It’s a numbers-themed notebook today, so we’ll start off with the numbers changes on the jerseys of some of the new Steelers:
* Robert Golden will wear No. 21. The rookie safety wore the jersey in his four years at Edison High School in Fresno, Ca. When he went to Arizona, Golden sought the number but had to take No. 1, which he kept the remainder of his college career.
* Adrian Robinson will wear No. 57 because it was his only choice.
“But I’m going to make it the best number I can,” said the rookie outside linebacker. “Like 43 wasn’t always the best number until Troy started wearing it.”
Robinson was a freshman at Harrisburg High when he saw Troy Polamalu play for the first time. Robinson requested No. 43 then and wore it all the way through his senior season at Temple.
* David Paulson, the quiet and unassuming rookie tight end, will wear No. 81 and, as expected, said there’s no story behind it.
“Oh, there’s a story,” locker-room neighbor Alameda Ta’amu said with a sneaky smile. “He wants to be Terrell Owens. He’s got T.O.’s attitude.”
Paulson smiled politely and shook his head in disagreement.
* Brandon Johnson, the free agent from the Cincinnati Bengals, will wear Aaron Smith’s No. 91.
“My other option was 57,” said Johnson. “I had a 90 number in college (97), so I didn’t really want to be No. 57.”
FEATURING THE QBs
Ben Roethlisberger, entering his ninth season, has an 80-33 (.708) regular-season record as a starter, the second-best percentage among active quarterbacks with at least 10 starts. Tom Brady is first with a .780 winning percentage.
Roethlisberger ranks first in Steelers history in win percentage ahead of Terry Bradshaw (107-51, .677), but Roethlisberger is second to Bradshaw in all-time team passing yardage by 1,410 yards. Bradshaw passed for 27,989 yards in 14 seasons with the Steelers.
Roethlisberger’s counterpart tonight, 15th-year veteran Peyton Manning, has passed for 54,828 yards to rank third all-time. His next touchdown pass will be his 400th.
Manning is 141-67 as a starter for a winning percentage of .678.
The Steelers are 5-11 against the Broncos, counting playoff games, since 1985. Mike Tomlin is 1-2 against the Broncos.
The Broncos have played the Steelers just once in an opener. They beat the Steelers 14-10 in John Elway’s debut in 1983.
The Broncos, at 32-19-1, have the league’s third-best all-time opening-day winning percentage (.625). Dallas is first at .663. The Steelers are 40-33-4 (.532) on kickoff weekend.
LaMarr Woodley needs two sacks to become the eighth Steeler to reach 50 in his career.
James Harrison, with 58 sacks, needs three sacks to surpass Keith Willis (59) and Joey Porter (60) for fourth in franchise history behind Jason Gildon (77), L.C. Greenwood (73½) and Joe Greene (66).
The Broncos’ offensive line was the only unit in the league to start every game with the same five players in 2011: LT Ryan Clady, LG Zane Beadles, C J.D. Walton, RG Chris Kuper, RT Orlando Franklin.
But already there is a chink in the armor because Kuper will miss this game with a broken forearm. Manny Ramirez started the first three preseason games in his place and rookie Philip Blake started the last one.
Denver punter Britton Colquitt is the son of Craig Colquitt, who won two rings with the Steelers (1978-79).
Craig’s other son, Dustin, punts for the Kansas City Chiefs. Craig’s brother Jimmy played in NFL in 1985.
Britton Colquitt set Broncos team records for gross and net punting average last season at 47.4 and 40.2.
IF IT’S CLOSE ...
Denver kicker Matt Prater is 12 of 16 from 50+ yards. An 80.4 percent kicker, Prater is 28 of 29 in the fourth quarter or overtime after making the first 22 of his career.
* Strong safety Polamalu on playing without free safety Ryan Clark tonight: “Ryan Clark and I have played a lot together, but probably second to that, even more than Chris Hope, is Ryan Mundy, given the practice time and all those different things we’ve had together. So I don’t see it as being any discomfort out there.”
* Rashard Mendenhall when asked to assess his recovery: “I worked every day so everything to this point is the best I could’ve done.”