So much for those earlier reports that Clay Matthews of Green Bay won the 2010 AP Defensive Player of the Year Award. In actuality, that award will be headed to Pittsburgh, as it was really won by Steeler safety/shampoo pitchman Troy Polamalu.
Polamalu received 17 votes from a nationwide panel of 50 media members, topping Matthews by two votes. Steeler LB James Harrison finished third in the balloting with nine votes, giving the team two of the top three defenders in the league in 2010. Others getting votes included Chicago's Julius Peppers (6) and Brian Urlacher (2), and Baltimore's Ed Reed and Haloti Ngata, with 1 each. So that means the league's top seven defensive players hailed from just four teams.
Despite missing two games in 2010, this was a season of firsts for #43, garnering his first Steeler team MVP award and first DPOY honor. He tied a career high with seven interceptions, scored one touchdown, and factored into numerous game-changing/season-changing plays. And off the field, he took his marketability and popularity to new levels, boasting the league's top-selling jersey (for men and women) and appearing in a comprehensive multimedia ad campaign for Head and Shoulders shampoo. Yeah, he sure has come a long way from being labeled a thug by YouTube uploaders in his college days, as illustrated in this video with 3 million views that I just saw for the first time yesterday.