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The 2020 Steelers from A to Z: John Battle

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 05/31/2020 - 12:00pm
Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Breaking down every player one-by-one alphabetically on the Steelers current 90-man roster

Ladies and gentleman we have hit part 7 of our 90-part series— assuming the roster does not change before we are complete— which will break down each player of the Steelers current 90-man roster in alphabetical order. This series will encompass many aspects of each players game and their current role with the team. At the end, I’ll give some projected stats as well as their chances to make the 53-man roster.

Today we’re going to look at reserve safety:

John Battle

Position: S
Height: 6’ 0”
Weight: 201 lbs
College: Louisiana State
Draft: UDFA in 2019

2019 stats

N/A

Contract remaining

Expires in 2020

$610,000 salary cap number (0.3% of total cap)
$0 dead money
$610,000 cap savings if cut

Likelihood of making the roster

Not likely. While the Steelers are thin in terms of safety depth, their are still a handful of names above Battle on the depth chart. Battle is however a strong practice squad candidate and can very well earn a spot in training camp.

2020 projection

I just don't see a world where Battle is a contributor in 2020. Perhaps another team scoops him off of the practice squad or snags him after cut down day and he can get some special teams snaps. I just don't see it happening.

Projected stats:

N/A

Summary

John Battle showed flashes while at LSU, but he’s going to have to bring a whole lot more if he wants to crack this roster. He could just look at stud slot corner, Mike Hilton on what its going to take to make this team. To the same point in each players careers they had bounced around a few teams, and were just doing whatever it took to stay in the NFL. Hilton wrote the blue print, Battle needs to follow it.

Previously Highlighted

Ola Adeniyi
Marcus Allen
Tyson Alualu
Trajan Bandy
Zach Banner
J.T. Barrett

NFL Salary cap 101: Frequently asked questions

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 05/31/2020 - 10:15am
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

For those who may not be as familiar with the terms and procedures of the NFL salary cap, here is a quick reference in a FAQ format

A couple of years ago the NFL clarified what a catch is in the NFL, unfortunately too late for Pittsburgh Steelers fans. Next up they tried to get pass interference under control which ended up being a failed experiment. One thing the NFL does an excellent job of is laying out aspects of the NFL salary cap. The problem is the jargon laid out in the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is written by lawyers to protect itself from lawyers. The 456 page document is not all about the salary cap, but an enormous chunk of it pertains in one aspect or another regarding the cap.

Below I will take a broad brush approach to some basics and lay that out in an FAQ format.

What is the NFL’s salary cap?

The NFL introduced the first cap in 1994 to split revenue between the owners and the players and to put all teams on the same, even playing field. Teams are allotted the same amount of cap space each season with one caveat, carryover money.

What is carryover money?

All NFL teams go into the regular season with unspent cap space. Competitive teams use this money in case of injuries or to increase the salaries of practice squad players so they are not poached by other teams. Money that is not spent during a particular league year is carried over to the following season and can increase a team’s cap space. Non-competitive teams can build up quite the war chest to go on a spending spree and try to build a team quickly.

How is the revenue calculated and how much do the players make?

All NFL revenue is put into a “pot” and divided evenly among the 32 NFL teams. The revenue includes all stadium ticket sales, local and national broadcasting (TV, radio, and Internet) royalties, concessions, parking, local advertising, stadium leasing and naming rights, and merchandising.

Teams were allotted $198.2 million for the 2020 season to use for salary cap purposes, which equates out to 48% of the revenue.

Can a team go over the salary cap?

The short answer is no once the NFL league year begins in March of each season. As all contracts have to be approved through the NFL league offices, no team can go over the hard cap.

Can the cap be circumvented and, if so, what can happen?

Long-time Steelers fans might remember having to forfeit a third-round draft pick in the 2001 NFL draft and pay a $150,000 fine because of an undisclosed payment to Will Wolford that was not in his contract. It is doubtful teams do this because of the hammer the league would bring down.

What players count against the salary cap?

All players under contract who are on the roster during the regular season, players unable to perform (PUP), on the Reserve/Injured list (IR), and practice squad players. In the offseason, only the top 51 cap hits count against the salary cap. (Rule of 51)

How do the various free agent designations and draft picks count against the cap?

Unrestricted free agents do not count against the cap.

Once a player is designated as a restricted free agent, exclusive rights free agent, or franchise tagged, their corresponding salary designation counts towards the cap.

Players taken in the draft count as the league minimum ($610,000 for 2020) until they sign their contracts.

What goes into figuring the cap number of a player?

Players base salary, also known as P5 salary, signing bonuses, roster bonuses, and workout bonuses all count. While there are other bonus types, I will not go over them here as the Steelers do not implement them into contracts.

The signing bonus is calculated differently from the other bonuses as it can be spread out over the life of a contract up to five years.

What happens if a player is released, traded or retires with prorated signing bonus left on his contract? (This amount is generally referred to as “dead money”)

If the player has only one season remaining on his contract, no matter how he leaves the team, the dead money amount still counts against a team’s salary cap.

This is my biggest pet peeve with the Steelers and some of their contracts. I was very against the signing of Mark Barron and the extension of Anthony Chickillo. Their contract structures were done so they would either be way overpaid in the second year of their contracts or their contracts would be terminated and the team would eat valuable cap space.

What happens if a player has more than one year left on his contract with signing bonus money prorated out in those years?

If a player is traded, any prorated money is accelerated into that year’s salary cap. This is exactly why there are very few high profile trades.

If the player is released with a June 1st designation, or released after June 1st, the prorated bonus can be spread over two years. If the player has three years of bonus money left on his contract, the final two seasons would count against the second year of the cap and not spread into the third year.

Can a team recoup signing bonus money if a player retires?

If a player retires for no legitimate reason (such as Barry Sanders) the team can go after the signing bonus. If a player retires because of declining performance or age, the team cannot recoup the bonus.

Why are NFL contracts not fully guaranteed?

There is nothing in the CBA which prevents contracts from being fully guaranteed. Kirk Cousins and high draft picks are prime examples of having the ability to get a fully guaranteed contract. The only thing holding back players is that general managers will not do them. In the next 11 years of the current CBA, fans might see more and more guaranteed money in contracts but will not see all players getting fully guaranteed deals. Such a move would have enormous financial implications regarding the salary cap.

Are there minimum salaries the NFL has to pay players?

The absolute minimum for an NFL player is $610,000 on the 53-man roster. For every year of experience, this figure increases. For players with seven plus credited seasons, the minimum salary is $1,050,000. Practice squad players earn a minimum of $9,400 per week and are paid during the bye week.

Unfortunately, more fans do not pay close enough attention to their team’s salary cap. The NFL cap is the unequivocal driving force in building and maintaining a team’s roster. Cap management or lack thereof can have devastating effects on a team’s ability to be competitive or a team’s effort to go on an effective championship run. There is also a sizeable difference between being competitive and having a competitive edge. Spending a few million dollars here or keeping a player for a few million there can have enormous effects. Three million here and $1 million there adds up over time as fans can see with the Steelers sitting on $9 million in dead cap money for 2020.

Hopefully, the FAQ above helped you to understand some basics of the NFL’s complicated salary cap. Please feel free post any questions below and I will do my best to answer them.

A way-too-early look at the 2021 NFL Draft: Running Backs

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 05/31/2020 - 8:30am
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Which runners could be donning the black and gold next year? Let’s look at the top running backs Steeler fans should be watching this college football season.

Draft speculation for 2021 began the moment that 2020’s edition finished.

So, in that spirit, here we are with an article series highlighting prospects who look to be this upcoming draft’s biggest stars.

And the season hasn't even started yet.

Admittedly, “way too early” draft predictions are exactly what they’re titled: Way too early— and as a result, are very rarely, or perhaps never, accurate at all.

In this draft primer series, we won’t be mocking players to any teams, but rather looking at the top players at each position who could get drafted by the Steelers with their first few picks in 2021. Prospects such as Trevor Lawrence, Ja’Marr Chase, Justin Fields, and Penei Sewell, who are all expected to be gone long before the Steelers are projected to pick in the first round, will not be included.

The goal? Not to make any “hot take” predictions, but rather to look at some players that Steelers fans might want to watch a little closer than usual this college season.

Second in this series will be an important position that is severely undervalued in the modern NFL: running backs. They are ranked in no particular order.

Travis Etienne, RB #9, Clemson

2019 stats: 1,614 rushing yards, 19 rushing touchdowns, 432 receiving yards, 4 receiving touchdowns.

Height/Weight: 5’10”, 210 lbs.

If you want to add a change-of-pace speedster to your backfield, look no farther than Travis Etienne.

The Clemson runner has next-level speed and acceleration and won’t get caught from behind on long runs. Speed is his calling card. But he is also a surprisingly tough runner who will give his all on every play, even though he won’t be bowling defenders over.

Like most college running backs, he has a tendency to bump runs outside and will likely need to improve his vision a bit more to succeed in the NFL. He’s incredibly elusive due to his pure speed, but his lateral agility, though certainly NFL-caliber, isn’t anything to write home about.

Etienne isn’t a natural pass-catcher yet, but he was successful last year catching check-downs and making plays in space. If Etienne can continue to improve his receiving game, he will be able to maximize his talent.

At 210 pounds, Etienne’s slight frame is a concern for some, especially at a position where durability is a massive issue. However, he has shown the capability to stay consistent and productive throughout his time in the NCA, and has always played bigger than he is.

