to in training camp, whether it’s for a starting spot or a reserve position?
ANSWER: The most visible, the most anticipated, the most chronic battle will be that of the quarterback. The reasons for this are many, from the importance of the position to the fact that there hasn’t been one in Pittsburgh for a long time. While there will certainly be members of the media, as well as fans, who will compile stats from every practice, every seven-on-seven drill to try and master quarterback competition, I think more important things are going to happen behind the scenes and/or during pre-season games. There’s not much to learn from the controlled environment of a practice where the threat of physical violence is reduced, and the public won’t really have a clue how contestants win or lose the contest. trust/respect of their teammates during the process. There is no doubt that many important battles will take place this summer at Saint Vincent College and then on the pitch in all three pre-season games, but it would be naive to suggest that everything will be more under the microscope than what happens. with the quarterback.
NICK MITCHELL OF GLEN-LYON, PA: Where did the Steelers play their home games before Three Rivers Stadium opened in 1970?
ANSWER: When Art Rooney Sr. founded the franchise in 1933, the team played its home games at Forbes Field. Then there was a period where the team split their home games between Forbes Field and Pitt Stadium, and then the Steelers played their home games exclusively at Pitt Stadium before Three Rivers Stadium opened.
TERRY HALDEN FROM LETHBRIDGE, ALBERTA, CANADA: Since it’s no longer Heinz Field, was Heinz given the opportunity to renew the sponsorship, or was it just open to the highest bidder?
ANSWER: I feel that The Kraft Heinz Company had every opportunity to retain naming rights, and the Steelers only sought other alternatives when it became clear that there was no no deal to conclude there.
JEFF DULIK OF LADERA RANCH, CA: I remember the early 1970s when the Steelers had Terry Bradshaw, Terry Hanratty and Joe Gilliam atop the depth chart at quarterback. I was too young to remember all the details of the rotating starting quarterback situation at the time, but would you compare the situation now to then in terms of talent, experience and athletics?
ANSWER: In such a comparison, in my opinion, the edge would belong to the 1970s group of Terry Bradshaw, Joe Gilliam and Terry Hanratty. Entering the 1970 NFL Draft, Bradshaw was seen by most scouts as a generational talent, a consensus No. 1 overall pick, a player who was so coveted that the Dallas Cowboys tried to settle. instead of the Steelers picking him, as did the St. Louis Cardinals, who offered a multiplayer package that included future Hall of Fame cornerback Roger Wehrli. Hanratty was a star at Notre Dame, and in those days, being a star at Notre Dame carried a lot of weight with NFL teams. And Gilliam was a diamond in the rough with a dynamic arm talent that was discovered at Tennessee State by Bill Nunn. None of the current quarterbacks on the Steelers roster can match the total package that was Bradshaw or Gilliam’s arm talent.
KEN KNECHT FROM ILOILO CITY, PHILIPPINES: As a teenager in the 1970s, I remember all kickers were direct, non-football kickers. I dimly remember Jan Stenerud of Kansas City of the Kansas City Chiefs being the first football kicker in the NFL. When did this conversion happen, why do you think it happened, and are the accuracy rates significantly different between the two?
ANSWER: Actually, the first NFL football kicker was not Jan Stenerud, but it was Pete Gogolak. The following Gogolak story appeared on NFL.com:
“Pete Gogolak, who played for the AFL Bills and the NFL Giants in the 1960s and 1970s, was the NFL’s first football-style kicker. Because of his success, all other kickers have eventually adopted his then unorthodox method, which involved approaching the ball from an angle rather than a straight line and using the instep instead of the toes.Born in Budapest in 1942, Gogolak emigrated to the United States with his family after the Hungarian Revolution and started playing football because his high school in upstate New York didn’t have a football team.After playing at Cornell, he was picked by the Bills in the AFL Draft in 1964. In his second year with Buffalo, Gogolak led the AFL with 28 field goals, had all 31 of his extra-point tries, and made the Pro Because the kicking style foot in football improved distance, accuracy and fluidity of movement, it became widespread.Before Gog olak, the field kickers were mostly big guys who played other positions; soon a new generation of kickers, many of whom were thin, quirky and European, began to appear in football. In the early 1970s, this change also caused an increase in field goals which led to the NFL moving the goal posts from the goal line to the baseline in 1974.
As for the question of the accuracy rates of the two styles: in 1965, as an example, Gogolak led the AFL in field goal attempts (46) and field goals (28) for a percentage of 60, 9; Minnesota’s Fred Cox, a direct kicker, led the NFL in scoring this season with 113 points while converting 65.5% of his field goal attempts. The NFL’s last direct kicker was Washington’s Mark Moseley, whose career ended after the 1986 season. For his career, Moseley converted 65.5% of his field goals, while Chris Boswell converted 88 .3% of his attempts at this point in his seven NFL seasons.
TONY FINCH FROM SALTILLO, MS: I’m 56 and have been a Steelers fan since I was a kid, but I can’t remember a few guys listed as wearing No. 7 — Reggie Collier and Pete Gonzalez — ever having been on the team. What were their stories as Steelers?
ANSWER: Reggie Collier, a 6-foot-3, 207-pound quarterback, played two games with the Steelers in 1987 as part of the backup team that replaced during the NFLPA’s three-week strike. Collier, who played college football in southern Mississippi, was a sixth-round pick of Dallas in 1983 and a first-round pick of the USFL’s Birmingham Stallions that same year. Collier signed with Birmingham and played three seasons in the USFL – with the Stallions in 1983, the Washington Federals in 1984 and the Orlando Renegades in 1985. After the USFL closed, Collier appeared in five games for the Cowboys in 1986 before being abandoned. During his brief stint in Pittsburgh, Collier completed 4 of 7 for 110 yards, with two touchdowns, one interception and a 101.8 rating. He also ran four times for 20 yards.
Gonzalez played his college football at Pitt and signed with the Steelers as an undrafted rookie in 1999. His only appearance in his only season with the Steelers came in the closing seconds of the 1999 regular season opener. when he knelt twice to run out the clock in a 43-0 blasting of the Browns in Cleveland that welcomed the franchise to the NFL after Art Modell moved the original franchise to Baltimore after the 1995 season.
JEREMIAH COLGROVE OF LITTLE HOCKING, OH: With the 2022-23 training camp fast approaching, excitement is once again in the air for another Steelers season. You’ve seen your fair share of boot camps over the years. What individual exercises and team exercises do you look forward to each year?
ANSWER: Backs-on-backers are always great because they serve as the tone for the first day in the pads. I won’t argue that players can make the team with a good drill performance, but it does reveal guys who are ready to buckle up and play physically. It’s fun to watch, and I imagine it’s not as fun for offensive practice players who aren’t allowed to block pass-rushers as they might in an actual game. The two team drills I try never to miss are the seven shots and the live tackle period.
BOB WEBER FROM VENICE, FL: In a previous Q&A, you were asked about the Steelers players with the most Pro Bowl appearances in franchise history. It made me wonder how many Pro Bowls Jack Butler has made.
ANSWER: Hall of Fame inductee Jack Butler of 2012 played nine seasons for the Steelers (1951-59). He was voted to the Pro Bowl five times in a row (1955-59) and twice named to the All-Pro first team (1957 and 1958).
JOSHUA CAMPBELL OF CINCINNATI, OH: What jersey number did Larry Ogunjobi get?
ANSWER: When training camp opens, Larry Ogunjobi will wear No. 65, as will sophomore left tackle Dan Moore Jr. Once preseason is over, assuming both are on the roster 53 men, one of those guys will have to change to a different number.