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Tag:Troy Polamalu
Posted on: October 21, 2011 6:10 pm
 

NFL makes yet another disappointing decision

T. Polamalu was fined $10,000 for using a cell phone on the sideline (US Presswire).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Sometimes, the NFL makes so little sense when it comes to its discipline, it’s enough to make you scream. Or give you a mind-bending headache.

After declining to discipline Lions coach Jim Schwartz and 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh for Handshake-Gate (though I much prefer Schwarbaugh-Gate) -- I repeat, for their near-brawl, they were fined exactly zero dollars and zero cents -- the league made a disappointing, yet predictable decision to fine Steelers safety Troy Polamalu for using a cell phone on the sideline of last Sunday’s game.

The reason Polamalu used the cell phone in the first place was because he had suffered a concussion and was calling his wife to tell her he was OK. But the NFL deemed it necessary to fine him $10,000 for the action, making it the world’s most expensive phone call* of the last week.

*I assume this is true, anyway.

Earlier in the week, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin tried to plead on Polamalu’s behalf, saying, “He's had a history of concussion-like symptoms and so forth in the past. She was concerned. In this era of player safety, you would think that common sense would prevail in regards to some of those things. It wasn't a personal call. He wasn't checking on his bank account. He was talking to his wife to let her know that he was fine, and that was it."

Instead, the NFL decided to discipline him twice as heavily as Clay Matthews for his shoe selection and 10,000 times more heavy than Schwartz and Harbaugh**.

**I realize if Schwartz and Harbaugh had been fined $1, the above would have been an accurate statement. As it is, I know you can’t divide anything by zero. But just go with me here.

It’s a shame and it’s unfortunate and … well, I’m fresh out of adjectives. It just kind of sucks.

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Posted on: October 18, 2011 9:01 pm
 

Tomlin: NFL shouldn't fine Polamalu for cell use

Will Polamalu face punishment for using cell phone? (AP)
Posted by Ryan Wilson

Other than beating the Jaguars Sunday, the big news for the Steelers was that Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu had to leave the game with concussion-like symptoms following a Maurice Jones-Drew tackle. The good news is that Polamalu is fine and should play against the Cardinals this week.

“[Troy] appears to be good to go,” Mike Tomlin said Tuesday at his news conference. “He did a concussion test, and he passed it. He met with our neurosurgeon [Dr. Joseph Maroon], and he’s very comfortable where he is.”

The bad news is that Polamalu may face a fine from the league for … using a cell phone from the Steelers' bench. The NFL prohibits players and coaches from using cell phones on the sidelines during games, presumably because Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez would order takeout (and, obviously, Rex Ryan would have the requisite snack requests -- naughty language alert).

But Polamalu wasn't on the horn for anything untoward -- he was calling his wife, Theodora, to let her know he was okay. Tomlin was asked if he thought the league might fine the Steelers safety anyway.

"He's had a history of concussion-like symptoms and so forth in the past. She was concerned. In this era of player safety, you would think that common sense would prevail in regards to some of those things," Tomlin said. "It wasn't a personal call. He wasn't checking on his bank account. He was talking to his wife to let her know that he was fine, and that was it."

As PFT.com points out, the NFL has a history of meting out heavy fines to players and coaches who break this particular rule. During the 2005 season, then-Falcons head coach Jim Mora was fined $25,000 for using a cell phone during the team's overtime loss to the Bucs.

Then there's the guy probably most responsible for the current no-phone sideline situation: former Saints wideout Joe Horn. Back in 2003, he got the bright idea to hide a cell phone in the goal post padding, which led to this spectacle.

As for Polamalu, we'd like to think that Tomlin's right -- common sense will prevail. But if the league's haphazard policy for punishing players is any guide, Polamalu can expect anything from no fine to a four-game suspension.

Because if NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is anything, he's unpredictable.

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Posted on: October 7, 2011 2:32 pm
 

VIDEO: Polamalu scaring people in wax museum

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

If you’ve ever visited a wax museum, isn’t one of your biggest fears while walking around inside that one of the figures will come to life and attack you? Like, Bela Lugosi, dressed as Dracula, will try to suck your blood or Michael Jackson suddenly will spring to life and moonwalk across the room?

But what if it was a football player who looks like he could eat you for lunch? What if it was Troy Polamalu?

That’s what some lucky people got to experience recently when Troy Polamalu visited Madame Tussauds. And if you want to know what it might feel like for a wax figure to come to life and scare the bejesus out of you, the people in the video below give you a pretty indication.



