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View Full Version : Troy Polamalu - Most Impactful Defensive Player in Steelers History


BlastFurnace
11-12-2009, 12:29 PM
I have watched Steelers football since 1975 and I have seen the injury bug hit Joe Greene, Rod Woodson, Jack Lambert, etc. To be fair, some players hardly ever missed games to measure there loss...such as Ham, Shell, etc, but I am strictly going on some players that did miss time and we didn't see a significant dropoff.

When Joe Greene had a bad back before Super Bowl X against Dallas, Steve Furness stepped in and the defense didn't miss a beat. We sacked Staubach 9 times that day.

When Woodson went out with a torn ACL in 1995, we moved Lake to Corner, put Myron Bell at safety, and the defense carried on.

Casey Hampton missed games, Hoke steps in and not much changes.

If any given loss in a season comes close to Troy's impact, it was when we lost Lambert in 1984 to that toe injury and perhaps Aaron Smith in 2007.

When we lose Troy, the defenses performance does not fall down a notch...it falls down several notches. Let's face it, Troy has missed his share of games due to injury since he has been here, and we have all seen the results. Remember the defense before Troy became a regular in 2004.....other than 2001, it wasn't that good. I'll never forget what New England and Oakland did to us the first 2 games of the 2002 season. Troy begins to start in 2004...and the defensive comes alive again. This year...it's the same thing when Troy is not in there.

Regardless of the defensive hall of famers we have had over the years, Troy's presence on the field seems to be the most impactful of all the great players we have ever had.

Edman
11-12-2009, 12:52 PM
Without a doubt, the most invaluable player on the Defense, and the best safety in the game. The Steelers have done a better job filling up Aaron's spot this year than in 2007, but the D definately missed Troy.

His speed, skillset and prescence cannot be matched. Troy's prescence alone lets the Front 7 play loose.

fansince'76
11-12-2009, 12:53 PM
I see where you're coming from, but to be fair, guys like Mean Joe played in an era absent of free agency (and outrageous salaries and no salary cap). Hell, we had 3rd stringers back in the '70s who would have been starters on many other teams. Our team was truly stacked in those days - even on the bench.

The_WARDen
11-12-2009, 02:08 PM
I don't know.. Mean Joe Greene changed the whole mindset/attitude of the Steelers.

I've read interviews by different players on that team saying that he despised the losing ways so much that he played on the edge and brought that swagger and intimidation to the defense that was never there before.

Of course, several years later Lambert helped reinforce that physicality.

SteelC7
11-12-2009, 02:25 PM
hes a hell of a player, and our defense misses him badly whenever hes out, i thought that the problems would stay even when he came back cuz they were pretty bad problems, but i gotta eat my words cuz he really has turned it all around

BlastFurnace
11-12-2009, 02:26 PM
I see where you're coming from, but to be fair, guys like Mean Joe played in an era absent of free agency (and outrageous salaries and no salary cap). Hell, we had 3rd stringers back in the '70s who would have been starters on many other teams. Our team was truly stacked in those days - even on the bench.

That is true. Furness could have started for a lot of other teams back in the 70's. We also had Gary Dunn and John Banaszak as reserves on the 1976 team.

I remember we let our 1975 1st Round pick ...Dave Brown (CB)... go in the expansion draft and he ended up playing 15 great years in the NFL for Seattle and Green Bay. I could not imagine the Steelers of today putting their previous years 1st Round pick available for an expansion draft.

4xSBChamps
11-12-2009, 02:29 PM
I have watched Steelers football since 1975...

...Troy's presence on the field seems to be the most impactful of all the great players we have ever had...

I've been watchin' 'em Stillers since 1968 (pre-Noll), and with no-disrespect to Greene, Lambert (or any of the MANY great players on those teams), Woodson, etc., I have been thinking this way in recent years.

Greene's arrival said 'teams aren't going to push us around anymore, not as-long-as I'm here', and Lambert was the mirror-image book-end to Greene ('we've got each-other's back..... let's fight 'em ALL!'), but Polamalu seems capable of single-handedly making plays, and turning games around, in many different ways:
smacking ball-carriers for no-gain, pass-coverage, taking-on interference & making the tackle, intercepting passes and his return ability, blitzing, open-field hitting, or even faking blitzes, causing teams to audible into plays they'd rather not run.

I'd hate to have-to choose the difference between Greene/Lambert of 30 years ago, and Polamalu today, and who is the 'more impactful' player to each era's defense:
(if Lambert had come to the team 2 seasons earlier, I believe they would've beaten Miami on 31 December 1972)
the Stillers are fortunate to have had so-many great defenders that this can even be debated!

