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It's the ball in the hand

Join senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Dustin from Jacksonville:
Regarding the rule about a quarterback's arm moving forward, does it distinguish which part of the arm? It looked to me like Warner's hand was moving forward and part of his forearm, but his shoulder had not started a forward motion.

Vic: The only things that matter are the hand and the ball securely in the hand. If they are not moving forward, the quarterback is not in the act of throwing the football, regardless of what his elbow, shoulder or any other part of his arm is doing. The NFL has said it reviewed the play in the booth before the ball was put into play for the kneel-down. The replay official had determined that the play was properly ruled a fumble. There were three replays that clearly showed that Kurt Warner did not have control of the ball when his hand started forward and the replay official saw no need to bring the referee over to the monitor. He had his replay communicator call the TV truck to inform them that the play was reviewed in the booth and confirmed and Al Michaels mentioned that as Pittsburgh was taking a knee.

Rob from Jacksonville:
What's the difference between last year's Steelers that got steamrolled by the Jaguars and this year's? I see the same faces but this year had a different result.

Vic: Let's start with LaMarr Woodley. In 2007, he was a rookie in a part-time role. This season, he became a star. Then go to Mike Tomlin. In 2007, he was a rookie head coach attempting to move the Steelers out of the Bill Cowher era and into the Tomlin era. People close to the team have told me that loyalties to the Cowher way died hard. Now let's go to injuries. Late in the 2007 season, the Steelers lost too many players to replace. When the Jaguars played in Pittsburgh in the playoffs, the Steelers were down to their third left tackle, and Willie Parker, Ryan Clark and Aaron Smith were gone for the season. As the postseason approached, the Steelers were a team in decline, losing four of their last five games. The Jaguars were the opposite. Late in the season, the Jaguars were a healthy team on the rise. That's the difference.

Greg from Carlsbad, CA:
Another reason why Big Ben stands out: After the coin toss, he was the only player to speak to and shake the hands of General Petraeus and the others.

Vic: I missed that and I'm glad you brought it to my attention. What a terrible mistake for the other players not to acknowledge the coin-toss dignitaries, especially Petraeus.

Kyle from Crane, TX:
Whoa, Vic. You just called Roethlisberger the best quarterback in the game. Better than Brady?

Vic: Because Tom Brady was injured and lost for the season in the season-opener, I tend to regard him as "not in the game" currently. There has been a lot of speculation that his recovery from knee surgery has been troubled and there have been concerns about his return. As soon as Brady is back under center and shows that he is fully recovered from his knee surgery, I will once again regard him as the best quarterback in the game. Given what Ben Roethlisberger has done since Brady was injured, I think he deserves to be regarded as the best quarterback in the game right now.

Todd from Beaufort, SC:
I appreciated TV showing the no cheering in the press box that you have constantly told us is a fact, but if your son was playing in the Super Bowl, would you be in the press box not cheering, or any place else so you could express your excitement for your son? I, for one, couldn't be in the press box.

Vic: I'd be in the press box. It's where I feel comfortable watching a football game. I prefer not to speak when I watch football. I like to watch.

Mason from Palm Bay, FL:
That Steelers-Titans game back in 2002 was not a case of running into the holder. The Steelers defender ran into the kicker and the kicker did a good acting job and got the call. Joe Nedney was the kicker and after the game in his postgame interview he even said that he should get a career in acting after his football career is over. Also, it seems the days of fiery coaches winning Super Bowls is over and players coaches seem to be more effective. What is the cause of that?

Vic: You're absolutely right, it was Nedney, but it doesn't matter whether it's the kicker or the holder, you can't touch either one. On players coaches, you're all wrong if, in fact, you're referring to Mike Tomlin. Tomlin is not a players' coach. In his first meeting with his players, he made it clear to them that he doesn't want to be their friend; that he is the coach and they are the players. Tomlin is very demanding of his players. He treats them with respect and affection, but they know not to get on his wrong side. Santonio Holmes is the best example. Following a traffic stop in which trace amounts of marijuana were found in Holmes' car, he was immediately suspended by Tomlin for that week's game against, I believe, the Giants. Tomlin didn't have to suspend Holmes; he did it voluntarily and Holmes was not reinstated until after he met with Tomlin and said all the right things.

Jason from Orange Park, FL:
Did the NFL revise their rules on touchdown celebrations? I remember it was announced that players were no longer allowed to orchestrate celebrations with more than one teammate, use the football as a prop, or get down on the ground. Holmes' use of the football to imitate Lebron James' pregame ritual should be a clear violation of using the football as a prop.

