Troy Polamalu: Is Pittsburgh Steelers Safety Past His Prime?
Troy Polamalu Was Powerless to Stop Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV
Shortly before Super Bowl XLV between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers kicked off, your humble narrator saw fit to pen a short little article that questioned whether or not Steelers safety and 2010 Defensive Player of the Year Troy Polamalu was going to be the most important player on the field at Cowboys Stadium.
My reasoning for posing the question is because somebody on the Pittsburgh defense was going to have to step it up in order to contain Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Needless to say, this didn't happen, as Rodgers passed for over 300 yards and three touchdowns, and was named the Super Bowl MVP.
Polamalu is not directly responsible for this, of course, as you can assign blame up and down the Steelers roster, particularly on Ben Roethlisberger and Rashard Mendenhall for combining for three turnovers that led to 21 Green Bay points.
Nonetheless, Rodgers did not shy away from going right at Polamalu, namely on his two touchdown passes to Greg Jennings. Jennings caught both balls with Polamalu in the picture, and it was apparent in the replays that Polamalu just plain got beat by superior players.
Am I suggesting that Polamalu is finished, that one subpar game indicates that he is well past his prime?
No sir. That's a bit much. Polamalu has been one of the best safeties in the game since the Steelers drafted him out of USC in 2003, and this year's Defensive Player of the Year honor was well-deserved.
However, Polamalu is going to be 30-years-old when the 2011 season rolls around (if it rolls around, that is), and you don't need me to tell you that this is a dangerous age for football players, especially those who play a more physical game than others.
Now, Polamalu still has enough smarts to perform at an elite level. But still, there's no escaping that nagging notion that his career may have reached its peak.
I suppose we shall see. I for one still think Polamalu is a Hall of Famer, so I suppose this is all academic.
For more on the Steelers, check out our list of 10 Reasons To Be Optimistic About Their Future.
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