What if Troy Polamalu played for the Steelers in the 1970s?

Safety Troy Polamalu #43 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
Safety Troy Polamalu #43 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images) /
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Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh Steelers, Pro Football Hall of Fame
Troy Polamalu, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Centennial Class, right, poses with his presenter Dick LeBeau (Photo by Ron Schwane-Pool/Getty Images) /

Steelers legend Troy Polamalu probably would have been more than good enough to join those great Pittsburgh defenses of the 1970s.

In particular, perhaps two of the finest safeties to ever play in the NFL are Pittsburgh Steelers legends Donnie Shell and Troy Polamalu.

During Polamalu’s Hall of Fame induction speech, he said, “The only approval any Steeler should seek is to earn the approval of previous legends who have donned the black and gold, and if you’ve really earned their respect, they’ll say you could have played with us.”

Honestly, many old-school fans who watched Pittsburgh in the 1970s wondered how it would have fared then had they had the opportunity to add Polamalu to the defensive secondary. Thus during the Hall of Fame induction weekend, a few fans probably pondered the thought of Shell playing alongside Polamalu.

Having had the opportunity to know and talk to Frenchy Fuqua many times in past years, he was asked if Polamalu would have fit in with the 1970s Steelers?

His reply was, “in every way but the hair!”

In listening to Polamalu’s induction speech, it is fairly evident one or several of the defensive legends who played that decade may have said that to him.

So then, one wonders if Polamalu would have been a valuable asset for the 1970s Steelers.

The obvious answer is: Yes, of course.

So then, the obvious question: If Polamalu played between the 1970s and early 1980s, how much better could or would Pittsburgh be? Could the team have won more than four Championships? Could one player make a vastly huge difference?

Well, let’s take a look.