Etienne surprisingly sat out the 2020 NFL Draft with his stock at an all-time high, but if he can improve upon his few remaining flaws this season, he will solidify himself as the top running back in his class this year.

Some notable articles about Travis Etienne:

Travis Etienne Draft Profile - The Draft Network

2021 NFL Draft: Travis Etienne has got the juice - With the First Pick

Travis Etienne scouting report - Draft Wire

Clemson RB Travis Etienne Will Forgo 2020 NFL Draft, Return to School - Bleacher Report

Najee Harris, RB #22, Alabama

2019 stats: 1,224 rushing yards, 13 rushing touchdowns, 304 receiving yards, 7 receiving touchdowns.

Height/Weight: 6’2”, 230 lbs.

Harris is a powerfully built runner with all of the intangibles you could want. He was highly recruited out of high school, choosing to play college football at Alabama. He slid into a bigger role last season, and looks to be a full-time starter in 2020.

Harris is a load to bring down once he gets going, even though he doesn't consistently run with his freight train ability. He isn't a freak athlete, but has good burst and speed for a runner his size.

Najee Harris hasn't shown a lot as a receiver during his time at Alabama, but it’s more a of a matter of opportunity than ability. He could improve in his pass protection and ball carrier vision as well.

Harris is the prototype for an NFL running back, with great size, speed, and power. He joined Travis Etienne in returning to school for an extra year, most likely to improve his draft stock.

The Alabama running back is near the top of his positional group heading up to the 2021 draft, but projects anywhere from the first to third rounds entering his final season.

Some notable articles about Najee Harris:

Najee Harris Draft Profile - The Draft Network

Alabama RB Najee’ Harris returning to school for 2020 season - Draft Wire

Chuba Hubbard, RB #30, Oklahoma State

2019 stats: 2,094 rushing yards, 21 rushing touchdowns, 198 receiving yards, 0 receiving touchdowns.

Height/Weight: 6’1”, 207 lbs.

Like extreme production from your running backs? If so, Hubbard is your guy.

Chuba Hubbard possesses great vision, and an overall above-average athletic profile. He has good speed and decent power, and a nice arsenal of moves to avoid defenders.

The main knock on Hubbard is that he plays much smaller than his size. He doesn't offer much in pass protection and isn’t the most punishing runner you’ll ever see. As a receiver, Hubbard didn't put up great numbers either.

Playing in the Big 12 puts an asterisk by Hubbard’s production as the conference has gained a reputation as lacking challenging defenses. Rushing for 2,094 yards is no joke, but it would be interesting to see how different they would be in the SEC.

A Draft Network analysis challenged Hubbard’s willingness to initiate contact, which could spring concerns due to his smaller frame.

Hubbard beat out players such as Notre Dame receiver Chase Claypool and Oklahoma defensive lineman Neville Gallimore for the Cornish Award as college football’s top Canadian player as a redshirt sophomore last year. He was eligible for the draft, but decided to sit out and play another season at Oklahoma State. Another great season would help him immensely, as Hubbard’s current draft position is a mystery for many.

Some notable articles about Chuba Hubbard:

Chuba Hubbard Draft Profile - The Draft Network

Chuba Hubbard Wins Cornish Trophy - OKState.com

Chuba Hubbard joins a deep class of running back prospects - CBS Sports

Max Borhgi, RB #11, Washington State

2019 stats: 817 rushing yards, 11 rushing touchdowns, 597 receiving yards, 5 receiving touchdowns.

Height/Weight: 5’10”, 197 lbs.

A surprising star running back in Mike Leach’s air raid offense, Borghi’s diverse skill set has made him an interesting player to watch entering this year’s draft.

Borghi’s main calling is at receiving back, as he caught 86 passes last year along with his 127 carries. He broke 28 tackles after the catch last season as well.

As a runner, Borghi has been fairly productive, but lacks the ideal size to succeed at running between the tackles in the NFL. If he can bulk up and improve on his power this season he will be much more of a complete prospect.

Broghi has often drawn comparisons to former Stanford star Christian McCaffery due to his playing style, but still has a ways to go to achieve McCaffery’s insane levels of production.

Much like Chuba Hubbard, Borghi’s conference, the PAC-12, is fairly weak in terms of overall defensive play. How his size and production will translate against better defenses will be integral to his future.

With Mike Leach taking his signature scheme to Mississippi State for the 2020 season, it will be interesting to see how Broghi adapts to the new coaching staff. As of right now, Borghi projects to be a third down back in the NFL thanks to his receiving ability and quickness, but he’ll need to develop more as a pure runner to move into the second/third round conversation.

Some notable articles about Max Borghi:

2021 NFL Draft: Is running back Max Borghi the next McCaffrey? - Pro Football Network

PFF’s early list of players to watch ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft - Pro Football Focus

Some other names to look out for this season include Oregon’s C.J. Verdell, Memphis’ Kenneth Gainwell, Penn State’s Journey Brown, Oregon State’s Jermar Jefferson, Oklahoma’s Kennedy Brooks, Mississippi State’s Kylin Hill, and Kansas’ Pooka Williams.

Will the Steelers have any interest in drafting a running back next season?

It all starts with James Conner, who has proven to be a feature back when healthy but has struggled to stay on the field. His health and production will determine whether or not he is offered a second contract by Pittsburgh.

Behind Conner is a crowded backfield, with names such as Benny Snell Jr., Anthony McFarland, Jaylen Samuels, and Kerrith Whyte Jr. All of these players combined make for an excellent running-back-by-committee group, with Snell and possibly even McFarland having a starter ceiling.

If enough of the team’s current running backs stay with team in 2021 and remain productive and healthy, running back shouldn't be a team need for a long time. However, with an entire season waiting to be played before the upcoming draft, it’s foolish to make predictions on which positions the Steelers will and won't be picking.

Let’s just focus on this season for know, and hope that James Conner returns to healthy, Pro Bowl form.

Podcast: Ben is not the Steelers’ OC, but he still should have a big say

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 05/31/2020 - 6:00am

There is plenty to discuss on the latest episode of the popular new podcast Steelers Brunch w/ Tony.

When Ben Roethlisberger wasn’t in the lineup in 2019, the Steelers offense struggled with out his arm and his play calling ability. Though many feel that Ben Roethlisberger is the secret offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh, it really is Randy Fichtner. But with that being said, the Steelers need Ben to have a big say in the offense.

This is going to be the talking point in the latest podcast featuring BTSC’s own Tony Defeo. Welcome to Steelers Brunch with Tony!

Check out the show below, and be sure to comment what you think in the comment section below!

If you missed the live show, be sure to check out the YouTube clip here, and be sure to subscribe to our channel by clicking HERE:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE

Spotify: CLICK HERE

Google Play: CLICK HERE

If you’re old-school and just want the audio, you can listen to it in the player below.

Black and Gold Links: Still getting in work with virtual OTAs

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 05/31/2020 - 5:00am
Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Time to check on the latest news surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers

It has been a one-of-a-kind offseason for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2020. Unable to attend most player pro days and participating in the NFL’s first virtual draft, the Steelers keep pushing forward toward a return to football activities. Just because the Steelers are unable to hold their typical OTA’s doesn’t mean we stop providing you with features, commentary and opinions to tide you over throughout the offseason!

Today in the black-and-gold links article we take a look at how some of the players are preparing for the season with virtual OTAs.

Let’s get to the news:

  • In the absence of full-team workouts, players on the Steelers are focused on winning in 2020

Business as Usual: Steelers Not Letting Virtual OTAs Slow Them

By: Noah Strackbein, Sports Illustrated

Without being able to step onto the field at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex in Southside, the Steelers are spending Organized Team Activities at home, by themselves.

It’s an unusual offseason for everyone, but for the players trying to train for the 2020 season, it’s a bit of a challenge. Instead of working at team facilities, or even working together, for the most part, players are asked to spend their spring training by themselves in order to be ready for whenever the season does happen.

“This whole pandemic has been crazy. I have been just staying to myself, still trying to get in the work,” Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson told reporters last week. “I am getting through it. The rest of the guys on the team are doing the same thing as well. I am just staying out of the way and staying ready.”

That’s the reality for these players. Right now, they’re working as much as they can through iPads and laptops, without knowing much about when anything will change.

Johnson said he’s spending time at quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s house training. Still, he’s doing so thinking he may not return to an actual football field until later in the summer.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • Steven Nelson discusses the high expectations he has for himself as a player

Flipping a switch

By: Teresa Varley, Steelers.com

This is the time of year when NFL players are normally on the field, taking part in OTAs, getting in a good workout and sweat as they take the first big step to prepare for season.

Steven Nelson wishes he was in Pittsburgh right now with his teammates doing just that. But he understands why he isn’t. He gets it.

Rest assured, though, he is still getting a good sweat on a regular basis.

“For the past month, me and a couple of guys have been working out in and out of garages in about 100-degree weather,” said Nelson, who is in Arizona. “That itself helps you with conditioning. We do a lot of sprints, speed work. It’s been good. We have been able to improvise so whenever they do call, we will be ready.

“Nobody is getting an advantage on anybody else. We are all out on our own throughout the NFL. We are modifying our normal workouts. I think that is a good thing.”

Nelson, who has been taking part in the Steelers virtual offseason program, said all of the work will help him be ready when the time does come to all be together again. He is also hoping the work will help him have a similar type of season in 2020 that he had in 2019.

* * *

The statistic is impressive.

