Troy Polamalu qualified for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s next class in 2021, which means he hasn’t played for the Steelers for 20 years. He should be included in his first opportunity and do so as he becomes the first member of this century’s great defense.
Polamalu and the rest of this defense had a legacy – two Lombardi trophies on three Super Bowl trips and the NFL‘s No. 1 defense in five seasons in nine seasons from 20-22. They have been in the top five for another five seasons. But then, they all seemed to grow old together at once, almost like their great steel cartons in the ’70s defense. The Steelers defense was crushed, even by Polamalu, who was so great the Steelers allowed him to stay a year or two longer than his play should have been.
The Steelers defense fell hard and fast, ranking number one at 20 and 20 for the next four seasons: 13, 18, 21 and 12.