Troy Polamalu named NFL Defensive Player of the Year
With a total of 17 votes, Pittsburgh Steelers’ strong safety Troy Polamalu has been named The Associated Press’ Defensive Player of the Year for the 2010 season. Just two votes behind him was Green Bay Packers’ linebacker Clay Matthews and both will try
their hardest to get something more valuable than the Defensive Player of the Year award on Sunday: the Lombardi Trophy.
Even though Polamalu missed two games, in which the Steelers won once and lost once, he becomes the sixth Steeler to win the award by receiving the most votes from a panel of 50 judges, consisting of various NFL analysts across the country. The tiebreaker
between Matthews and Polamalu was probably Polamalu’s tackle that forced a fumble in a late season win over the Baltimore Ravens. He made the leaping tackle over the line of scrimmage to tackle the quarterback, knocking the ball out of his hands, and set the
Steelers up for the winning touchdown which gave them the AFC North crown and clinched a playoff spot for them. Ed Reed and Haloti Ngata of the Ravens each received one vote.
Polamalu had been his usual destructive self this season, keeping up with his reputation as one of the biggest playmakers in the NFL. He started in all 14 of his games this season, making a total of 63 tackles and one sack during the regular season. He blocked
11 passes and had 7 interceptions for 101 yards, the longest of which was returned 45 yards for a touchdown.
Now Polamalu will have his chance at his third Super Bowl win in six years.
“I don’t imagine their game plan changing over one player,” Polamalu said. “We don’t single out anybody. Anything we achieve here is done as a team, as a whole.”
Steelers’ linebacker James Harrison was third in the voting for Defensive Player of the Year and had eight votes. He won the award two years ago and had only nice things to say about Polamalu, saying, “Troy brings this defense from a ‘C’ defense to an ‘A’
defense. He’s someone that you have to account for in the secondary.”
One of his opponents even called the six time Pro Bowler the best player in the NFL, no matter what position. The New York Jets’ wide receiver, Santonio Holmes, said: “With all due respect, I honestly think Troy Polamalu is probably the greatest player I’ve
ever played with or even seen play in person. Everybody has their one person they think is the greatest player. In my eyes, I think he’s the greatest player I’ve ever played with.”
Holmes had been the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player (MVP) with the Steelers when they won the 2009 Super Bowl over the Arizona Cardinals.
Polamalu has had better seasons than the 2010 season but none had bigger plays than this one. He had 91 tackles and three sacks when the Steelers won the Super Bowl in 2005 and had 73 tackles in the 2008 season. This year, he has had the most interception
return yards of his career, the previous high being 59 from seven interceptions in 2008.
Even Steelers’ defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau calls Polamalu “the most versatile defensive back I have ever coached.” And LeBeau has seen some great defensive backs, seeing as he is a Hall of Famer and has been in the NFL for about 50 years now.
“I know Troy is going to do the right things,” LeBeau said.
Even though the Packers won Super Bowl XLV against the Steelers, Polamalu and Matthews are still both trying to become the top sellers as far as marketing goes with both shaggy defenders trying to decide whose hair is more popular.
“Well, I can guarantee you my hair’s more expensive,” Polamalu said