Cornerback Steven Nelson played over 1,000 snaps in 2019 at a position that can be very unforgiving. And he gave up…zero touchdowns. Yes, that is zero touchdowns in 1,000 plus snaps.

That is a stat any cornerback would be thrilled with. And it’s something you better believe Nelson is proud of.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • DK relives his column from the Steelers 18-16 victory over the Bengals in the 2015 playoffs

Classic Grind: Winners will win, losers will lose … forevermore let it ring through Cincy

By: Dejan Kovacevic, DK Pittsburgh Sports

Jan. 9, 2016:

Mike Tomlin and James Harrison had somehow gotten word.

The Steelers were making their exit, stage left into Paul Brown Stadium’s visiting tunnel, late Saturday night, and the din down there was as thick as the downpour outside. The athletes were hooting and hollering, their dancing cleats clattering, their soggy backsides getting celebratory slaps moments after sensationally besting the Bengals, 18-16, in what forever should be remembered as the AFC Wild Wilder And Wildest Card game. And that noise was nothing next to the nearby fuss from the vocal, often violent football fans of this otherwise fair city, hanging over the tunnel railings to berate or pelt anyone who passed underneath.

“They got me with popcorn!” Jarvis Jones would exclaim later. “You believe that? Who hits anyone with popcorn? What’s that?”

“Crazy,” Vince Williams echoed across the way. “Just crazy. On the field. On the sidelines. In the stands. Everywhere.”

“Not like anything I’ve seen in my career,” Marcus Gilbert said.

Tomlin, too, seemed taken aback when calling it “a tough, tough, hostile environment.”

But even amid all that, Tomlin and Harrison had heard inside that tunnel, right after the team strikingly ran off the field in unison — more on that later — that Ben Roethlisberger was the last of the Steelers still out there. He was still surrounded by cameras and microphones near the 20-yard line, still taking questions.

So Tomlin and Harrison went back out. And they didn’t walk. They went full-bore sprint.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • BTSC articles you may have missed

Cam Sutton vs. Mike Hilton

J.T. Barrett has several players to leap in order to stick with Steelers

Being a Steelers fan isn’t as attractive as some may think

The 25th ranked number in Steelers history

  • Social Media Madness

SUPER BOWL XIII REWIND

You can watch our win over the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl XIII on Sunday, May 31 beginning at 4 p.m. on our Facebook page and YouTube channel with special features and interviews with @francoharrishof and @RockyBleier!

Link ⤵️

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) May 30, 2020

Do you have a @Steelers fan cave? If so, share it with us for your chance to be featured! You can submit yours in the Steelers Nation Unite section of the #Steelers Official Mobile App or by clicking the link below ⤵️

: https://t.co/DSiLdVlJ7Qhttps://t.co/OjR189yoSg

— SteelersNationUnite (@SteelersUnite) May 30, 2020

I Watt it, I got it.@_TJWatt pic.twitter.com/GLqmKsvgpq

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) May 30, 2020

The 2020 Steelers from A to Z: J.T. Barrett

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 05/30/2020 - 1:45pm
Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Breaking down every player one-by-one alphabetically on the Steelers current 90-man roster

Part six of our 90-part series— yes, 90 parts, assuming the roster does not change before we are complete— will break down each player of the Steelers current 90-man roster in alphabetical order. This series will encompass many aspects of each players game and their current role with the team. At the end, I’ll give some projected stats as well as their chances to make the 53-man roster.

Next up is our first QB, former Ohio State Buckeye:

J.T. Barrett

Position: QB
Height: 6’ 2”
Weight: 220 lbs
College: Ohio State
Draft: Undrafted in 2018

2019 stats

N/A (spent part of the Season on the New Orleans Saints practice squad)

Contract remaining

Expires in 2020

$610,000 salary cap number (0.3% of total cap)
$0 dead money
$610,000 cap savings if cut

Likelihood of making the roster

Not Likely. What J.T. Barrett has going for him is that it appears the Steelers coaching staff isn't completely sold yet on Devlin Hodges in the QB3 spot. But what Barrett has working against him is even if Hodges gets beat out for the position, it’ll likely be by the tall, big armed, first-round pedigree of Paxton Lynch.

2020 projection

I fully expect Barrett to be released by the club at the end of camp, however, he still has one year of practice squad eligibility left and he could be destined to end up there. At the very least his speed can be use in practice to try to help emulate Lamar Jackson every time Ravens week comes around.

Projected stats:

N/A

Summary

J.T. Barrett produced at a very high level in college and deservedly earned a shot in the pros. While there's no conceivable universe where he can beat out Ben Roethlisberger or even Mason Rudolph he can play an integral part in making sure the starting defense is ready each and every week. It will be fun to watch Barrett and Lynch duke it out in the hall of fame game and the rest of the preseason. Here’s to hoping we actually get to see it!

Previously Highlighted

Ola Adeniyi
Marcus Allen
Tyson Alualu
Trajan Bandy
Zach Banner

Perhaps being a Pittsburgh Steelers fan isn’t as sexy as we thought

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 05/30/2020 - 12:00pm
Photo by Karl Walter/Getty Images

The Steelers might be something you’re really passionate about, but that passion apparently isn’t all that sexy in the dating game.

Ever try dating in your late-40s? It’s not easy, and it presents challenges that people in their 20s and 30s simply don’t face. However. instead of giving up, I’ve decided to forge ahead and make myself as attractive as possible. That’s right, I spin, run, walk and lift— basically, any physical activity a guy my age must do if he wants to looks somewhat chubby. Also, despite my obvious charm, something which should make me a magnet in person, I even dabble in online or app dating. It’s not necessarily my cup of tea, but it is 2020, so when in Rome..........

Anyway, a big thing women love to see on your dating profile is your passion. What are you passionate about? What makes you feel alive? What makes you get out of bed every morning? For me, it’s simple: I love to write. Not only do I love to write, I love to write about the Pittsburgh Steelers, the greatest football team in this or any universe. The fact that I get to do that as a jobby, of sorts, well, that’s pretty darn cool.

Whenever I am interacting with a woman on (you’ll never know the names of these dating sites), after my actual job, the first thing she wants to know about is what I like to do for fun— this falls under the passion/hobby umbrella, of course. I talk about my spin classes, the running groups, the watching of streaming television and, of course, the writing. I always save the writing for last because chicks love artists.

Funny thing is, most women don’t seem to care all that much about spinning, running or watching streaming television, but they do hone in on the writing thing.

“So you love to write, huh? What do you write about?” I don’t hesitate. I say, “I write about the Steelers for a very popular site.” And since I started doing podcasts, I include that in my sales pitch, as well.

Sadly (and this might hurt you to know), once women find out that I write about the Steelers, they never contact me again. I do a lot of satire pieces, so you might think I’m kidding, but I assure you, I am not. This has happened about six times over the past two years, alone.

It happened again just the other day. I was messaging back and forth with a woman, and when it finally got to the “What do you like to write about?” portion of the conversation, she ghosted me after my black and gold answer.

About a month ago, on that app where the woman makes the first move (you can probably figure out which one), this young lady actually paid for more time just to talk to me. I don’t know how we got to this point, but she said, “SB Nation? I had to look that up. What kind of writing do you do for them?” When I told her, not only did she stop speaking to me, she deleted her account.

So what’s this all mean? Is the perception of Steelers fans— or at least the men who cheer for them— really that bad?

A few years ago, I dated two women over a period of about six months. These weren’t dating app girlfriends— just old acquaintances. Anyway, they both looked down on the Steelers and my writing about them. In fact, one seemed to be so bothered by it, when I revealed to her that I actually enjoyed writing about more than the Steelers, she was relieved in a “Oh, thank God, I can still change him!” kind of way.

I just don’t get it, I thought the Steelers had more female fans than any team in the NFL.

What gives? Do women see the behavior of fans on Twitter and Facebook and immediately think all Steelers dudes act that way?

Is it the vomiting? Is it the swearing? Is it the smashing of the flat-screen TVs?

Do women hear “Steelers fan” and immediately think “meathead” or “neanderthal”?

My female friends are always talking about how hot they think Pittsburgh’s own Joe Manganiello is. He’s a Steelers fan, a BIG Steelers fan. In fact, his level of Steelers fandom is like Mach 5 Yinzer.

What’s the difference between him and me?

A good friend of mine suggested I simply say I’m a sports writer and leave it at that. That might be a good idea. That could add intrigue, mystery. “Maybe he writes about polo, cricket or synchronized swimming!”

I don’t know, maybe I’m going after the wrong women. I was at the 7/11 on Poplar Street in the Greentree/Crafton area a number of years ago, and the woman waiting on me was complaining because her boss made her change her shirt that read, “If you ain’t a Steelers fan, you ain’t s***!”

I should go look her up.

Numero Uni: Of the 25 most prolific Steelers jersey numbers of all time, which is ranked 25th?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 05/30/2020 - 10:15am
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Steelers have had a plethora of great players representing one number over the years. Find out which one comes in 25th.

BTSC continues to rank the best numbers in team history on a standpoint of thriving over time throughout multiple players. It seems there are a few numbers which are always represented with quality play in Steeler lore. One BTSC author has wondered aloud “what is the most accomplished number in Steelers history?” Through player and jersey value rankings found in Pro Football Reference, we have ranked the most successful numbers in Steelers history worn by various players. You won’t see numbers like 12, 58, 75, 32, 52, 59, 36, 63 and 47 as it would be basically ranking an individual player over the other and not the cumulative effort. In today’s submission, we take a look at those ranked 25th. Enjoy.