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Posted on: October 5, 2011 5:20 pm
Edited on: October 5, 2011 11:39 pm
 

Aaron Rodgers has NFL's most popular jersey

One more thing Rodgers is the best at: moving merchandise. (US PRESSWIRE)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Well, this certainly won't make Brett Favre happy: Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, in addition to having all of his good fortune gifted to him by his predecessor's hard work, is also leading NFL jersey sales.

The latest numbers were released Wednesday and it's just more evidence that Rodgers is at the top of his game. He's fresh off Super Bowl MVP honors and is currently in charge of the league's most efficient offense (highlighted by his performance last week against the Broncos: 29 of 38 for 408 yards, four touchdown passes, two touchdown runs and -- to steal our own material -- the inevitably awesome championship belt end-zone routine).

According to NFLShop.com (via CNBC's Darren Rovell), Tom Brady and Michael Vick were Nos. 2 and 3 on the list, followed by Troy Polamalu (who was first at the end of the 2010 regular season), Clay Matthews, Drew Brees, and three Cowboys -- Tony Romo, Miles Austin and Jason Witten -- rounding out the top 10.

Noticeably absent? Tim Tebow.

Rovell explains: "Lack of seeing playing time hurt two notable players. In the offseason, Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow was in the top 10 of jersey sales at No. 10. As Tebow hasn't played, he has slipped dramatically. He fell on Wednesday's list, based on sales from April 1 to Sept. 30, to No. 24. Peyton Manning, who hasn't taken a snap for the Colts this year, fell from 9th to 13th.

"Other players that saw a notable dropoff were Pittsburgh Steelers. Ben Roethlisberger, Rashard Mendenhall and Mike Wallace were in the Top 25 in the offseason, but didn't make the list this year. Hines Ward dropped from No. 8 to No. 25. Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan, who was at No. 24 in the offseason, also dropped off the list."

The only rookie to make the top 25? Panthers savior Cam Newton, whose jersey outsold Philip Rivers'.

To recap: in addition to NFL quarterbackin', ironically awesome facial hair, keepin' it real, and selling insurance, Rodgers can also move merchandise like nobody's business.

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Posted on: October 5, 2011 2:37 pm
Edited on: October 6, 2011 4:52 pm
 

Film Room: Steelers vs. Titans preview

Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit


The Tennessee Titans are off to a 3-1 start under first-time head coach Mike Munchak. Are they for real? The Titans have had the good fortune of facing the Jaguars, Broncos and Browns this season – all teams that run a bland 4-3 and suffer from a dire lack of weapons in the passing game. The Titans did, however, defeat a Ravens team that humiliated the Steelers in Week 1.

Which brings us to the next question: how are the Steelers right now? They’re 2-2 but have looked hardly “Steeler-like”. Ben Roethlisberger (sprained foot) is expected to play Sunday, but James Harrison (fractured orbital bone) is out. How serious of a test do the Steelers pose to this minimally tested Titans club?


Here are five keys of the matchup.

Run powers struggling
1. Titans run offense
The natural assumption is that Chris Johnson held out for virtually all of training camp and has therefore been rusty early in the season. An examination of the film reveals that ... this is exactly the case.

Johnson has not shown his usual initial quickness or burst out of the backfield. He’s had a tendency to stop his feet at the first sign of trouble, which is why he’s not creating his own space. These issues were apparent even in his 101-yard performance against the Browns last week.

The fourth-year running back is not the lone culprit for Tennessee’s anemic ground game. Interior linemen Eugene Amano, Leroy Harris and Jake Scott have been inconsistent at times, and right tackle David Stewart seems to have lost a bit of the power that once backed-up his nastiness.

Also, fullback Quinn Johnson is no Ahmard Hall. Hall’s return from suspension this week will be most welcomed – he has great feel and recognition in this Titans offense.

2. Steelers run defense
It ranks 22nd and has looked downright feeble in both losses this season (Week 1 at Baltimore, Week 4 at Houston). The Ravens and Texans both feature a stretch zone rushing attack, which the Steelers have been uncharacteristically poor at defending. James Harrison, coming off back surgery, has not played with the same physicality as past years.

He’s out this game; replacement Lawrence Timmons has superb athleticism but, as a run defender, he’s better equipped for his customary inside position, where he can chase down ball-carriers in either direction. This week, Timmons will have to be an edge-setting outside ‘backer, and against arguably the game’s steadiest left tackle in Michael Roos.

There’s too much history of success to think the Steelers run defense will continue to struggle (though the film through four weeks has often supported the wide-held notion that the Steelers are getting old fast). They have the ultimate X-factor in Troy Polamalu, but the real key to turning things around is at defensive end.

The Steelers’ secret to success is that they’ve always had incredibly active ends who can create chaos in the trenches and allow the linebackers to play downhill. But those ends – Aaron Smith and Brett Keisel, who’s been out the past two weeks with a strained PCL – along with stalwart nose tackle Casey Hampton are also well into their thirties.