:helmet:

Rick5895
11-12-2009, 03:10 PM
This is an impressive statement. I have been a Steelers fan since the early 70's and I must say troy is one of the most dynamic players we have had. But without Joe Greene, I don't believe we would have won any super bowls back in the 70's, therefore we may not have any. Greene gave us the swagger, intensity and the down right nastiness we needed to turn around the franchise from a defensive standpoint. Troy is great but "Mean" Joe was the cornerstone of the franchise. Drafting him and having him on the team started it all.

tube517
11-12-2009, 03:53 PM
Well, I'll say this. Troy is probably the greatest ATHLETE in Steelers history.

But Mean Joe was the most important football player, period, in franchise history. No doubt. His impact was to the whole franchise and even the city.

Plus they had some great bench/role players on the 70's teams. Look at the secondary alone of the 70's teams. Mel Blount, JT Thomas, Glen Edwards, Mike Wagner, Donnie Shell.

Troy does a lot of things that none of those guys could do so it's a good question.


I have watched Steelers football since 1975 and I have seen the injury bug hit Joe Greene, Rod Woodson, Jack Lambert, etc. To be fair, some players hardly ever missed games to measure there loss...such as Ham, Shell, etc, but I am strictly going on some players that did miss time and we didn't see a significant dropoff.

When Joe Greene had a bad back before Super Bowl X against Dallas, Steve Furness stepped in and the defense didn't miss a beat. We sacked Staubach 9 times that day.

When Woodson went out with a torn ACL in 1995, we moved Lake to Corner, put Myron Bell at safety, and the defense carried on.

Casey Hampton missed games, Hoke steps in and not much changes.

If any given loss in a season comes close to Troy's impact, it was when we lost Lambert in 1984 to that toe injury and perhaps Aaron Smith in 2007.

When we lose Troy, the defenses performance does not fall down a notch...it falls down several notches. Let's face it, Troy has missed his share of games due to injury since he has been here, and we have all seen the results. Remember the defense before Troy became a regular in 2004.....other than 2001, it wasn't that good. I'll never forget what New England and Oakland did to us the first 2 games of the 2002 season. Troy begins to start in 2004...and the defensive comes alive again. This year...it's the same thing when Troy is not in there.

Regardless of the defensive hall of famers we have had over the years, Troy's presence on the field seems to be the most impactful of all the great players we have ever had.

STEEL-MAN
11-12-2009, 04:08 PM
We have great players all over this team, for Troy to stand out like he does is amazing!

Vis
11-12-2009, 04:14 PM
The impact comes from the uniqueness. He has a skill set that allows a defensive scheme that can't exist without him. The D of the 70s changed the way the game was played. Rules were changed. That won't happen with Troy because no one else can do what he does.

SteelerEmpire
11-12-2009, 04:45 PM
Troy has these abilities over Green and Lambert:

1) Speed. Pretty obvious over Green and Lambert.
2) Can play the secondary better. With the # of picks Troy has, combined with his speed.
3)Troy normally goes "around" a blocker, with minimal contact, to make a tackle on the ball carrier. Advantage Troy.

Both Green and Lambert would go "through" blockers and get their man. Advantage Green and Lambert.

I would say ALL of their tackling abilities are about even.

Knowledge of the game of Defense is ultra high among all of them.

Intimidation factor: When any of them were on the field, it changes the opposing teams offensive strategy "substantially ", and not just a little bit.

I would submit that Troy is slightly better, pound for pound, than Green and Lambert because of his Speed (In all sports, speed kills) and his ability to play both the secondary and line assignments just as effectively....

Steelboy84
11-12-2009, 04:48 PM
Well on his way to the Hall of Fame.

AllD
11-12-2009, 04:48 PM
I see where you're coming from, but to be fair, guys like Mean Joe played in an era absent of free agency (and outrageous salaries and no salary cap). Hell, we had 3rd stringers back in the '70s who would have been starters on many other teams. Our team was truly stacked in those days - even on the bench.



Without a doubt, nobody will ever exceed the impact Joe Greene had with the Steelers and I am a huge fan of Troy's.

#43 is definitely a HOF play maker, but he was already on a built franchaise. He may be more cerebral than #75, but Mean Joe is the finest Steeler of all time. Joe also has a better commercial.

BlastFurnace
11-12-2009, 06:24 PM
Without a doubt, nobody will ever exceed the impact Joe Greene had with the Steelers and I am a huge fan of Troy's.

#43 is definitely a HOF play maker, but he was already on a built franchaise. He may be more cerebral than #75, but Mean Joe is the finest Steeler of all time. Joe also has a better commercial.

I believe that Joe made more of an impact on and off the field, but I guess I was just looking at on-field play more than anything.

When Troy is missing, his absence is clearly seen...almost to the point where the other team has way more success to do what they set out to do. I only saw Joe play from 1975 through his retirement...and although I do believe he is the greatest DT in league history, I never thought that when he missed a game that it would completely change the effectiveness of the defense.