By Justin Brisson > Sophomore > Journalism > University of Missouri, Photo by Andy Mcee
Troy Polamalu is the most valuable defensive player in the NFL, but he wasn’t the player of the year.
I was rather surprised to learn yesterday that Polamalu won the Associated Press 2010 NFL Defensive Player of the Year award. As ESPN’s Adam Schefter said, it’s somewhat of a lifetime achievement award for Polamalu considering he’s never won the award before. He’s
been one of the best players at any position for a handful of seasons now. But the last time I checked, the DPOY award isn’t a lifetime achievement award
Sure, Polamalu deserves the honor, but not at the expense of guys who had better years for their respective teams. Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews and Chicago Bears defensive end Julius Peppers were the best defensive players in 2010. While most people would have voted for Matthews, it is my understanding that if NFL players gave out the award, they would have selected Peppers. Matthews definitely had the better year statistically, but the players will tell you that Peppers impacted the game immensely even when he wasn’t picking up good numbers.
Also, why was there no love for Miami Dolphins linebacker Cameron Wake? I don’t care if he’s a household name or not, this guy played with just as much of a mean streak as anybody in 2010. Did you see Wake play this season? He dominated even some of the best offensive lines in the league, notching one sack against New England in Week 4 and two against the Jets in Week 14. I’m not implying that he should’ve won the award, but zero votes? Come on, man!
So why vote Polamalu as the DPOY? I would call Polamalu the defensive MVP, but that is not what the award represents. I suppose this is a philosophical question on how awards should be looked at when voting. But if you asked me, Matthews deserved the nod instead of Polamalu, and I’m pretty positive he’s going to use that as even more motivation for the Super Bowl. Matthews doesn’t need any more motivation, but he just keeps getting disrespected. I would hate to try to block him on Sunday — he’s probably going to be thirsty for blood.