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Player of the year push for Polamalu begins

Troy Polamalu

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.

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45 Responses to “Player of the year push for Polamalu begins”
  1. natelan says: Dec 25, 2010 8:11 AM

    Put me down for Peppers.

  2. Steeler's Will says: Dec 25, 2010 8:18 AM

    LOVE having Troy on my team. Troy is a great playmaker, WHEN HEALTHY, but he’s unfortunately earned the title of “oft injured”.

    I would not vote for Troy for DPOY, there are better candidates.

  3. mswravens says: Dec 25, 2010 8:18 AM

    It’s hard to say when you don’t get to see all these guys play every game…but it sure seems to me that either Peppers or Matthews should win the award. For all the typical Urlacher hype, Peppers is the reason that defense has returned to championship form. And in the games I’ve seen, Matthews has been a beast. Polamalu has an incredible knack for making a huge play just when the Steelers need it most, and that is no small feat. The guy is incredible…but I’ve also watched Steeler games this year when his name hasn’t been called & that one huge play seemed to be the only play he made. Believe me, I’m not criticzing the guy. He’s awesome. But my vote would be Peppers…every time I see him play I can’t help but imagine just how great my Ravens would be had they signed him!

  4. domeunit says: Dec 25, 2010 8:33 AM

    If Polamalu wins it will be as big a mistake as when Urlackluster won. He’s had a good year but not DPOY worthy. Wake and Matthews are having better years

  5. redguy12588 says: Dec 25, 2010 8:38 AM

    If you’ve ever spent any time with Troy, you’d know that he doesn’t care about DPOY, if he ever won it, he’d give all the credit to Mr. Lebeau.

  6. jimmylions says: Dec 25, 2010 8:42 AM

    Harrison has my vote.

    For the hair award, Polamalu’s might lose to Brian Urlacher.

  7. steeltownpride says: Dec 25, 2010 8:46 AM

    Put me down for Harrison

  8. myspaceyourface says: Dec 25, 2010 8:55 AM

    James Harrison

  9. myspaceyourface says: Dec 25, 2010 8:56 AM

    James Harrison IS held held on every single play. . .

    He would have scary stats if the officials had a set of Christmas bulbs.

  10. geezohman says: Dec 25, 2010 9:01 AM

    I think Pola for DPOY, hows that !

    It would be nice to see ‘data’, (I’m not into fantasy football) so how does his numbers compare to the others such as Matthews etc).

    I found him very interesting ! Outside football he spent time ‘seeking’ the meaning of life, read that article ! summary.. win the soul of your life,

    would love to have lunch with him, like Chuck Noll use to say… get on with life’s work !

  11. Bubby Brister says: Dec 25, 2010 9:05 AM

    Not saying he absolutely deserves the award… because he went about 7 weeks where he was playing somewhat average football (even though Clay Matthews has been AWOL for months now)… my only issue is the one Rosenthall keeps bringing up about not playing in the last two games.

    WhatI mean usually the award is given to a player on a quality team. These guys get sit down every year around this time to get healthy for a playoff push. What’s the difference between the Steelers resting an injured player to be cautious and fresh for the playoffs and a team with nothing to play for resting a player to be cautious for the playoffs? Does getting injured somehow make you less valuable? I would think it’s the opposite. This reasoning just makes no sense to me.

  12. descendency says: Dec 25, 2010 9:10 AM

    As a Patriots fan, I am truly impressed by Mayo, but I just don’t think it is DPOY impressed. Wilfork, while not putting up sexy numbers or sending out PR emails, has been the best defensive player on the Patriots.

    He single handedly has decided where and how teams will run on New England.

    He’s generating pass rush (which is more than most “340″ pound guys can claim).

    Polamalu isn’t that important to the Steelers, that man is Aaron Smith. I’d say TP is like Mayo, a flashy guy who puts up numbers that everyone knows yet is really the second best defender on the team.

  13. wtf2812 says: Dec 25, 2010 9:13 AM

    I don’t know who is deserving of the award. What I do know is that Peppers does not deserve it. Matthews, though, totally dominates my TV screen when Green Bay plays. So I could vote for him if I had a vote.

  14. moolah954 says: Dec 25, 2010 9:14 AM

    Not a Phin fan but Wake is a beast

  15. contract says: Dec 25, 2010 9:29 AM

    That email sounds more like a lame ad than a PR push.

  16. szhamilton says: Dec 25, 2010 9:36 AM

    Hard to argue against Harrison. Leads Peppers by 3 sacks, trails Matthews by 1.5. Has 2 picks (to Matthews’ 1 and Peppers’ 2), 7 passes batted down and 6 forced fumbles (1 for Matthews, 3 for Peppers).

