Yesterday’s LaMarr Woodley post really got me in a Steelers’ mind frame. Plus, with the Pirates being, well, the Pirates, I’ve decided to turn my attention to a team with more recent runs of success. Also, this picture of Troy Polamalu is awesome. I was right next to the giant Steelers’ flag that is waving in the back-left of this picture. Troy crowd-surfing was the coolest thing that happened at that kickass parade.
Anyway, as I was checking in on the local sports news updates, I found a cool article by Ron Cook of the Post-Gazette. With a new coach, Cook states, great players need to step up and perform. Troy Polamalu is clearly one of our best players. And by “one of our,” I mean “our.” Polamalu understands the importance of a coaching change. He adjusted to a change in his USC days.
Polamalu said, “I think it’s good that things are shaken up a little. Everybody’s got to work to establish themselves again. … There’s always apprehension when there’s change. I went through it at USC when coach [Pete] Carroll came in. All of us were unsure about what was going to happen. That turned out pretty well.”
Understatement of the century. The guy is 65-12 at USC. He’s 4-2 in bowl games, and only one of those games was not a BCS bowl game. His record in BCS bowl games is 4-1. He’s won 2 National Championships, one which was shared with LSU. Vince Young played a huge part in Carroll missing out on his 3rd Championship. He’s also won 5 consecutive PAC-10 Conference Championships. Its safe to say that the guy knows how to perform on a large scale.
The change from Paul Hackett to Pete Carroll worked out well. Hackett held a 19-18 record at USC (Hmm…the Steelers were forced into a coaching change after a .500 record, too). I’m not saying that the NFL and NCAA are one in the same. Just look at Carroll’s NFL record of 33-31. All this means is that change needs to happen occasionally, and Polamalu is a player who epitomizes success during coaching changes. Tomlin will not enjoy success as he gradually installs a 4-3 defense if Polamalu is in another uniform. After all, Polamalu has helped redefine the role of the safety in the NFL.
Polamalu is the anti-Faneca when it comes to contract negotiations. As a quiet man who puts his trust in God first and foremost, Polamalu would not be the one to come out and blatently say, “This will be my last year as a Pittsburgh Steeler.” In order for Tomlin to enjoy success like Pete Carroll did at USC, he needs playmakers. Troy Polamalu is a playmaker. Its arguable that Polamalu is needed just as much as a healthy Ben Roethlisberger is needed for the Steelers to return to pre-2006 form.
The Rooneys are going to have to open their wallets big time to keep Troy. Like Faneca, he’s in the last year of his contract. Unlike Faneca, however, there is no other option.