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lamberts-lost-tooth
10-16-2006, 06:40 AM
Steelers victory had everything, including a bizarre hair tackle
Monday, October 16, 2006

By Robert Dvorchak, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

No matter how you cut it, it was a good hair day for Troy Polamalu and the Steelers.

The free-wheeling safety was dragged down by the long locks that flow out of his helmet during an interception return that will be re-run more often than a Seinfeld episode. And who knows what the fallout would have been if the play had had a direct impact on the team's 45-7 win over the Kansas City Chiefs.

As it was, the tackle and an ensuing unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Kansas City's Larry Johnson turned out to be little more than a conversation piece and a point of levity in the locker room.

"No, it didn't hurt," Polamalu said in the aftermath. "It felt good."

He did concede that he had never been dragged down by his hair before.

"No, but if I got the ball in my hands, they can tackle me all day like that," Polamalu said. "We had a lot of fun out there."

For the record, any part of a player's hair that extends from the helmet is considered part of the uniform and is fair game for a tackler. It's known as the Ricky Williams rule for the running back who favored dreadlocks as his hairstyle. The NFL has instituted a new rule that prevents tacklers from collaring a ball carrier from behind, but that may be splitting hairs.

Although Johnson held onto Polamalu's hair and looked as though he twisted it when Polamalu bounced back up, he later explained that he tried to let go but his fingers got stuck. He thought the penalty was called because he hit defensive back Ike Taylor in an aftermath that could be described as a hairy moment.

Listen In


Postgame commentary on Chiefs RB Larry Johnson's "hairy" tackle of Steelers' safety Troy Polamalu:
Troy Polamalu
Has he ever been 'hair tackled' before?
Bill Cowher
"It's not hard to do with Troy's hair ..."

"I mean, the dude had hair. What do you want me to do?" Johnson said. "They said that hair is part of the uniform the last time I checked. When I grabbed him, that's the only thing I could get my hands on. It's not like I was trying to jerk him down...If you know anybody who has long hair, you take your hand and run it through somebody's head, it's going to get stuck, and that's what happened. Trying to get my hands out of it was the hard part."

So now everybody knows the shaggy look is not the work of extensions.

Long regarded as the best safety in football by coach Bill Cowher, Polamalu is like a human highlight reel for the way he flits all over the field, running with the speed of a cornerback and hitting with the ferocity of a linebacker to disrupt offenses. Although teammates have nicknamed him The Tasmanian Devil for his appearance and his play, he could also be called The Mane Man in the Steelers secondary. Hey, Samson performed better with long hair too.

The 'do isn't for show, though. His grandparents hail from the island village of Tau, which is part of American Samoa. The long hair is a symbol of his heritage and the Samoan warrior tradition.

If the interception did anything, it showed football fans that Polamula is recovered from a shoulder injury that hampered him during a three-game losing streak.

"He played like a warrior. You can see what happens when he's healthy," said defensive lineman Brett Keisel. "That's one of the risks you take if you grow your hair out. I try to keep my jersey as tight as it can be .... But that's who Troy is. He's got that warrior mentality. It kind of fits the part with his mop. He is incredible."

The play happened during the third quarter after the Chiefs had recovered a fumble. Quarterback Duane Huard's pass was deflected, and Polamalu stepped in to pick it off. He ran to his right and was speeding down the sideline when Johnson caught him from behind. Everybody went down in a whirling furball of tangled bodies.

"Someone did a great job of tipping the ball, and I was just blessed to be in the right spot at the right time," said Polamalu, whose ferocity on the field stands in stark contrast to the soft-spoken demeanor he has off it.

He didn't mind the manner of being hauled down at all.

"It really doesn't matter to me. He can tackle me by my hair or my ankles. It doesn't matter. I understand the nature of the game. A lot of things like that can happen," he said.

Some words were exchanged on the sideline when the opposing players tangled. But Steelers defenders understood what Johnson did.

"He said [the hair] got caught in his fingers, and he apologized," said linebacker Larry Foote. "If I was Larry Johnson, I would have grabbed for the hair, too. It's either grab the hair or give him the touchdown, one or the other, so you have to grab him."

Mid-October is rarely a time for intense scoreboard watching. But the defending Super Bowl champs benefited from losses by Cincinnati and Baltimore earlier yesterday afternoon, making their situation much brighter than it was going in. Plus, one of the folksier cliches in football is that winning is the best deodorant.