Vic: I'm sure it is and I'm sure he'll be fined. I don't know what you're looking for here. It happens in nearly every game. I hate it. I hate all of the look-at-me antics, but there's no stopping these guys. All you can do is fine them, but apparently today's players are willing to pay five or 10 grand for a few seconds of silliness. I wouldn't spend 50 bucks to do any of that crap, but I'm not young, rich and talented, either. You don't see Larry Fitzgerald or Troy Polamalu do that stuff, do you? They are true pros. At a time when the celebration mania was reaching epidemic proportions, Fitzgerald was the guy who started handing the football to an official following a touchdown reception when he played at Pitt. In my opinion, college football had a fantastic opportunity to celebrate and promote Fitzgerald's behavior by giving him the Heisman Trophy, which he deserved, anyhow. The Heisman will never mean as much to me again because college football snubbed Fitzgerald. Talk about homers.

Rick from Pearl Harbor, HI:
As impressed as I was by the Steelers' rally to win, I couldn't help but think Warner's fourth quarter was epic and what will forever separate Warner from the legendary Super Bowl quarterbacks is the inability of his defenses to keep the other team from scoring at crunch time. Had the Cardinals defense held, Warner would have overcome the largest points deficit to win in Super Bowl history, in addition to owning the three highest passing yardage totals in Super Bowl history. I am curious whether you think his performance on Sunday will help or hurt his HOF chances?

Vic: You've put me in a tough position because you want me to say I think he's a Hall of Fame quarterback, which means you want me to lie. I've been getting this for months and I can't help but wonder when this is going to end. I was very impressed by his performance, though let's not forget that there was a 100-yard interception return and a game-ending fumble in there, too. I love his story and I love his classy style. He's a memorable football player, and I think that's more important than anything, but I don't think he's a Hall of Fame football player. I just don't think his head belongs in the same room with Unitas', Baugh's, Graham's, Bradshaw's, Montana's, etc. That's my opinion; it doesn't have to be yours. In my opinion, it's more important to keep heads out of that room than it is to put heads in that room. Putting them in is easy to do. Keeping them out is the hard part. Tom Brady has to go in. Peyton Manning has to go in. Brett Favre has to go in. Roethlisberger is on his way in. Where does it stop? Can you honestly tell me that Warner belongs with those players?

Adam from Jacksonville:
After the Super Bowl, I saw a Hines Ward interview and he was very emotional, as he usually is; the guy always wears his emotions on his sleeve. I appreciate that. In the interview he said, "I bleed yellow and black," as he began crying and hugged the younger Rooney. My question to you is this: Do you believe any player on this team bleeds teal and black?

Vic: Yeah, I do. I think Fred Taylor feels that way. I think Maurice Jones-Drew is starting to develop some of that. Let's not forget that the Steelers have a tradition that promotes that kind of stuff. Their players have a bond with the team's fans that is a true love affair, and it promotes the kind of emotion Ward displayed. The guys I covered in the '70's felt the same way. I can remember Tony Dungy sitting on a hill outside the dormitory, talking to a couple of older women who camped out at that spot every day during training camp. I'd love to see that happen here, but it'll require more fans who bleed teal and black, too. This is the season-ticket renewal season. This is when the bleeding begins.

Israel from Green Cove Springs, FL:
Do you think James Harrison should've been ejected or should be fined for holding down the Arizona Cardinals player and punching him? I agree with John Madden. I like aggressive football, too, but wasn't that too extreme?

Vic: It was stupid. That's what it was. Had it been seen by an official, it would've resulted in a penalty, but I don't think he would've been ejected. I expect he'll be fined. I don't think he should've been ejected because it was all show-time stuff. I'm gonna get a zillion e-mails from the sissies now, and that's OK because I'll just delete them, but I've covered this game long enough to know the difference between a real punch and a wrestling punch. Harrison lost his cool. He had been held, choked and tackled all day by Mike Gandy, who turned in possibly the worst performance of any tackle in Super Bowl history, and Harrison cracked. As it turned out, it wouldn't have mattered had they ejected Harrison. At that point, the game was being turned over to Roethlisberger.

Bill from Orange Park, FL:
This may be a ridiculous question considering the risks, but I will admit that this is a thought that crossed my mind as Fitzgerald crossed the line for the touchdown. Would it have been a mistake to stop with inches to go so they could eat up some clock time while trying to pound it in?

Vic: This is the kind of stuff that drives me nuts because it has video game written all over it.

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