Troy Polamalu: 5 Plays That Changed Pittsburgh Steelers History

Joe Tordy@@joetordyAnalyst IJanuary 30, 2013

Troy Polamalu: 5 Plays That Changed Pittsburgh Steelers History

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    Troy Polamalu has been one of the best safeties the NFL has ever known, and he has treated Steeler Nation to innumerable thrills since he joined the team in 2003.

    Polamalu’s impact has always been timely, as well as spectacular.

    Let’s take a look at some of the best of the best from the Tazmanian Devil.

Honorable Mention: "Pick" Versus Colts in 2005

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    If this play had counted, it absolutely would have earned a high place on this list.  However, a dubious ruling relegates this play to honorable mention status.

    Troy Polamalu seemed to pick off quarterback Peyton Manning in the 2005 AFC Divisional round, which would have conceivably put the game out of the Indianapolis Colts' reach.  However, upon further review, this outstanding play was ruled an incomplete pass.

    Because of the skill involved and the potential impact on the game, this play merits an honorable mention.

5. Interception Return Versus Bengals in 2010

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    Pittsburgh Steelers fans will remember this one as a bittersweet moment because on this play Troy Polamalu tweaked his calf to the point where he wasn’t fully healthy for the latter part of the year.

    That aside, this play was spectacular.  Polamalu snagged a pass intended for Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Terrell Owens and took it 45 yards the other way for the score.

    If only he hadn’t suffered the injury, this play would be a talking point for Steelers fans for years to come.

4. One Handed Interception Versus Titans in 2009

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    In the 2009 season opener, this effort by Troy Polamalu had Steeler Nation jumping out of their seats.

    It looked like Polamalu might have let Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt get open behind him for a big play.

    However, the Pittsburgh safety had other plans, rocketing skyward, snaring the incoming pass with one hand, and returning it out to the 20 yard line.

3. Strip Sack Versus Ravens in 2010

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    This one makes the cut because of the size of the stage and the rivals on the other side of the ball. 

    At the time, the Pittsburgh Steelers trailed the Baltimore Ravens 10-6 with less than three minutes and 30 seconds left in the contest.

    The Steelers needed a big play, and Troy Polamalu was up to the challenge.

2. Diving Interception Versus Chargers in 2008

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    This play was just absolutely ridiculous.  The focus, coordination, and effort put forth on this play was nothing short of spectacular.

    Troy Polamalu found the few millimeters of daylight underneath this tipped Philip Rivers pass and scooped it up.

    He then had the presence of mind to roll over and take it the other way.

    This was a brilliant play by any measure, even Polamalu's.

1. Leaping Over Line Versus Titans in 2010

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    Troy Polamalu has always shown amazing football instincts—he seems like he knows what is going to happen on the field before it plays out.

    Nowhere was this more apparent than when he famously dove over the line during a goal line stand against the Tennessee Titans.  He timed the snap count perfectly and soared over the offensive linemen for the tackle in the backfield.

    This play sums up Polamalu’s career in a nutshell—it was instinctive, wildly athletic and unpredictable.