25) No. 24

Most Notable: Ike Taylor 2003-2014, Chris Oldham 1995-1999, Rich Erenberg 1984-1986, J.T Thomas 1973-1981, Jim Bradshaw 1963-1967

Current Wearer: Benny Snell Jr. (2019-Present)

Barry Bonds, Brian Giles and Mike Easler are probably the lords of the two-four in Pitsburgh sports history. But that’s one of the few advantages the Pirates have over their Steel City sports brothers. When you look at the Men of Steel to boast the No. 24 on their chests. defensive backs have had more success than running backs. The two Super Steelers who are recognized most for wearing it are corners J.T. Thomas and Ivan “Ike” Taylor. Between the two, they locked down receivers for 21 years.

Thomas was another awesome player lost in the shuffle of superstars on the vaunted Steel Curtain defense of the 1970s. Playing alongside Mel Blount, the duo was dubbed as the 6th best cornerback tandem in NFL history by NFL.com. J.T., not to be confused with the Survivor winner of the same name, had 20 interceptions in his nine seasons with the Steelers. The 4-time Super Bowl champ was named to the 1976 Pro Bowl.

If Taylor had possessed better hands, he would have been a perennial Pro Bowler (Ike came up huge in Super Bowl XL with a key pick late). Nonetheless, Ike was the best corner on his two Lombardi-winning clubs and a major team force. He was also a locker room leader on a dominating defense during his twelve seasons at Heinz Field.

Check back soon for the 24th best jersey in BTSC’s countdown of the most prolific jersey number stables in Steelers history. But first, a recap of the countdown so far.

Honorable Mention: No. 51, No. 93, No. 27 and No. 33

Can Cam Sutton supplant Mike Hilton as the Steelers top slot corner?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 05/30/2020 - 8:30am
Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers slot corners will battle it out both in training camp, throughout the season, and in the negotiating room for a contract in 2021

Heading into the 2020 season, the Steelers can finally say with confidence their secondary is a strength of the team. A big reason why is the development of guys like Mike Hilton and Cam Sutton. Hilton is a former undrafted free agent who was signed to the practice squad at the end of 2016 before ultimately making the team as a starter in 2017. Sutton has more pedigree of the two as he was drafted in the third round out of Tennessee in 2017. The Steelers brought back Hilton as a restricted free agent on a second-round tender making both Hilton and Sutton free agents at the end of the 2020 season. Pittsburgh is likely going to have to make a tough decision on which one to keep as they both are solid contributors to what should be one of if not the top defense in the NFL.

According to overthecap.com the top slot cornerbacks average salary per year is around $8-9 million. If both Hilton and Sutton have solid seasons again in 2020, one would expect them to command contracts in that ballpark. It has been reported the NFL salary cap is going to increase dramatically next season with the new CBA in place, but with the uncertainty surrounding Covid-19 and how it will affect the 2020 season, one cannot assume it will be the case. Pittsburgh has some tough decisions to make financially coming up and Omar Khan will have to work his cap magic once again. The Steelers surely won’t let both walk after the season and I am glad I don’t have to make the decision.

Mike Hilton has become one of the best slot defenders in the NFL since he became a starter in 2017. According to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, as well as some other local media, there were some in the organization who were skeptical on bringing Hilton back in 2020 due to his size when matching up with some of the bigger slot receivers. While this may be factual, Hilton is constantly around the ball and making plays. He is a physical, great blitzer, and more than adequate in coverage for a slot corner. He is the smallest guy on the field most of the time, but with how physical he plays you would never know. Hilton can also play safety in a pinch if need be.

Sutton’s career started off a little slow and it really wasn’t a reflection of poor play on his part. He was blocked by former first round pick Artie Burns who is now a member of the Chicago Bears and the Steelers snagged Joe Haden right before the start of 2017. Sutton is a jack-of-all-trades as he can play both inside and outside while also playing safety. The 2019 season was a huge year for Sutton as he saw a significant number of snaps in both nickel and dime for the defense. If you go back and watch the matchup with Chargers in particular, especially late in the game, you can see how far Sutton has come since he was a rookie. The Steelers were already down Steven Nelson for the game and Haden left with an injury forcing Sutton to play more than his usual sub package snaps. As a result, he was constantly in the Chargers receivers pockets.

If it were up to me, I would bring back Hilton over Sutton even though you can’t go wrong with either. I understand the concern over his height and lack of size, but the guy is just a solid football player. However, I believe if forced to chose the Steelers will bring back Sutton. It’s his ability to play inside and out as well as some safety is what I think will be the deciding factor. Sutton could potentially be a replacement for Joe Haden depending on how second year pro Justin Layne develops. What we do know for sure is both will be key cogs in 2020 for what should be one of the top defensive units in the NFL. Unfortunately, one of them will most likely be gone after the season, but not until they give the Steelers a chance to bring home a seventh Lombardi Trophy.

Podcast: ‘Yeah, I said it”: Diontae Johnson is the next Steelers superstar.

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 05/30/2020 - 6:00am

In the latest episode of ‘Yeah, I said it’, we talk about some burning topics surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Ben Roethlisberger is back and looking to lead the Pittsburgh Steelers deep into the postseason. When you really break it down you realize they have a great chance to win the division this year. But his weapons need to come through. But who will it be?

This is where the BTSC podcast “Yeah, I Said It” comes in. My co-host on ‘The Homer and the Hater Show’, Lance Williams is off on personal assignment. In his stead this week is new editor of BTSC, Dave Schofield. Join Dave as he proclaims Dionte Johnson as a superstar in the making.

Time to deliver the goods on the latest show.

If you haven’t heard, we have a YouTube channel, and the main reason for this is to increase the sound quality on our shows. But if you’re a visual learner you can watch the show below. Be sure to subscribe to our channel!

Check out the audio below:

Feel free to give us your thoughts on the topic in the comment section below, and don’t forget to follow us on all our audio platforms by following the links below:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE
Spotify: CLICK HERE
Google Play: CLICK HERE

Black and Gold Links: Facing Heisman-winning quarterbacks in the AFC North

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 05/30/2020 - 5:00am
Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Time to check on the latest news surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers

It has been a one-of-a-kind offseason for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2020. Unable to attend most player pro days and participating in the NFL’s first virtual draft, the Steelers keep pushing forward toward a return to football activities. Just because the Steelers are unable to hold their typical OTA’s doesn’t mean we stop providing you with features, commentary and opinions to tide you over throughout the offseason!

Today in the black-and-gold links article we take a look at the pedigree of the quarterbacks from around the AFC North.

Let’s get to the news:

  • The Steelers look to have six games against Heisman-winning quarterbacks

Steelers’ defense looks for right mix vs. AFC North’s Heisman QBs

By: Brooke Pryor, ESPN

Mike Tomlin wants a team full of hunters — and not just ones after ducks and deer.

The Pittsburgh Steelers head coach crafted his defensive roster to hunt the Heisman-winning quarterbacks his team will face in their division this year. And with moves dating back to last season, the Steelers are quickly assembling the kind of defense needed to not just survive, but thrive in the AFC North.

After the Cincinnati Bengals drafted Joe Burrow with the top pick last month, each of the Steelers’ divisional opponents has at least one Heisman winner on the roster. The Ravens have three: quarterbacks Lamar Jackson and Robert Griffin III and running back Mark Ingram, while the Cleveland Browns have one: quarterback Baker Mayfield.

“We now have three Heisman Trophy-winning [starting] quarterbacks in the AFC North,” Tomlin said after the draft. “We’ve got to employ people to hunt those guys.”

The Steelers most recently made moves toward that end in the draft, selecting Charlotte defensive end Alex Highsmith with the intention of turning him into an outside linebacker. He joins an elite position group that also includes Bud Dupree and T.J. Watt, who combined for 26 sacks last season.

But the process to further fortify the defense began in earnest a year ago when the Steelers traded up in the 2019 NFL draft to acquire inside linebacker Devin Bush and then traded away their 2020 first-round pick in Week 2 to acquire safety Minkah Fitzpatrick from Miami. Then the Steelers placed a franchise tag on Dupree prior to the 2020 draft, ensuring they can keep two of the NFL’s best pass-rushers together for at least another season.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • Calculating the number of wins for the Steelers in 2020

SportsLine.com projects Steelers tied for 3rd-best record in AFC

By: Chris Adamski, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

The consensus of the gambling sports books appears that the over/under for Pittsburgh Steelers wins in 2020 is nine.

A computer-modeling mathematical service appears to agree. SportsLine.com pegs the Steelers as a nine-win team this season, based off its simulations. And while on face value that does not sound overly impressive, consider that only two AFC teams (the Baltimore Ravens at 11.9 and the Kansas City Chiefs at 11.6) have more projected wins.

Taking into account the entire NFL, the Steelers are tied with the Buffalo Bills for the eighth-most projected victories. NFC teams rated higher are the San Francisco 49ers (10.9), New Orleans Saints (10.4), Minnesota Vikings (9.3), Seattle Seahawks (9.3) and Dallas Cowboys (9.1).

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • Looking a some of the low-profile additions to the Steelers this offseason

Labriola on interesting XFL, undrafted players

By: Bob Labriola, Steelers.com

Ready or not, here it comes:

• One of the interesting facets of every training camp is getting a look at the undrafted rookies and the futures contract signees to see whether any of them can make a real run at either a spot on the roster or on the practice squad. Often referred to as “camp phenoms,” these are the guys who attract a lot of attention during the early portion of a training camp.

