Polamalu has been dealing with injuries in the last few seasons, but he’s still got some life in his legs.
The virtual Troy is a beast on the Madden field, and he’s a reflection of No. 43’s pro career.
All statistics courtesy of Pro-Football Reference.
Thirty-two-year-old Troy Aumua Polamalu was born on April 19, 1981 in Garden Grove, Calif. He attended a Pac-12 (Pac-10 at the time) college football powerhouse in USC, where he returned half of his six interceptions for touchdowns and was named a consensus All-American in 2002.
The Pittsburgh Steelers made Polamalu a first-round pick in 2003 (No. 16 overall).
When right, Troy Polamalu is such a presence that he has been lauded as the best defender in the NFL. When hurt—as he was in 2012, playing just seven games—we have to seriously wonder whether anyone at his position makes the impact that we’re used to seeing from him.
Troy can show up anywhere on the field. He could be covering a deep zone on one play and dwelling in the opponent's backfield on the next—being equally disruptive in both locations.
Polamalu has started 115 of 131 career regular-season games, spanning 11 seasons. He has recorded 494 solo tackles, 160 assists, 10 sacks, 30 interceptions, eight forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries and four defensive touchdowns.
His 30 picks ranks 11th among active NFL players.
Polamalu is a seven-time Pro Bowler and was voted as a first-team All-Pro four times.
Both of Ben Roethlisberger’s Super Bowl victories (XL and XLIII) were assisted by a starting strong safety named Troy Polamalu. Polamalu recorded five total tackles in Super Bowl XL and two more in XLIII.
In total, his playoff career includes 41 solo tackles, 22 assists, 0.5 sacks, three interceptions (one pick-six) and seven pass breakups in 14 games.
Troy Polamalu’s best statistical season is hard to choose. He picked off five passes in his sophomore season and seven on two separate occasions—including 2010, during which he only played 14 games.
In 2011, Polamalu’s only 16-game season since 2008, he put together a line of 66 solo tackles, 29 assists, one sack, two interceptions, 14 pass deflections and a 16-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown. Stats still don't do his value justice, though, as he's often a player opposing offenses try to avoid.
After Troy Polamalu’s strong 2008 comapign (54 solo tackles, 19 assists, seven interceptions and 17 pass deflections) and Super Bowl celebration, he graced half of the Madden NFL 10 cover.
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald took over the other side.
Fitz kept up his 16-game, 1,000-yard season ways and scored a career-high 13 touchdowns in 2009, the year corresponding to Madden 10. The Madden curse didn’t claim him in that regard, but Troy missed a career-high 11 games in ’09.
He still managed to reel in three picks in five appearances for the Steelers, though.
Troy Polamalu is one of the more versatile safeties you’ll have at your disposal in Madden. He stands just 5’10”, but is a tremendous athlete who can cover a lot of ground.
If you’re not afraid to try your hand at defensive back, virtual Troy can be a ridiculously valuable asset for a creative defensive mind. He’s quick enough to sniff around in the box pre-snap, bail out and cover a deep zone.
With the right timing, he’s also fast enough to come shooting through the line and smoke whoever’s in the backfield from a disguised coverage pre-snap position.
Just make sure you call plays that will allow him to roam. If you’re running schemes with Polamalu manning up on someone, or any sort of zone looks that don’t have him blitzing by default, competent offensive players are going to exploit the vacancy created by an out-of-position star DB.
They might challenge you on sight; user DBs are rare in Madden. Players usually opt to control a pass-rusher in the front seven.
That’s why learning how to manage Troy—and other defensive backs—can be such a tremendous advantage to players looking to put Dick LeBeau on notice.
It feels awfully nice to run an interception back to the house just because someone decided they wanted to test you.
Jamal Collier graduated from Washington University in St. Louis and is now a law student who covers the NFL in his spare time. His work also appears on Yahoo.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @JCollierD