Pittsburgh Steelers: 30 greatest players in franchise history

Mandatory Credit: Stephen Dunn /Allsport
Mandatory Credit: Stephen Dunn /Allsport /
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Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh Steelers
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6. player. 55. . SS. (2003-14). Troy Polamalu

A playmaker like no other, Troy Polamalu started as one of the best and finished a future Pro Football Hall of Famer. His ability on the field was unmatched. Time after time he would do things people never thought were possible. But somehow, everyone expected him to find a way to pull them off.

The shock factor with Polamalu was strange. Whenever he jumped over the line or finger-tapped a ball into his hand, people’s jaws would drop. It was like they’ve never seen it before, but weren’t surprised at the same time.

Whenever Pittsburgh was in a hole, fans would constantly say things like “here comes Troy,” or “time for Troy to do something.”

And it always happened. Jumping over the line to sack a quarterback was normal. Blocking field goals was normal. Intercepting impossible passes or finding the running back five yards behind the line of scrimmage were just everyday things people expected out of Polamalu.

Pittsburgh has seen a number of defensive playmakers. Their history of strong defenders is far above any team in the NFL. But Polamalu may rank as the best. What he could do on a football field wasn’t thought of before him, and chances are the league will never see a player like him again.