• It’s important to understand the difficult path these guys have to travel to be employed by the Steelers after the final cuts are made and the practice squad is assembled, but this summer, with the cancellation of OTAs and minicamps, plus the unknowns associated with the length and the composition of training camp and the preseason because of COVID-19, it’s likely there will be fewer opportunities for these kinds of players to make a sufficient impression to unseat a veteran or a drafted rookie.

• When handicapping the chances of an NFL longshot, it’s helpful to remember the case of Donnie Shell, who has to be considered the best undrafted rookie signing in franchise history during the Super Bowl era because he’s a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2020. What really helped Shell was a players’ strike during the first two months of the 1974 training camp/preseason process, which allowed players like Shell extra repetitions in practice and more playing time in the early preseason games to attract the coaches’ attention. This group not only won’t have that advantage, but it’s fair to describe their situation as a disadvantage.

• We start with the XFL refugees:

WR SAEED BLACKNALL

• At 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, Blacknall fits Coach Mike Tomlin’s description of a one-trick pony, and his trick is speed. Blacknall, who turned 24 in late March, ran a 4.37 in the 40-yard dash at Penn State’s Pro Day in 2018. Blacknall has impressive timed speed, but it never really translated into much production from the time he enrolled at Penn State as a four-star recruit from New Jersey. In 30 college games Blacknall had 50 catches for 979 yards (19.6 average) and seven touchdowns, and then he had brief stints on practice squads in Oakland and Arizona and was waived injured by Miami.

• Speed made him a pick in the XFL’s supplemental draft, but in three appearances for the Los Angeles Wildcats (he was inactive twice), Blacknall caught four passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns. Based on the competition he’ll face for one of the receiver spots here and the kind of offseason he’ll have to navigate to manage that, Blacknall’s top end for 2020 looks like it would be a spot on the practice squad. And if he gets there, it will be because of his speed.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • BTSC articles you may have missed

Highlighting some possible quarterbacks the Steelers could target in the 2012 draft

Will Zach Banner contribute in a different manner next season?

It’s hard for Mason Rudolph to prove a negative

When looking at size, the Steelers have options at nose tackle already on their roster

A look at possible free agents still on the market

  • Social Media Madness

Congratulations to the graduates of the Class of 2020!

Tonight at 8:20 pm, we honor you by displaying a special congratulatory message on the videoboard at @HeinzField!@JamesConner_ | @CamHeyward | @bkeisel99 pic.twitter.com/HaG5SVofNi

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) May 29, 2020

Are you an early bird or a night owl?

: https://t.co/JBtzWMC4jo | @PALottery pic.twitter.com/LEwiOHcySb

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) May 29, 2020

#SteelersNation is everywhere

Thanks to @FotoSteelers & all who participated to show how our nation truly is worldwide pic.twitter.com/smfh8oED6T

— SteelersNationUnite (@SteelersUnite) May 29, 2020

Caption this @JamesConner_ | @_TJWatt pic.twitter.com/HFp7Z9ZwdE

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) May 29, 2020

Friday Night Steelers Six Pack of questions: Offseason, Vol. 21

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 05/29/2020 - 5:45pm
Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

There is always something to talk about when it comes to the black-and-gold!

As the incoming editor here at BTSC, I will do my very best to give you all an acceptable start to the Friday Nigh Six Pack. This open thread is not about me, but all about you! This is your opportunity for discussion with me merely providing some questions.

So I’ll do my best to live up to your expectations. Take it easy on me as this is my first time.

The rules are still the same...

Quick rundown of the ground rules.

  • I’ll ask at least four questions strictly related to the Steelers.
  • The rest of the questions could be about anything.
  • Be respectful.
  • Have fun talking about the Black-and-gold.

So here we go! With the formalities out of the way, it’s time to jump on in. Hopefully this party is exactly what you’re looking for on a Friday night. Here goes:

  1. When it comes to wearing a Steelers jersey on game day, do you go with white, black, throwback, color rush, or does it depend on what the Steelers are wearing?
  2. If you could pick one NFL player who was with a different franchise but could put them on the Steelers at that time, who and when would it be?
  3. When outside of the general Pittsburgh area and you come across someone in Steelers gear, in what way (if at all) do you acknowledge your mutual fandom?
  4. If given the opportunity, would you rather watch a Steelers game from the sideline, or get to do player interviews in the locker room?
  5. You’re having a special guest over for dinner. What are we eating?
  6. What is the best Steelers outfit you have ever personally witnessed someone wearing?

As Jeff likes to say, stay safe out there, and hopefully you use BTSC as a break from the craziness of life.

And it wouldn’t be a Friday night unless we said...

HERE WE GO STEELERS!

PODCASTS

Should the Steelers continue to add free agents to the 2020 roster?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 05/29/2020 - 2:30pm
Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Knowing they would have to cut costs somewhere else, should the team spend any of their cap on bringing in another player?

The 2020 Pittsburgh Steelers roster appears to be set in stone. But the organization could choose to bring in veteran players at a couple of different positions. The team didn’t completely address it’s safety, middle linebacker, nose tackle, or running back positions either early in the draft or through any other options. While the team did draft some players in the later rounds, it’s hard to expect them to make big impacts in year one especially because the coronavirus pandemic is limiting how much time they’ll be able to practice with the club.

Let’s take a look at a few names who are still available that could fill some positions of need.

Safety Reshad Jones

The former Dolphins safety is still without a home after Miami placed him on the Reserved/Injured List with an undisclosed injury. The veteran free safety can slot in behind former Dolphins teammate, Minkah Fitzpatrick and can provide depth to the position. While normally teams wouldn't bring in a 32 year-old to provide depth and play special teams, Jones’ case is a bit different.

Minkah Fitzpatrick recently said on a zoom interview that he’s willing to move around positions for the Steelers defence. If the team wants to shift Fitzpatrick around then they'll need to be able to fill the hole he leaves behind. Enter Reshad Jones, who has played at a Pro Bowl level throughout his career. Jones can provide quality snaps and the ability to start should anything terrible happen.

Running back Devonta Freeman

The Steelers have addressed the running back position in four consecutive drafts, all in hopes of replacing Le’Veon Bell. While the unit is extremely young, they have recently shown some injury concerns. Much like when the Steelers added DeAngelo Williams, the Steelers could bring in a vet to both pick up a start here and there and to secondly provide veteran leadership to the group.

Devonta Freeman can be that guy. While also battling injury problems of his own, the Steelers wouldn't need the long time Falcon to shoulder the load over a 16-game season. Instead he could be added into a rotation designed to get some combination of James Conner, Jaylen Samuels, Benny Snell Jr., and Anthony McFarland through the regular season.

Nose tackle Damon “Snacks” Harrison Sr.

The Steelers D-Line is virtually set and loaded with depth, however the team doesn't really feature an adequate pure nose tackle. Sure, Chris Wormley is listed as a nose tackle, but he’s built more like a 3-4 defensive end and shouldn't get further inside the tackles then at 3 technique. Daniel McCullers looks like a nose tackle, however it may be time for the organization to look elsewhere. Because McCullers hasn’t shown much over six seasons on the team, I'm not sure what he could possibly bring in year seven.

Snacks Harrison not only looks the part, but plays it too. Harrison is coming off a season where he played in 15 games and provided 49 tackles, and 2 sacks from his defensive tackle position. The 31 year old can line up at nose in short yardage scenarios and can be a play a part in replacing the loss of Javon Hargrave.

Middle linebacker Nigel Bradham

The Steelers never actually went out and acquired an inside backer of any sorts. This despite losing both Tyler Matakevich and Mark Barron. Regardless of what you think of this pairing, losing the number two and number four backer, in terms of snaps, is going to hurt.

While it seems the team is high on Ulysees Gilbert III as the positions number three guy, I think it would be wise to add another burner in Nigel Bradham. A unit of Devin Bush, Vince Williams, Gilbert, and Bradham seems scary to me, and each member could make an impact on specials if needed (sans Bush, but he’d still be a beast if called upon).

What do you think should the Steelers chase any of the names listed above? Or do you think this team is good the way it already is? Either way let us know down in the comments!

Dispelling the Myth: The prototypical nose tackle

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 05/29/2020 - 12:47pm
Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images

Many Steelers fans have in mind what they think a nose tackle should look like, but are their expectations grounded in reality?

We’ve heard it since the beginning a free agency once the Steelers lost their starting nose tackle from the last four seasons. Javon Hargrave played at a high-level for the Steelers and it was difficult to find a fan who didn’t appreciate his contributions to the defense. Unfortunately, although the Steelers tried the best they could, sometimes a team just can’t pay everybody in a given position group.

Since Hargrave got himself a hefty contract with the Philadelphia Eagles, many Steelers fans have been wondering about the plan at nose tackle moving forward. Would the Steelers address the position high in the 2020 draft? Would they look in free agency?

The answer is the Steelers kind of did both, but not really either. Technically not going the free-agent route, the Steelers added Chris Wormley in a trade from the Baltimore Ravens. Additionally, the Steelers did not draft a player for the defensive line until their final selection of Carlos Davis in the seventh round. Although they added players up front, Steelers’ fans are uncertain if either player is really the answer at nose tackle.

So what are the Steelers to do? Are they going to make another move? Are they really going to use the “next man up” philosophy and have 2019 reserve nose tackle Daniel McCullers take over the job? It doesn’t seem like there are any other options.

