For the second time in three seasons, a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers has won the coveted AP Defensive Player of the Year award. It should come as a shock to no one that Troy Polamalu has finally added that honor to his already Hall of Fame worthy resume. The only question was by what margin would he emerge victorious?
Don’t get me wrong, there are a number of good players out there. But nobody is capable of taking over a game the way Troy does. Polamalu was almost single-handedly responsible for the Steelers winning at least three games this season. His interception in the season opener allowed the team to eventually win in overtime. Against the Bengals, his Pick Six completely changed the momentum of the game. And who can forget his karate chop on Joe Flacco in week 13, setting up the game-winning touchdown? That play was undoubtedly the biggest play of the season, setting up the monumental run the Black and Gold currently find themselves on.
Clay Matthews is a decent enough player. But his numbers aren’t even as good as James Harrison‘s (who finished third, by the way). Silverback had almost twice as many tackles (100 vs 60), twice as many picks (2 vs 1) and forced three times as many fumbles (6 vs 2). In fact, LaMarr Woodley, who got no votes, had numbers that were nearly identical to the Cheesehead Fabio. The Steelers failure to sweep at least the top two spots is a direct result of the Ginger Dictator’s persecution of the Steelers which unfairly branded James as a dirty player. Had the commish not been so blatant in his campaign against the Black and Gold, Dick LeBeau‘s defense could’ve been looking at an unprecedented showing.
However, we’ll have to be satisfied with what we did get. Troy Polamalu is a Christian gentleman of the highest order and his winning this award despite missing a number of games due to injury is testament to his heart and will to succeed. The last time the Steelers had an AP Defensive Player of the Year, he only pulled off the greatest defensive play in Super Bowl history. Let’s hope history repeats itself on Sunday in more ways than one.