    Oh, and he’ll have over 100 tackles by year’s end (94 right now). Peppers and Matthews are both in the 40s, and will probably end in the 60s.

    Some of that is the scheme he’s in, for sure, but production is production.

    He’d only lose if voters considered his fines. But then again, both Peppers and Matthews have been fined for hits this year too….

  17. dirtdawg55 says: Dec 25, 2010 9:58 AM

    Anyone pushing for Mathews knows squat about football and isn’t watching the games. A beast? Hardly. He had 8.5 of those sacks in the first five games. 4 in the nine games since. He has less than fifty tackles. He has had really only one other impact play. Good player, solid player, but not player of the year. Guys voting for him are influenced by the sack as if that’s the only defensive play a guy can make and those first five games (which really was two as he had six games in the first two games).

    Troy is a great p,ayer but he went through about a four or five game stretch where he did little. The best player, game in, game out. Harrison. A completely disruptive force every time he plays.

    And if you can even consider voting for Vick for MVP you can vote for Troy.

    What’s too bad is no one will vote for guys like Wilfork, Hampton and Ngata. These guys are the real beasts of a great defense. See a great defense and you almost always have a great nose tackle. These guys clog lanes, take on two tacklers every time and disrupt offensive line schemes to free people up to rush the QB in the first place. The collapse pockets to force guys outside the pocket. They don’t allow RBs to get to the second level. They shrink the field. Those are the guys who should get votes. Too bad the voters Re always mesmerized by the numbers (too often influenced by sacks and ints) and not the actual play.

  18. bspurloc says: Dec 25, 2010 10:14 AM

    .
    “Herculean sacks”
    this should read Herculean sack.

    Troy only has 1 sack this year.

  19. pittsburghsteelerz says: Dec 25, 2010 10:28 AM

    Troy single handily won multiple games for the Steelers… ATL, CIN & BAL Just sitting on my couch. Case closed.

  20. geauxjay says: Dec 25, 2010 10:34 AM

    I think Polamalu is great, but I also think he gets too much hype and publicity because he has pretty hair and he went to USC.

  21. mswravens says: Dec 25, 2010 10:34 AM

    @dirtdawg55 you say: “Anyone pushing for Mathews knows squat about football and isn’t watching the games. A beast? Hardly.”

    Not knowing squat about football and not watching the games are two different things. Like I said at the outset of my post, it’s hard to judge when you don’t see all the games. I live in Bmore & have seen about 3 Green Bay games, and in the games I saw, Matthews was a beast. I’ll be the first to grant you that I haven’t watched enough games to truly judge…but not willing to concede that I don’t know squat about football! And just for the record, my vote was Peppers, although I did label Matthews a beast.

    …and I don’t know how an offensive coordinator would distinguish between the two, but as a Ravens fan, if I had the choice I’d rather play the Steelers without James Harrison than without the Hair. I do watch enough Steelers games to confidently say Harrison is a beast. Anyone who questions that statement doesn’t know squat about squat. Truly a rare talent with great motor, etc…

    I just side with Peppers because of how he seems to have elevated the entire defense. Steelers have a lot of great players on D, and a scheme that has proven itself year after year, with personnel coming & going…it’s hard to say just one of those guys is a DPOY.

  22. mborz says: Dec 25, 2010 10:40 AM

    Wow, lots of great comments here. This is what this place used to be like, less namecalling and teasing and more actual football discussion.

    I have watched all of the Steelers games this year and agree with people (mswravens for one) who have said that Troy had games where his name didn’t get called much. There was a point in the year, several games into the season, where I probably would have even said he was somewhat of a disappointment.

    He had commented about it earlier in the season, saying that Timmons had taken on the role of “freelancer” in the defense and that he had less room to improvise and make splash plays because of it. He didn’t sound bitter or anything.

    I also don’t get to see enough other games to suggest who it should be. I don’t have an NFL package so I watch whatever is televised, which is a small fraction of what’s played. I think the same is true for a lot of others as well, which is why the big splash plays resonate so much – people see most of the “other” games via the highlight reels, and Troy has had several this year.

  23. bleedblue18 says: Dec 25, 2010 10:49 AM

    Cameron Wake of the Miami Dolphins has 14 Sacks, 53 Tackels and 3 forced fumbles. Not to shabby, he should definitly be considered for DPOY.

  24. pastabelly says: Dec 25, 2010 11:01 AM

    MVPs and player of year awards should go to players who actually play in the games. You cannot be valuable if you aren’t even playing. I’ll agree with Peppers but Ngotta has also been a force.

  25. scrapdawg12 says: Dec 25, 2010 11:07 AM

    How about an unknown player named Cameron Wake. He came out of nowhere. Was playing canadian football or something last year. He’s def. the defensive player of the year. People are to high on big names. Take a look at the stats that a guy has racked up for the year.