Creating big plays: natural vs. manufactured
3. Steelers passing offense (natural)
The Steelers are a pass-first team. It’s been that way for several years now. And it will remain that way as long as Mike Wallace is around. The third-year sensation is the most lethal big-play receiving threat in the game today. He’s DeSean Jackson only with a longer stride.

The Steelers have done an excellent job of designing their route combinations around Wallace. His lifting of the safety is often what allows Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown to get open in the 18-25-yard range. But not everything about Pittsburgh’s passing attack is done through design.

There’s a lot of natural talent driving the force. Much of the production comes from Ben Roethlisberger’s incredible ability to not only extend the play, but make accurate throws downfield off that extension (there isn’t a better off-balance, improvisational passer in all of football).

The key to stymying Big Ben’s improve is to get to him with multiple pass-rushers. It’s hard enough getting just one pass-rusher to a quarterback, but the Steelers’ offensive line is porous right now. The Texans swarmed Roethlisberger by blitzing inside, which crowded his sight lines (thus making him break down earlier than usual) and forced shaky offensive tackles Trai Essex and Marcus Gilbert to work one-on-one.

4. Titans passing offense (manufactured)
A bulk of Matt Hasselbeck’s passing yards have stemmed from big plays that were well-crafted and called against the perfect defensive look (the best of many examples: receiver Damian Williams setting a pick against Cleveland’s man coverage that left Nate Washington wide open for a 57-yard game).

These kinds of plays are fine – it’s what good coaching and preparation are all about – but they can only carry you so far. At some point, you need a threat like Mike Wallace to build around. The Titans had such a threat before Kenny Britt tore his ACL.

5. Injuries impacting outcome
If the Titans can’t find their run game, they’re in trouble. The Steelers, even without James Harrison, have a far stronger pass-rush than the Jaguars, Broncos or Browns. The Titans handled the Ravens’ potent pass-rush well in Week 2, but they were able to build their aerial attack around Britt. Britt’s replacement, Nate Washington, isn’t that type of receiver – especially against a top-tier cover corner like Ike Taylor.

Running the ball could be equally important for the Steelers. With Roethlisberger less than 100 percent and the front five hurting, Pittsburgh’s best bet might be to challenge the Titans inside. Defensive tackle Jurrell Casey has been outstanding against the run, but center Maurkice Pouncey has the technical aptitude to temper Casey’s raw power. On Pouncey’s left, guard Chris Kemoeatu is arguably the best pulling blocker in the game. The Steelers should relish opportunities to get him on finesse middle linebacker Barrett Ruud.

Of course, putting a dent in Pittsburgh’s ground game is the fact that Rashard Mendenhall left last week’s contest with a hamstring injury. Isaac Redman, the spotlight could be on you.

So who will win? Check our NFL Week 5 expert picks for all the games

Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: September 16, 2011 2:58 pm
 

Ward doesn't see how Steelers are old

WardPosted by Josh Katzowitz

While many have wondered how the Steelers will deal with some older players not performing well, especially in the wake of their four-touchdown loss to the Ravens last week, Warren Sapp had no problem giving his honest opinion.

And now that Steelers receiver Hines Ward has had a chance to respond, Ward decided he wouldn’t respond to Sapp in such harsh tones.

On Showtime’s “Inside the NFL” this week, Sapp said, “The Pittsburgh Steelers. I have three things: old, slow and it’s over. It’s just that simple. James Harrison told us that he was 70-to-75 percent. It looked more like 40 percent to me if you are looking at the ballgame I was looking at. And Hines Ward, Mercedes Sapp can cover Hines Ward right now. You have to be kidding me ... Mercedes is my 13-year-old daughter. She will cover Hines Ward in a heartbeat.

"And Troy Polamalu, Ed Dixon runs this crossing route. Troy Polamalu is trying to grab him to have a pass interference and he can’t even get close enough to grab him. [It] looked like he was dragging a wagon behind him. Touchdown Baltimore. Pittsburgh Steelers done."

Mr. Ward, your retort, please?

Ward's Getting Old?
“I don’t have a reaction to that,” Ward told 93.7 The Fan in Pittsbrugh, via sportsradiointerviews.com. "He can bring his 13-year old daughter out there and see if she can cover me if she wants to. I don’t have a reaction to that. People are always going to say something. As far as the team being old? I don’t see how the team is old. I think I am the oldest guy on the offensive side. Ben Roethlisberger is the second oldest guy on the offensive side. Defensively? You got Aaron Smith, James Farrior and Brett Keisel. We just re-signed some of our youngest guys. If you look at our team, we are not as old as people want to portray us. What does that matter anyway?