In actuality, the Steelers have a lot of options at nose tackle for the 2020 season. The biggest issue is the fans not seeing the recent trend at the position due to previous expectations.

In other words, it’s Casey Hampton’s fault.

Drafted as the 19th overall selection in the first round of the 2001 NFL draft, Hampton was a five-time Pro Bowler for the Steelers. In fact, he is probably the all-time best nose tackle the team has had since switching to a 3-4 defense in 1982. He was a force in the middle which set the tone for the entire defense.

The first thing to recognize in this situation is Hampton played at the end of an era where stopping the run, particularly in the middle of the field, was still paramount. As NFL offenses have evolved into much more of a passing threat in recent years, the use of a full defensive line has been diminished. This is prevalent not only in the NFL, but even more in college as these players are not utilized as much and therefore the options are limited come draft time.

While this is a huge discussion in and of itself, it’s actually not the point I’m trying to make at this time. Rather than focus on frequency of use, the issue of size has been a sticking point with many Steelers fans.

According to Pro Football Reference (the source which will be used for all of these numbers), Casey Hampton is listed at 6’1” and 325 pounds. Big Snack used his frame to his advantage which helped plug holes in the middle. Since his final season with the Steelers in 2012, many fans have been calling for a “Hampton-type nose tackle” to take on the role, especially since the loss of Javon Hargrave.

Between Hampton’s and Hargrave’s tenure, Steve McLendon held down the position from 2013 through 2015. At 6‘3“ and 310 pounds, McLendon was slightly smaller than Hampton but not to and extended degree. As for Javon Hargrave, he measured 6’2” and 305 pounds. Although not quite the size of Hampton, both of these players were adequate at holding down the position. In fact, it’s difficult to find a Steelers fan who did not think Javon Hargrave did a great job for the Steelers.

The problem lies with the Steelers current roster. With McCullers being the carryover from 2019, he does tip the scale in a manner fans would feel was appropriate for the position. Weighing in at 352 pounds, it’s the 6‘7“ frame which many point out as his leverage sometimes seems to be his biggest obstacle.

So the concern is the Steelers don’t have other options. While it is extremely difficult to find another Casey Hampton, the Steelers do have a number of players in the same mold as Javon Hargrave. Tyson Alualu is 6’3” and 304 pounds. So only an inch taller and 1 pound less than Hargrave is the numerical evidence against fans saying he’s not built to play the position.

Another possibility for the Steelers is the aforementioned Chris Wormley who weighs in at 300 pounds and 6‘5“. Leaning more towards the McCullers end of the spectrum rather than Hampton when it comes to height, it will be interesting to see if Wormley is the type of player who “plays low.” But only 5 pounds less than Hargrave, it’s not a drop off in size at the position.

Interesting enough, one player many fans have been saying could step into the nose tackle role in his second year is defensive lineman Isaiah Buggs. At 6‘3“ and 295 pounds, Buggs is actually lighter than the other players some fans feel can’t play the position due to size. Rookie Carlos Davis fits more of the mold at 6‘2“ tall and 313 pounds, but his raw ability, although coupled with a lot of athleticism, is not something fan should be counting on for 2020.

Of course, “reported weight” and “actual weight” is a point of contention, especially among linemen on both sides of the ball. While Hampton’s weight may have been misstated, there is a lot less question when it comes to Hargrave.

With Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt entrenched as the starters at the defensive tackle/end position in the Steelers 3-4 defense, it is not like the Steelers don’t have multiple options at nose tackle going into 2020. When it comes to the needed size for the position, the Steelers have several players in a very similar mold as Javon Hargrave who had four excellent years in Pittsburgh. Although many would like to see a player much like Casey Hampton plugging up the middle, it’s just not as easy to find an all-time great especially when many college programs are not developing these types of players. Factor in the change of NFL offenses and the diminished role at nose tackle, the Steelers still have the pieces to utilize the position much like they have the last four seasons.

The 2020 Steelers from A to Z: Zach Banner

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 05/29/2020 - 10:55am
Photo by: 2019 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Breaking down every player one-by-one alphabetically on the Steelers current 90-man roster

We are on to part 5 of our 90-part series— assuming the roster does not change before we are complete— which will break down each player of the Steelers current 90-man roster in alphabetical order. This series will encompass many aspects of each players game and their current role with the team. At the end, I’ll give some projected stats as well as their chances to make the 53-man roster.

Today we’re featuring the most eligible tackle in the NFL:

Zach Banner

Position: OT
Height: 6’ 8”
Weight: 360 lbs
College: Southern California
Draft: 4th round, 137 overall in 2017 (Indianapolis)

2019 stats

14 Games played
1 Start

Contract remaining

Expires in 2020

$1,750,000 salary cap number (0.87% of total cap)
$0 dead money
$1,750,000 cap savings if cut

Likelihood of making the roster

Lock. Banner isn't going anywhere, in fact he’s going to be entrenched in one of the more interesting position battles of training camp. Not to mention Banner is one of the most beloved members on the Steelers roster, public outcry would be far-reaching if he were cut. Whether he’s the starting tackle or continues at swing tackle I fully believe Banner will be a member of the Steelers 2020 roster.

2020 projection

With the additions of guards Stefen Wisniewski and Kevin Dotson, it feels less likely Matt Feiler will slide into the guard spot which, in-turn, could open up a spot for Banner to start. The most likely scenario appears to be Wisniewski sliding around the interior line depending on injury, Chukwuma Okorafor being the primary tackle back-up and Banner playing the slide tackle.

Projected stats:

14 games played
2 starts
1 target
1 reception
35 yards (Completely wide open and untouched)

Summary

Zach Banner will hear cheers ring out not only when he’s being announced as eligible on the field, but when Ben Roethlisberger dumps off a pass to him in the flat and then rumbles for a big gain. I can’t be the only one who thinks this is an inevitably! Banner will also continue his growth as an NFL player, whether or not he gets the opportunity to start for the Steelers in 2020, he will get the opportunity in 2021 either in Pittsburgh or elsewhere.

Previously Highlighted

Ola Adeniyi
Marcus Allen
Tyson Alualu
Trajan Bandy

Mason Rudolph is helpless to restore his reputation

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 05/29/2020 - 9:25am
Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

The Steelers reserve quarterback wants to prove his worth to those questioning his talent and character, but a shadow will continue to linger

Here's a question for the BTSC community: How do you prove something that never happened actually never happened? It is impossible to prove, or disprove for that matter, any action which never transpired. Therein lies the problem.

If no evidence is required to make an accusation, and there is no consequences for making a false accusation, then what is keeping any individual from utilizing a false claim for their own benefit or to save their own hide? Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph has been impacted by this very scenario.

Let me offer a little back story to clarify the statement. I was enjoying a little playful banter with some friends and acquaintances on social media the other day. As it is prone to do, the conversation turned into some good-natured ribbing concerning our favorite NFL teams. Fun for all, till the tone of the discussion took a sudden turn. I fully accept responsibility for my part in the debacle. I broke my own rule. I was joking around with the husband of an old friend of mine, a individual I don't know personally, who happens to be a Ravens fan.

He made some disparaging comments about the city of Pittsburgh and the Steelers fanbase. He then took offence when I said a raven was basically a flying rat, which made it the perfect mascot for the city of Baltimore and their vermin problem. He resorted to childish name calling, and making accusations about former and current Steelers players. Nary a conviction in any of incidents he mentioned, but that didn't seem to matter in his mind. Needless to say, I had no reason to suffer that foolishness and the conversation ended. I am a grown man and I will stick to adult conversations.

That whole situation got me thinking about Mason Rudolph. Last season Rudolph was involved in the most dramatic incident of the NFL season, "The Helmet Swing heard around the World". It was one of the most shocking displays of violence ever perpetrated on a NFL field, in front of a national television audience no less.

The incident, along with the national outrage, suspensions, and fines, has been well documented. I would like to focus for a moment on the accusation made by Browns DE Myles Garrett claiming a racial slur allegedly made by Rudolph instigated the whole incident. Without the benefit of any evidence, Rudolph is adamant it never happened, both parties are left to be found guilty, or not guilty, in the court of public opinion.

This scenario works out far better for Garrett than it does Rudolph. Garrett's despicable actions were obvious and not in question. The accusation of a racial slur undoubtedly provided Garrett with some semblance of justification in the minds of some fans. Mission accomplished.

For Rudolph, the accusation is far more damaging. Without an avenue to prove his innocence, he is forever labeled a racist in the minds of so many. It seems to make perfect sense actually, why else would a star player lose all self control and try to use a helmet as a deadly weapon? Rudolph is left powerless to defend himself against the disparaging remark concerning his character.

These kind of unsubstantiated accusations affect a player's reputation and earning potential. If you are a general manager or head coach, do you want to entrust your team's success, and possibly your own career, in the hands of an accused racist? What if you are looking for an advertising spokesperson for your business or product? I don't know about you, but I would simply pass on any potential drama or negative publicity.

One thing I learned from the otherwise useless conversation mentioned earlier is this article: Guilty or not, the damage has been done. It is truly a shame.

A way-too-early look at the 2021 NFL Draft: Quarterbacks

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 05/29/2020 - 7:45am
Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images

Which signal-callers could be donning the black and gold next year? Let’s look at the top quarterbacks Steeler fans should be watching this college football season.

I know what you’re probably thinking right now.

A 2021 draft primer? The season hasn’t even started yet!

Admittedly, “way too early” draft predictions are exactly what they’re titled: Way too early— and as a result, are very rarely, or perhaps never, accurate at all.