"Obviously, we have our backs to the wall still. It's not like we haven't been there before. We'll just keep on working hard, as we have been," Polamalu said. "We played really good football, but we haven't played a whole game. There were times our defense slowed down a little bit [yesterday], which we can't allow to happen. So there's a lot left for us to work on."

When asked if he would be getting a haircut today, Polamalu chuckled softly.

"I lost half of it already," he said.

stillers4me
10-16-2006, 06:44 AM
I just love that guy........a real classy player.

I still think that tackling by pulling the hair is the equivilent of fighting like a girl. Play football like a man, you fool!

james203
10-16-2006, 07:29 AM
im surprised the nfl allows long hair.baseball,basketball,hockey & soccer does not permit long hair.

touchdownward
10-16-2006, 08:15 AM
im surprised the nfl allows long hair.baseball,basketball,hockey & soccer does not permit long hair.

There are people with long hair that have played in all of those sports.
Baseball-Bronson Arroyo
basketball- Ben Wallace
hockey- who cares :wink02:
soccer- Alexis Lalas sp?

floodcitygirl
10-16-2006, 08:52 AM
I agree that Troy is incredible. As far as Johnson's fingers getting tangled....BS!!!! If they were tangled then why was his hand in a clenched fist position as he was twisting and dragging him???????

You da man, Troy!!! :tt02:

The JoKeR
10-16-2006, 08:58 AM
While it's said to be legal to tackle a player by the hair, I still do not see how it isn't considered to be a horse collar tackle. I mean you're doing the same thing by pulling a player down by the hair as you would be if you grabbed him by the back of the collar ...

HometownGal
10-16-2006, 09:03 AM
I watched an interview with Troy on Fedko's post game show last night and Troy said if he had been Johnson, he would have done the same thing. At first, I felt Johnson was flagrantly holding on to Troy's hair, but after listening to Troy and my belief that LJ is a classy player overall, I understand it.

BigJen
10-16-2006, 11:02 AM
I agree with the league rule on the hair.

Btrice
10-16-2006, 11:42 AM
Some enterprising shampoo company will get Troy to do a commercial for them after that I'm sure.

sumo
10-16-2006, 01:13 PM
I agree with the league rule on the hair.

your signature picture is the coolest one on the forum

touchdownward
10-16-2006, 02:09 PM
your signature picture is the coolest one on the forum

I thought of it being more in line for just in time for Halloween.
:jawdrop:

james203
10-17-2006, 03:49 PM
I thought of it being more in line for just in time for Halloween.
:jawdrop:

speaking of halloween.you know when its halloween cause all the stores have the christmas stuff out.sad....very sad.

RoethlisBURGHer
10-17-2006, 07:53 PM
im surprised the nfl allows long hair.baseball,basketball,hockey & soccer does not permit long hair.

Wrong!All those sports permit long hair,but for most men the style is short hair.

The New York Yankees owner requires that all of his players have short hair and no beards,but mustaces are allowed.

Joe Girardi,a MLB manager,requires all of his players to have short hair and no facial hair whatsoever.

Jason Giambi used to have long hair before signing with the Yankees.There is a SI cover with his long hair covering his face and showing his tattoos,something forbidden by the team he now plays for.

touchdownward
10-17-2006, 08:31 PM
speaking of halloween.you know when its halloween cause all the stores have the christmas stuff out.sad....very sad.

So true James, just the other day I was in Walmart and they had Christmas and Halloween on opposite aisles.
An inflatible witch and a goblin were scaring the shide out of Santa. :yep:

BirdKC
10-17-2006, 08:39 PM
Troy is the type of guy all NFL players should try to be like. Real classy. It could have been easy for him to flip out and bash LJ. Polamalu obviously doesn't care about making a scene and trying to get attention. The guy just loves playing football and understands what risks are involved with his hair while playing football.

He looked great in that game, too.

Too bad the chiefs sucked.

MattsMe
10-17-2006, 09:12 PM
I agree that Troy is incredible. As far as Johnson's fingers getting tangled....BS!!!! If they were tangled then why was his hand in a clenched fist position as he was twisting and dragging him???????

