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) /
10 of 11
Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh Steelers
Troy Polamalu #43 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

Steelers 1982 season, Troy Polamalu’s the last hurrah

1982 was the last hurrah for the 1970s Steelers dynasty, as it will be with Troy Polamalu. You could, if one wanted, count 1984 as the last full measure. However, most stars, including Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris, Joe Greene, Lynn Swann, had retired.

So the line is drawn at 1982.

In part, Polamalu only played 11 seasons. The game and its rules take a greater toll on him then than it did in reality, and Polamalu probably retires after 10 seasons, making 1982 his last year.

In a strike-shortened season, the Steelers only played eight games. That year, they finished 6-3, and per the special rules adopted for the 1982 playoffs, the top eight teams advanced to the playoffs. With Polamalu, the Steelers do not lose to the Browns that year and finish 7-2, and because they beat the Bengals, hold the tiebreaker and finish with a higher record.

Thus instead of playing San Diego, they get the third playoff spot and travel to face the Jets.

Here, history changes again, as Pittsburgh upends the Jets. The Jets originally beat the Bengals, who always struggle in the postseason in some capacity. That said, the Jets cannot beat the Steelers in 1982.

The Steelers then face the Raiders. With Polamalu, the Steelers win in the first round, but they have difficulty against the Raiders. Reason No. 1: Jim Plunkett. Reason No. 2: a young kid named Marcus Allen.

While the Steelers play a good game, the Raiders narrowly edge the Steelers, though. Which is sad in that if they had won, they would have probably beaten the David Woodly-led Dolphins the following week and faced Washington in the Super Bowl.