  26. mswravens says: Dec 25, 2010 11:07 AM

    Deb – know you’ll be seeing this thread. Interested to know your view…and Merry Christmas! Here’s a Christmas gift from me: you & I had a back-and-forth this pre-season about Mike Wallace. Kudos to you – you were more than right. The guy is impressive!

    I’m saying all these nice things about Steelers…I musta hit the egg nog too hard last night!

  27. dolfan34 says: Dec 25, 2010 11:08 AM

    Troy’s a great player but he’s not even close for DPOY this year. He’s missed time and there’s talk he’s going to miss the next two games. Big surprise that the Steeler fans would be on here chirping for their boy.

    I think the award is between Matthews and Wake but I also think McCourty in New England has done a nice job too. I would have said Matthews whould win but he’s disappeared a bit over the last few games. I’ll be called a homer but right now for my money it’s Cam Wake by a nose.

  28. skurdzzz says: Dec 25, 2010 11:37 AM

    he is a great player, but the defensive player of the year is king kong suh. he has single handedly turned the lions from a joke into a team on the rise and is in on every single play, no injuries. dpoty, droty.

  29. miamiron says: Dec 25, 2010 11:42 AM

    dirtdawg55 says: Dec 25, 2010 9:58 AM
    said
    What’s too bad is no one will vote for guys like Wilfork, Hampton and Ngata. These guys are the real beasts of a great defense.
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    Wilfork and New England a great defense?

    15 TH VERSUS THE RUN AND 30TH VERSUS THE PASS…Just say NO to EGG NOG BEFORE YOU END UP AT BETTY FORD

  30. nickster2k says: Dec 25, 2010 11:48 AM

    The Steelers win with defense (unfortunately their OC is completely incompetent) and their defense is one of the best in the league.

    Polamalu is their best defensive player this year (with Harrison a close second) and has made more big, game-changing plays than any other player in the league.

    Polamalu should be a shoe-in for the award. If it goes to a one-dimensional player (Wake) on a mediocre team, that would be a travesty.

  31. geezohman says: Dec 25, 2010 12:00 PM

    wow, i like the data posted by ‘szhamilton:

    picks-Harrison
    forced fumbles-Harrison
    Tackles-Harrison

    and why not make ‘fines’ a good category too ! lol

    like Tim the Tool Man always says: o00uggghhh more Power!

  32. mborz says: Dec 25, 2010 12:03 PM

    @pastabelly: I take a bit of an issue with your exaggerated “actually playing in games” and “hardly on the field” comments.

    I don’t think Polamalu deserves DPOY, but not because of games missed. I could see if he missed half the season, but we’re talking 3 games at most, and 2 of them occurring after they clinched a playoff spot.

    How that automatically disqualifies someone is a little beyond me.

    This award should be judged by overall impact to their team. Period. If someone can have more of an impact in 10 games than someone can in 16, the guy with 10 shouldn’t be penalized just because he missed games.

    Again, I’m not lobbying for Polamalu here, just against your logic.

  33. chowderhead12 says: Dec 25, 2010 12:15 PM

    troy sucks every team has a good safety. you can not name one team in the nfl that has a bad safety. troy is above average but as for DPOY give me a brake. mayo should be considered and also mccurity

  34. paulieorkid says: Dec 25, 2010 12:18 PM

    A number of elite players make splash plays, but Troy Polamalu’s are astonishingly unique — in the history of the game. He is one-of-a-kind.

    (some of his) Assets: lightning quick; instinctive beyond belief; loves violent contact and is exceptional at dropping the hammer; great hands and concentration; superb at going to the house on turnovers, often using his acceleration to peel back across the pursuit – while expertly setting up his convoy of blockers; …….

    (some of his) Liabilities: gambles, but is it a liability if he’s right most of the time; plays hurt, perhaps to a fault (still a plus in some ways); gets hurt a lot due to the way he throws his body around at larger people (again, a plus in some ways); …..

    (some of his) Intangibles: profoundly respected throughout the league by friend and foe alike, players – coaches – fans; the inspiration, creativity and immediate understanding for some of his splash plays is incredible; a team leader on a team of strong personalities despite being soft-spoken (not too many of those around); ……

    Lots more in all 3 categories, but the scent of the Applewood-Smoked bacon is wafting through the house, so gotta cut this short and bail.

    Harrison is my DPOY for many reasons, Troy is second and probably Clay Matthews third. Matthews was shredding at a few stretches during the season but invisible in other spots. If he could have just avoided the periods of dormancy, Matthews would be higher.

  35. skurdzzz says: Dec 25, 2010 1:47 PM

    SUH.

