Long-time NFL scribe Dave Goldberg recently pointed out that he had received a P.R. e-mail pushing Steelers safety Troy Polamalu for the NFL’s defensive player of the year award. At first, I didn’t know whether to feel left out because I didn’t get the same e-mail, or whether to feel relieved by the knowledge of one less e-mail filling up the box.
I should have settled for relief.
The e-mail came last night, from Ying Lee of Marina Maher Communications, Inc. in New York. As it turns out, the push originates not from Polamalu’s personal team of agents or P.R. people, but from the folks who make the product that Polamalu has been pushing for the last two seasons.
“With 2010 winding down,” Lee writes, “my Head & Shoulders team took a little time to reflect on the top five plays this season by our mane man, Troy Polamalu. As players are being considered for Defensive Player of the Year, below is the perfect summary of why Troy is such a game changer: from his super hero interceptions, Herculean sacks and not to mention his $1 million insured hair.”
The e-mail sent to us was actually personalized a bit, with a link to our Thursday night item pointing out that Polamalu’s absence from two of 16 regular-season games necessarily hurts his candidacy.
The message then points to five separate plays that Polamalu made this year, include a Week Two effort against the Titans “where his hair must have felt the anticipation when against TEN, Troy perfectly timed a leaping tackle.”
It remains to be seen whether the P.R. push helps or hurts Polamalu. As Goldberg pointed out, such efforts tend to cause him to downgrade the player on whose behalf they are made.
And that’s the most important thing to remember. Even though Polamalu didn’t personally send the plea for votes, it’s occurring on his behalf, and thus it’s necessarily coming from him.
Should it matter when it’s time for the 50 AP voters to cast their ballot for defensive player of the year? No. Will it potentially have an impact? Who knows?
We still think the bigger problem is Polamalu’s absence for at least two games. Along with the fact that some of the votes that may have gone to him will instead be given to teammate James Harrison.
We don’t have a vote for the AP postseason awards, which many mistakenly believe to be officially sanctioned by the NFL. Top candidates include Polamalu, Harrison, Bears defensive end Julius Peppers, Dolphins linebacker Cameron Wake, Packers linebacker Clay Matthews, Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo, and Falcons defensive end John Abraham.
Wake is the current sack leader with 14.0. Matthews has 12.5 and Abraham has 12.0. Mayo leads the league with 164 tackles. Peppers has been a disruptive force for a rejuvenated Bears defense, with 8.0 sacks, three forced fumbles, and two interceptions.