In this draft primer series, we won’t be mocking players to any teams, but rather looking at the top players at each position who could get drafted by the Steelers with their first few picks in 2021. Prospects such as Trevor Lawrence, Ja’Marr Chase, Justin Fields, and Penei Sewell, who are all expected to be gone long before where the Steelers are projected to pick in the first round, will not be included.

The goal? Not to make any “hot take” predictions, but rather to look at some players that Steelers fans might want to watch a little closer than usual this college season.

Starting off the series will be the hardest position to evaluate: quarterbacks. They are ranked in no particular order.

Trey Lance, QB #5, North Dakota State

2019 stats: 2,786 passing yards, 28 passing touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 1,100 rushing yards, 14 rushing touchdowns.

Height/Weight: 6’3”, 221 lbs.

Lance might be the biggest rising prospect since the end of the 2020 draft. The FCS superstar recorded incredible numbers his redshirt freshman year at North Dakota State, leading his team to a 16-0 season and the FCS championship. The dual-threat passer has shown just about everything you could want in a quarterback: accuracy, arm strength, athleticism, and the ability to take care of the ball.

The only knocks on Lance are his competition, as the FCS is a far-cry from the NFL level, and his lack of experience as a starter entering this season. If he can put up similar numbers this year as a redshirt sophomore, it shouldn’t effect his NFL stock at all.

Lance will have massive expectations on his shoulders this year, and if he’s consistent, especially against a much larger school in Oregon, he may be long gone before the Steelers pick. NDSU has had a history of putting out NFL quarterbacks, most recently Carson Wentz and Easton Stick.

The 2021 season will be important for Lance to prove he is not a one-trick pony. A big season in the national spotlight could cement him in the first round with a legitimate chance at being a top-5 prospect.

Some notable articles about Trey Lance:

“Tanking for TREY”? Could Trey Lance be the first overall pick in 2021? - NFL Draft Diamonds

2021 NFL Draft Prospect: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State University - NFL Draft Diamonds

Bucky Brooks: Trey Lance in Mix with Trevor Lawrence for No. 1 in 2021 NFL Draft - Bleacher Report

NDSU quarterback Trey Lance has first-round upside in 2021 - Pro Football Network

Jamie Newman, QB #12, Georgia

2019 stats: 2,868 passing yards, 26 passing touchdowns, 11 interceptions, 574 rushing yards, 6 rushing touchdowns.

Height/Weight: 6’4”, 230 lbs.

Another dual-threat quarterback with an opportunity to make the first round in 2021. Jamie Newman transferred from Wake Forest to Georgia for his final year of eligibility as Jake Fromm’s succesor.

The Draft Network describes Newman as being “built like a tank”, and he runs like one, too. Newman runs well and hard, putting up 574 rushing yards during his last season at Wake Forest, and drawing some Cam Newton comparisons due to his tough running style.

As a passer, Newman has a good arm and a fast release, with excellent pocket awareness. He doesn’t have the strongest arm you’ll ever see, but his deep ball is definitely strength.

Similarly to Trey Lance, we’ll need to see more of Jamie Newman before we can know where he’ll go in the draft. At Georgia, Newman will be surrounded by much better talent, but will also be playing on a bigger stage against better defenses. It will also be interesting to see how Newman handles the scheme change from Wake Forest to Georgia.

Newman has the physical tools to excel at Georgia and beyond, but his level of play after the change of scenery will be indicative of his future in the NFL. Newman is considered by many to be one of the top quarterbacks in this year’s class, but still has a lot to prove.

Some notable articles about Jamie Newman:

Jamie Newman Draft Profile - The Draft Network

QB expert calls Jamie Newman a blend of Jalen Hurts, Cam Newton - 247 Sports

Why the 2020 NFL Draft’s best-kept quarterback secret has first-round potential - CBS Sports

Kellen Mond, QB #11, Texas A&M

2019 stats: 2,897 passing yards, 20 passing touchdowns, 9 interceptions, 500 rushing yards, 8 rushing touchdowns.

Height/Weight: 6’3”, 217 lbs.

Mond is a good quarterback one play, and a terrible one the next. If consistency wasn’t such an issue, his name could be right next to those near the top of this year’s class. Mond’s flashes of brilliance include his excellent arm strength an athletic ability, but his accuracy remains a major question. He is aggressive to a fault at times as well, which can lead to some ill-advised throws.

As a runner, Mond certainly has the ability, and while his team didn’t incorporate many designed QB runs last year, he was still able to use his athleticism to save some broken plays.

Mond suffered what some considered to be down year in 2019, and wisely sat out the 2020 draft in hopes of raising his stock this year. If Mond can match his skill with his talent, he will be a dangerous quarterback to play against this season, and might have a successful NFL career.

Mond is currently in the second and third round conversation, but a big season would easily push him into the first round.

Some notable articles about Kellen Mond:

Is Kellen Mond a 1st Round Quarterback? - Pro Football Draft

2020 A&M spring preview: QB position is almost all about Mond - 247 Sports

Kellen Mond Draft Profile - The Draft Network

Can Sam Ehlinger and Kellen Mond be backup plans for Justin Fields next year? - Pro Football Network

Sam Ehlinger, QB #11, Texas

2019 stats: 3,663 passing yards, 32 passing touchdowns, 10 interceptions, 663 rushing yards, 7 rushing touchdowns.

Height/Weight: 6’3”, 230 lbs.

Ehlinger has quietly put together quite the career at Texas, finishing 2019 with some impressive numbers. He’s stayed rather underrated due to Texas’ moderate success, but has every chance this season to become one of the top passers in all of college football.

Ehlinger is continuing to develop as a passer, with a solid skillset and an NFL-caliber arm. He is known for his toughness and as being a good teammate, but that doesn’t mean much if he can’t succeed at the other aspects of the game. Like most college quarterbacks, he’ll have to work on his accuracy and anticipation to succeed on the next level.

Ehlinger’s mobility is one of his strengths, as he has enjoyed success as a runner and scrambler. He is a surprisingly powerful runner as well.

Ehlinger might be one of the most underrated quarterbacks to enter the draft this year. More exciting prospects like Jamie Newman have stolen much of the quarterback spotlight, but Ehlinger has remained productive and consistent during his time at Texas.

Much like Kellen Mond, Ehlinger decided to return to school and forgo the 2020 NFL Draft for an attempt at raising his draft stock. If Ehlinger continues to improve, he has a chance at sneaking into the first round this year, especially if his team can progress with him.

Some notable articles about Sam Ehlinger:

Can Sam Ehlinger and Kellen Mond be backup plans for Justin Fields next year? - Pro Football Network

Sam Ehlinger Draft Profile - The Draft Network

What the experts are saying about Sam Ehlinger in the NFL Draft - Longhorns Wire

Brock Purdy, QB #15, Iowa State

2019 stats: 3,982 passing yards, 27 passing touchdowns, 9 interceptions, 249 rushing yards, 8 rushing touchdowns.

Height/Weight: 6’1”, 210 lbs.

Athleticism is a common theme in this year’s class, and Purdy is no different. The Iowa State passer has put together a great career so far in college, and is considered to be a fringe first-round prospect entering what could be his final year. Thanks to his accuracy and athleticism combination, Purdy nearly put up four thousand passing yards last year, a difficult task for even the best of college passers.

Despite being an above-average athlete, Purdy lacks ideal NFL arm strength. However, he has enough power on his throws to be a competent NFL quarterback. Despite being undersized, Purdy has shown enough football IQ and awareness to make up for his lack of height.

Purdy still needs to prove himself in big moments— especially coming from a lesser known school in Iowa State. A Pro Football Network article highlighted some flaws in Purdy’s consistency, especially in important, close games.

Brock Purdy has the upside to be a more athletic version of Drew Brees— an accurate-yet-undersized quarterback with enough smarts to overcome arm strength limitations. Purdy is firmly in the first/early second round conversation right now for the 2021 draft, and his stock should only go up from here.

Some notable articles about Brock Purdy:

NFL mock draft: Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy a first-round pick in 2021 NFL draft? - AZ Central

2021 NFL Draft: Brock Purdy is a dark-horse top prospect - Pro Football Network

What will set Brock Purdy apart from everyone else who’s played quarterback at Iowa State? - Des Moines Register

Some other names to look out for this season include Mississippi State’s K.J. Costello, Minnesota’s Tanner Morgan, Florida’s Kyle Trask, and Nebraska’s Adrian Martinez.

Obviously, Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and Ohio State’s Justin Fields are currently the two best quarterbacks in their class, and don't look to be coming down any time soon. They will likely not be around by the time the Steelers expect to pick, but are still great prospects to study and watch.

So, will quarterback even be a factor in the Steelers’ draft plans after this season?

The short answer? We won’t know until then.

How well Ben Roethlisberger plays in 2020, combined with the possibility he could retire at the end of the season, always makes quarterback a possibility for the team.

The Steelers have shown confidence in Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges as their #2 and #3 options, but it remains to be seen if they believe in Rudolph as a full-time starter post-Big Ben, or would be more interested in drafting a successor.

With so many variables set to change between now and the actual draft, all of the names mentioned in this article and more, have a chance at being a future selection for Pittsburgh Steelers.

If a quarterback is available at the right value, in the right slot in, there’s a good chance the Steelers will pull the trigger.

Let’s just hope that pick is at #32.