  36. blitzburg10 says: Dec 25, 2010 2:03 PM

    All of the guys mentioned here are all worthy and having good years…but James Harrisons year is being overlooked because of his fines and the fact that “he hits too hard”…boo hoo!!!

    The guy is unblockable,he is strangled and tackled by big tackles every single week….he is so strong,so quick and has so much leverage with his shorter stature,he cannot be blocked,,,legally!!!

    If they called a third of the holding penalties against him…his numbers would be complely off the charts….Tight ends and backs he destroys,tackles he just overpowers…To top it off he runs with backs,tightends,and on occasion even wide receivers in Lebeau’s schemes….He does it all,and this year is every bit as good as 2 years ago when he was defensive player of the year..

  37. chargerssuperhero says: Dec 25, 2010 2:07 PM

    How about SHAUN PHILLIPS from San Diego?? He’s got double digit sacks, and has been their playmaker all season on the #1 ranked Defense. #1 against the pass, and a top 5 against the run !!! He’s made plays all over the field having a great statistical season !!! I can’t even believe he was not even mentioned in the article among other players. Typical PFT article.

  38. reverseapachemaster says: Dec 25, 2010 2:28 PM

    I am a Steelers fan and I like Polamalu just fine. I don’t think he is a legitimate candidate for DPOY though. He basically has an Ed Reed type stat line (6 picks and a whole lotta nothing else.) If he had stayed healthy all year he probably would have garnered serious consideration (although I’d disagree) because he did make several highlight reel plays, but he was awfully quiet through the middle of the year against some good teams. I think Harrison is a better choice, at least from the Steelers. Timmons (again, as far as Steelers players go) had some impressive stats through the first part of the season too but he has quieted down lately. Keisel should get it on the basis of his dominant beard display alone.

  39. tbssic says: Dec 25, 2010 2:30 PM

    Harrison inna walk…………..

  40. damnskins703 says: Dec 25, 2010 3:48 PM

    Clay Mathews is dpoy for sure the man deserves it

  41. johntonioholmes says: Dec 25, 2010 4:23 PM

    Keisel’s Beard for DPOY.

    That beard is more aggressive than James Harrison.

  42. somesome says: Dec 25, 2010 4:51 PM

    I love Troy and would love to have him on my team – no question, Fact is this the 5th season of his 8 in the NFL that he is missing games due to injury. Also this year 1 sack and 6 INTs. You have to be on the field to be an impact player. IMHO certainly not defensive player of the year.

    Most sacks:
    C. Wake 14.5

    Most tackles:
    J. Mayo 164

    Most INTs:
    A. Samuels 7

    But I also have to agree that the defensive lineman who control and move the line hardly get recognized.

  43. pigspigspigspigs says: Dec 25, 2010 5:02 PM

    Troy makes a lot of plays that are not counted in the stat sheets. He is as big of a part of the steelers historic run defense as big snack hampton himself. Whenever the offense lines up with all of the run fits that are created troy realizes it is going to be a run and reacts to it by crushing that run fit. He plays on the line of scrimmage and blows up linemen and fullbacks. None of these plays are counted although the play usually results in negative yardage. He plays deep and breaks up passes. He plays in the flats stopping screens and pitches. He plays over the middle stopping intermediate routes. He plays well everywhere.

    But for my money dpoy is James Harrison. He is an unstoppable force . I couldnt have said it better myself “if it goes to a 1 trick pony (wake) on a mediocre team it will be a travesty.

  44. dutchmaster91 says: Dec 25, 2010 6:28 PM

    Phins fan here. While Wake probably doesn’t win it and while there are probably more deserving players, the guy is an absolute beast. He pretty much gets held every play, and when he isn’t he is either sacking the QB or hitting him. He’s also very good at sealing the edge on runs. He deserves strong consideration for DPOY.

  45. Deb says: Dec 26, 2010 1:13 PM

    @mswravens …

    A belated Merry Christmas to you, too!! Enjoy that egg nog LOL

    So funny–had these discussions with my brother last night about Wallace and Troy. He said no one could have seen how Wallace would develop as a receiver. Told him I just had a sixth sense about it LOL

    We were also discussing the team stats when Troy is in the lineup vs. out of the lineup. It’s difficult to argue that any player has more impact on his team than Polamalu. It would be a tough call for me between Troy and Harrison. When you consider my brother’s logic about the numbers, Troy should get serious consideration despite missing 2, possibly 3, games. I think Vick missed four but that doesn’t seem to curb the talk about him being league MVP.

    Also, stats don’t tell the full story. It’s not just about how many sacks and INTs you have, but how teams have to game-plan around Troy and what his presence frees his teammates to do.

    Either Harrison or Polamalu would be a great choice, but I’m afraid they might split the vote. And I’d hate to see it go to Matthews by default.

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