Polamalu won the award over Packers LB Clay Matthews. The two will meet Sunday for an award even bigger – Super Bowl XLV in Dallas. Polamalu received 17 votes Monday from a nationwide panel of 50 media members who cover the league, edging Green Bay linebacker Matthews by two votes.
Despite missing two games, in which Pittsburgh went 1-1, Polamalu became the sixth Steeler to win the award. He had seven interceptions this season along with 63 tackles, but made his mark with big plays. In a late-season victory at Baltimore, his leaping tackle forced a fumble that set up the winning touchdown.
That victory catapulted the Steelers to the AFC North title. Now, they are in the Super Bowl for the third time in six seasons, where they face Matthews and the Packers. “I don’t imagine their game plan changing over one player,” Polamalu said. “We don’t single out anybody. Anything we achieve here is done as a team, as a whole.”
Added Steelers linebacker James Harrison, who finished third in the balloting with eight votes and won the award two years ago: “Troy brings this defense from a ‘C’ defense to an ‘A’ defense. He’s someone that you have to account for in the secondary.”
‘With all due respect, I honestly think Troy Polamalu is probably the greatest player I’ve ever played with or even seen play in person,” former Steelers and now Jets receiver Santonio Holmes said the week of the AFC Title game against the Steelers. “Everybody has their one person they think is the greatest player. In my eyes, I think he’s the greatest player I’ve ever played with.”
Polamalu has had better statistical years than 2010, including the 2008 championship season and in 2005, when he had a career-high 91 tackles and three sacks as the Steelers won the title. He hasn’t had any season where he made more big plays than in 2010.