Polamalu: Overrated?


by John Cihon 

After watching Pittsburgh Steelers superstar Troy Polamalu run around last week like a headless chicken, I think it’s time to look past the hype, the hair, and the Jesus stuff. Troy was hurt most of last season, and failed to create the impact he had made in his first couple seasons. This year, a lot of the fans I’ve talked to have overlooked his disappointing play, due to the successes the defense has had so far this year. But make no mistake, he has been disappointing this year, recording a middling fourteen solo tackles, with zero sacks and zero interceptions as of week seven. Not completely embarrassing, but far below the impact the perennial Pro-Bowler and member of the Steelers all-time team should have.

Troy failed to make a big play through most of the Broncos game, and when he finally did, he made it by tackling a Bronco by the head, stopping the run but garnering a big penalty in the process. Troy seemed to be going for the big play, but he was out of position and left a hole in the middle of the field that the Broncos exploited to help put together a win over a team that by rights they shouldn’t have been able to beat. And that’s been the story with his play all season-going for the big play, but mostly being out of position. It’s no accident that the Steelers’ best game defensively this year was the game against Seattle when Troy was out, as well as Casey Hampton. The backups did a great job of not messing up, staying in position, and playing for the benefit of the team, and sometimes that’s all you need to do.

Starting last season, it seems like Steelers coaching staff started to believe the hype about their flyin’ Hawaiian, decided to quit coaching him and just allow him to do as he wished on the field. I hardly want to take away from Troy’s obvious talent and the success he had in his first three seasons as a Steelers, but if he would pull back and try to play more fundamentally sound football, the big plays would come naturally.