The NFL’s desire to play in full stadiums this fall is a fantasy

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 05/29/2020 - 6:30am
Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images

Do you think it’s a good idea for the NFL to even be thinking about playing its games in stadiums full of fans this fall? With other leagues forging ahead with plans to play without fans amid the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, it just doesn’t make sense for the NFL to even be considering it.

Things may be getting back to normal amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that has had team sports on the Injured Reserve list since mid-March. When I say “normal,” I mean the new normal, of course. Take the NHL, a league that officially announced the end of its 2019/2020 regular season on Tuesday, a decision that paves the way for an agreed-upon 24-team Stanley Cup playoff tournament that is supposed to begin some time this summer.

That’s if the NHL deems such a tournament safe for all involved, obviously.

If hockey does resume, it will do so in designated hub cities in arenas without fans. When it comes to the no fans part of the equation, the NBA and MLB are right in-step with that idea, even if those two leagues haven’t officially worked out final plans to resume and start, respectively.

Then there’s the NFL, a league that is apparently still hopeful for stadiums full of fans when the regular season kicks off in about three and a half months.

“We are planning to have full stadiums until the medical community tells us otherwise,” said Troy Vincent while appearing on the Brian Mitchell Show on Friday in a quote courtesy of NBCSports.com. “Now remember when we’re talking— we’re talking about September, August, September,” Vincent continued. “So there’s a lot that can happen here. So we’re planning on full stadiums.”

In fairness to Vincent, the NFL’s Head of Football Operations, he did throw in a caveat in the event that the pandemic continues to dominate in time of possession: “We also know that we have to plan for half stadiums. Three-quarters. So we’re planning for all of these different scenarios. But first and foremost, we’re making every effort, working with the medical community, if we can have those stadiums with all people until they tell us otherwise when that time comes, that’s our plan. That’s our plan of action.”

I get it, the NFL has to be prepared for everything, and given that we’re still over three months away from seeing real football in action, maybe it’s a bit premature to write off the notion of full stadiums in September.

Also, there’s the matter of revenue and how much every NFL team stands to lose while playing games inside stadiums devoid of fans. For instance, the Steelers could lose roughly $156 million in total stadium revenue in 2020, according to Forbes. As for the league as a whole? About $5.5 billion.

That’s a lot of money, but is it enough to bring the league to its knees?

If playing games without fans isn’t enough to destroy the NHL— of the four major professional leagues in the United States, that’s the one that can least afford it— the NFL, the league with the mega-TV contract, will survive. Will a loss of revenue affect the players and how much they’ll be paid? In a salary cap league, one where the players get a percentage of the revenue— 47 percent in 2020— yes.

But, again, it’s not the end of the world.

What could cripple the NFL is another massive outbreak of the Coronavirus that is traced back to a stadium full of football fans. In terms of public perception, forget Spy-gate, forget the anthem controversy, this could be the PR hit which brings the league to its knees once and for all.

The most realistic plan the league should be aiming for is to play its games in stadiums which are a third-to-half full. How would it look if the NHL, NBA and MLB spent their summers playing in front of nobody, and then the NFL opened up its season with thousands of fans sitting shoulder to shoulder in stadiums all across the land?

That was a rhetorical question, because it would look bad.

If you would have asked me in March, when the pandemic first swept through the country, if we’d have stadiums full of football fans by September, I would have said yes. But now, knowing all that we do? It just doesn’t seem like a good idea.

At least the Steelers are preparing for the new normal, as the team held back 50 percent of its available single-game tickets when they went on sale last Friday.

Just my opinion, but that should be how all 32 teams operate. It’s better than not operating at all— something that could ultimately happen if the NFL gets a little too confident and comfortable over the next few months.

Podcast: The Glory of being a Steelers Fan

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 05/29/2020 - 5:30am

In the latest episode of “The Steelers Preview” show, we break down all the news you need to know surrounding the Black-and-Gold from the week that was and celebrate Jeff Hartman’s final show at BTSC.

For fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers there is a huge honor and a genuine sense of pride rooting for the Black-and-Gold. There are so many great moments over the course of the last 50 years, Join Dave Schofield, Bryan Anthony Davis and Jeff Hartman in his final BTSC podcast as they celebrate Steelers fanhood. Take a look at the rundown for the latest episode of the BTSC podcast The Steelers Preview. On this show Jeff, Dave and BAD break down all things Steelers.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • The Glory of being a Steelers fan.
  • Memorable moments in the five-year BTSC career of Jeff Hartman
  • Steelers Trivia
  • Steelers Q&A
  • and MUCH MORE!

If you haven’t heard, we have a YouTube channel, and the main reason for this is to increase the sound quality on our shows. But if you’re a visual learner you can watch the show below. Be sure to subscribe to our channel!

If you missed the live show, be sure to check out all episodes on the following platforms:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE
Spotify: CLICK HERE
Google Play: CLICK HERE

If you’re old-school and just want the audio, you can listen to it in the player below.

Black and Gold Links: The NFL tables discussion on alternative to the onside kick

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 05/29/2020 - 4:30am
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Time to check on the latest news surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers

It has been a one-of-a-kind offseason for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2020. Unable to attend most player pro days and participating in the NFL’s first virtual draft, the Steelers keep pushing forward toward a return to football activities. Just because the Steelers are unable to hold their typical OTA’s doesn’t mean we stop providing you with features, commentary and opinions to tide you over throughout the offseason!

Today in the black-and-gold links article we take a look at the NFL tabling an alternative to the onside kick which would allow the team to run one offensive play.

Let’s get to the news:

  • Facing a “4th &15” in place of an onside kick fails again

Not enough support for 4th-and-15 rule

By: Bob Labriola, Steelers.com

In Steelers President Art Rooney II’s eyes, what has come to be known as the fourth-and-15 rule was too much of a gimmick, the chance for making permanent the rule allowing pass interference to be challenged was zero, and the idea of incentivizing the Rooney Rule needs more thought.

During today’s virtual NFL Owners Meeting, there were four proposals approved, two others were tabled, and the rule allowing offensive and defensive pass interference penalties (both called and uncalled) to be challenged via instant replay review officially was put out of its misery.

“We had six items we could have voted on, and we wound up approving four of them and tabling two of them,” said Rooney. “We approved the defenseless player rule for returners. We approved the rule on limiting the pre-snap fouls that people started to play with last year (to run time off the clock). We approved the item concerning extra points being replayable. We also approved the bylaw proposal that increases the number of players who can be designated to return (from the injured reserve list) from two to three. Those were the ones we approved. There’s another designated to return proposal that got tabled, and then the one that got the most discussion was the onside kick alternative, the fourth-and-15 rule, and that also got tabled.”

Rooney admitted that there is interest in trying to do something to allow an avenue for a team that’s trailing late in a game to have a realistic chance to mount a comeback, but he doubted anything would happen in time for the 2020 season.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • The payment deadline for season ticket holders is almost here

Steelers willing to work with season ticket holders about renewal process

By: Joe Rutter, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

With the deadline to renew season tickets approaching, the Pittsburgh Steelers are working with ticket holders who are cautious about attending games because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The deadline to renew season tickets is June 1. It was pushed back from an original May 1 deadline because of concerns about the outbreak.

“We will continue to work with our fans to review our policies to make sure we provide a fan-friendly and fair policy,” Steelers spokesman Burt Lauten said. “We still encourage our fans to contact our ticket office directly so we can understand any concerns they may have as it relates to the 2020 season.”

The Steelers plan to adhere to the June 1 deadline, although the situation remains fluid while Pennsylvania goes through the three-tiered approach to reopening. Allegheny County remains in the yellow phase.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • Steelers’ players give their thoughts on playing games in empty stadiums

Steelers weigh in on potentially playing games with no fans

By: Chris Adamski, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

True to his Type-A, hyper-analytical public persona, Mike Tomlin’s first reaction to the concept of playing games without fans was void of emotion.

“The thing that I’m interested in is how it changes the game, maybe mechanically, in some ways,” Tomlin said earlier this week while speaking as a guest on John Calipari’s video podcast.

Tomlin recognizes some of the fundamental aspects of NFL play will be altered if teams are competing in empty stadiums because of concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic.

In an environment lacking ambient noise, will opponents be able to overhear a play call in his huddle?

Or discussions between coaches on the sidelines?

Will the method for audibles at the line of scrimmage need to change, if the defense (and the entire coaching staff) can hear the quarterback?

But even Tomlin, moments later, acknowledged the more intangible effect that playing in front of nothing but empty seats can have on a team and on a game.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • BTSC articles you may have missed

Breaking down he Steelers’ performance at safety to begin the 2019 season

The Steelers most underrated player going into 2020

The honorable mentions of the most prolific numbers worn by the Steelers

A look at the Steelers 2021 salary cap

How will the Steelers be represented in the NFL’s Top 100 Players?

  • Social Media Madness

Better watch out if Jack Ham is by #TBT pic.twitter.com/jNkbBTx6Is

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) May 29, 2020

A pic of a pick @RodWoodson26 | #TBT pic.twitter.com/kJglUrhcVY

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) May 28, 2020

Let's hike 6,000 feet up the side of Mount Hood they said. It'll be easy they said.

: @HMondeaux92 pic.twitter.com/VPnTlKfpDp

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) May 28, 2020

The sky is the limit ☁️ pic.twitter.com/FDQ1frerDt

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) May 28, 2020

You can probably guess which interception is @joehaden23's favorite since he arrived in Pittsburgh

Full video (via @NFLFilms) ⤵️

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) May 28, 2020

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