You da man, Troy!!! :tt02:

I was thinking the same thing. I'll have to see it again to be sure, but I thought when he was pulling Troy back up by the hair his hand was still clenched in a fist. That doesn't look like someone trying to let go to me.

herewegosteelers
10-17-2006, 09:53 PM
Long hair is not the issue. They understand that it can get pulled during a tackle. But for him to pull him up with it was so Jerry Springer. :fro:

polamalufan43
10-17-2006, 10:11 PM
First of all. When I saw Troy running down the field with the ball I was jumping up and down like a maniac. Then when he was tackled I started screaming so much that my throat's still alittle sore. A few things came into my mind...
1. What man in their right mind tackles a dude like that?
2. Larry Johson's an idiot
3. That had to hurt
4. The fact when he was getting pulled up, that I never realized how long Troy's hair really is

Anyway... Larry Johnson said that when he tried to pull his hand out of Troy's hair, it got stuck,(I'll laugh to see what person in the 'Burgh believed that one:blah: ) and made it look like he pulled Troy up by the hair... when really Troy sort of jumped up and got up himself. But, what happened was Ike Taylor came over and ruffed Larry up a bit and that's what got Larry a penalty.
Regarding the hair rule, I think they have something right and wrong with it...
For one, its because if anyone has long hair and 250+ pound guys are going after you, chances are your gonna get scalped.
But, it's the safety issues. If you get pulled hard enough ny the hair(I know from experience) you can come pretty close to breaking your neck

Well, that's my words of the day...
~Polamalufan43:tt02:

Preacher
10-17-2006, 10:12 PM
I can understand the rule. The hair is part of the body and thus it is the same as grabbing and dragging down a person by a foot or arm. Moreover... It is the players own choice to keep it that way or not.

I actually heard someone talking about it a couple years ago and wondered when this was going to happen.

You know troy had a sore head the last couple of days!

tony hipchest
10-18-2006, 02:32 PM
heres lj's take on the penalty. (im thinking he doesnt like ike taylor too much. lol)

Ever make a tackle like that before?

I have in Buffalo, but – I mean the dude had hair, what do you want me to do? They said that the hair is a part of the uniform last time I checked. When I grabbed him, that's the only thing I could get my hands on was to grab and pull him down. Now, everything after words… If you know anybody who has long hair, you take your hand and run it through somebody's head, It is going to get stuck, and that's what happened. It wasn't not like I'm trying to jerk him around after I made the tackle, because I wasn't disappointed. I made the tackle, tried to get up and my hand was full of his hair. And I tried to get it out of his hair. Then it was real cute that Ike Taylor came over and tried to defend his boy, when that wasn't what was going on.

Why did you get penalized?

If I got penalized, I hope I got penalized for hitting Ike Taylor in the face twice and not for pulling Troy's hair. Troy is a good player and he's a good guy off the field, and that's not something I'm doing. Like I said, I grabbed a handful of his hair. That's the last thing I remember grabbing, and trying to get my hands out of it was the hard part.

HometownGal
10-18-2006, 02:48 PM
heres lj's take on the penalty. (im thinking he doesnt like ike taylor too much. lol)

Seems to me that Mr. 29 All Purpose Yards was the one getting pummeled.

I'm actually shocked that LJ behaved in this manner. He's always come across to me as a classy kind of guy who loves playing football. :hunch:

Btrice
10-18-2006, 02:55 PM
2. Larry Johson's an idiot


I used to travel in the same circle as Larry and Tony when I was at Penn State, neither of them were exactly splitting atoms.

polamalufan43
10-18-2006, 04:34 PM
Well, I just thought that you would have to be pretty dumb to pull someone down by the hair. Of course, if LJ didn't, Troy probably would have taken it to the house, but that still seemed pretty stupid to pull him down by the hair.

~Polamalufan43:tt02:

sumo
10-18-2006, 05:04 PM
speaking of halloween.you know when its halloween cause all the stores have the christmas stuff out.sad....very sad.

no kidding -- Thanksgiving gets majorly dissed every year too -- when it's the greatest holiday of the year -- lots of football, lots of food, lots of little kids running around -- this country has it's priorities messed up --:banging: Xmas has become one big huge commerical thing

sumo
10-18-2006, 05:08 PM
I agree with the league rule on the hair.

you have to start posting a lot so we can see that signature more .....beautiful!!!