“I love Warren. He was my ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ guy before me. It’s his opinion. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and it is not going to change. There are guys older than me like Brian Dawkins. Donald Driver is older than me. Age doesn’t matter. Age is something for somebody to put out there just to make an excuse.”

Ward also realizes that he's open to criticism, and at this point in his career, he has to be used to it. Even if a former star player is the one making it.

“That’s your job,” Ward said. “That’s what makes news. Your job is to criticize and make stuff. As players we hear it, but it doesn’t validate anything. The Steelers are not going to keep me around if they do not think I am productive. We don’t just keep guys around to just keep guys around. That’s just an excuse when people start looking at the age and that stuff. If you look at our young guys…look at our wide receivers? I’m out there with second and third year guys all the time. Our whole offensive line…we are really not old up front. Rashard Mendenhall is still young and in his prime. When people say stuff like that I just laugh because when they were old one day, somebody said that about them. But now they are in a position to say that. I don’t get caught up in it.”

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Posted on: September 14, 2011 7:27 pm
 

Sapp says Steelers are 'old, slow and itís over'

Posted by Will Brinson

Tonight at 9 p.m. ET on Showtime -- one of the many wonderful properties owned by the mothership -- "Inside the NFL" will, as usual, go inside the world of professional football.

And Warren Sapp, as usual, will have a spin on things that's going to offend a few folks. In this instance, I'll go out on a limb and say the Steelers won't be loving what he has to say, as he basically leaves the Pittsburgh football dynasty for dead.

"The Pittsburgh Steelers. I have three things: old, slow and it’s over," Sapp says. "It’s just that simple. James Harrison told us that he was 70-to-75 percent. It looked more like 40 percent to me if you are looking at the ballgame I was looking at. And Hines Ward, Mercedes Sapp can cover Hines Ward right now. You have to be kidding me ... Mercedes is my 13-year-old daughter. She will cover Hines Ward in a heartbeat.

"And Troy Polamalu, Ed Dixon runs this crossing route. Troy Polamalu is trying to grab him to have a pass interference and he can’t even get close enough to grab him. [It] looked like he was dragging a wagon behind him. Touchdown Baltimore. Pittsburgh Steelers done."

Them, as we say in the South, is fightin' words. And while Sapp has a point about the problems that plauged the Steelers in Week 1 against Baltimore, I'd probably lean more towards Phil Simms' take on things.

"That’s a tremendous over-reaction to Week One," Simms says.

Look, the Steelers looked downright dreadful as Baltimore was beating them up and down the field in every aspect of the game. But lots of teams have looked bad in the first week of the season and then circulated right back around to have good seasons.

This is especially true of teams that turn the ball over seven times in the first week of the season. That's not on Harrison, that's not on Polamalu, and I'm not even sure it's really on Ward.

Most importantly, though, is the fact that just last year, this was an AFC Championship-winning team. They are most certainly older, but they are not dead just yet. In fact, if anything they're a motivated giant that might not be sleeping anymore.

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Posted on: September 10, 2011 2:50 pm
Edited on: September 10, 2011 6:51 pm
 

Steelers reward Polamalu with new deal

PolamaluPosted by Josh Katzowitz

Despite the fact CBSSports.com’s Pete Prisco continues to pick Steelers safety Troy Polamalu as the league’s most overrated player, allow Pittsburgh to disagree.

And once again, the Steelers have proved it financially, as the team announced that the two sides have agreed to a new deal (here is photographic proof!). CBSSports.com’s Mike Freeman reports that’s it’s a four-year deal and will make Polamalu one of the highest-paid defensive players in the league.

The deal isn’t a surprise. As Will Brinson told you a few days ago, the Steelers had reengaged with Polamalu in an 11th-hour attempt to sign Polamalu before the season began. And, of course, former Steelers coach/current CBS Sports analyst/future soothsayer Bill Cowher told CBSSports.com's Ryan Wilson that Polamalu would retire in a Steelers uniform.

The news obviously makes Polamalu pleased; he's tweeted, "I am happy to say that I will retire a Pittsburgh Steelers!"
 
Apparently, Art Rooney had a change of heart last week and decided the Steelers needed to complete this deal as soon as possible. Now they have (Polamalu signed the new deal while at the airport waiting for the team's flight to Baltimore and its matchup against the Ravens).

And no matter what Prisco thinks -- and I don’t think he’s necessarily wrong, though Freeman disagrees with that -- the Steelers had to make this move because of the impact Polamalu has on the team and on the fan base (and let’s face it, on Head & Shoulders commercials).

UPDATED 6:50 p.m. ET: According to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, it’s a four-year, $36.5 million with a $10.55 million signing bonus.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com