1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Where does Polamalu rank?

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by X-Hack, Apr 10, 2015.

  1. X-Hack

    X-Hack Active Member

    He has announced his retirement. I figured it was threadworthy -- I happen to enjoy Dick Whitman's Hall of Fame threads. Polamalu is a no-doubt first-ballot Hall of Famer, but where does he rank among safeties all time? My personal memory only goes back to about 1976 or 1977, but other than Ronnie Lott, I can't think of anyone better.
  2. da man

    da man Well-Known Member

    He's already in the Hair Hall of Fame.
  3. trifectarich

    trifectarich Well-Known Member

    Is there a stat that's kept for defensive backs making tackles behind the line of scrimmage? I'd love to see where Polamalu ranks for players in the last 20 years or so.
  4. Mr. Sunshine

    Mr. Sunshine Well-Known Member

    One of the best defensive backs ever to play in Pittsburgh.
  5. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    I disagree with him being a first-ballot hall of famer. He's a legit Hall of Fame debate, though, and I think he'll get in.

    Ed Reed and Brian Dawkins, on the other hand, might be a first ballot hall of famers, when they are eligible.

    Although neither of them are locks for a first-ballot induction. Too many good players from other positions, a limit to how many they induct each year and the fact that safeties don't get a lot of HOF love -- particularly if they didn't also play corner.
  6. Mr. Sunshine

    Mr. Sunshine Well-Known Member

    As much as I'd like to tweak Steelers fans, no one who follows the game thinks Dawkins is better than Polamalu.

    Safety is the opposite of quarterback. Until Polamalu and Reed came along and started making weekly highlight reels, no one gave a shit about the position. For that alone, those two have been great for the game. Where they rank, though, is tough to say because the position was relatively ignored until the 21st century.
  7. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    Another thing. Polamalu was an incredibly popular player, and he had star power, and that is a massive benefit when it comes to HOF consideration. But realistically, he might not have even been the best safety the Steelers have ever had, let alone the best safety ever after Ronnie Lott. You could argue that is Donnie Shell is the best Steelers safety ever -- and he has not gotten a whole lot of HOF love, although a big part of that is that he was overshadowed by all of the other great players from the Steel Curtain.

    Polamalu was great, but I think this is the reflexive "best ever" "first ballot" thing. Just from the time that Polamalu played, I'd put Ed Reed ahead of him (unless you want to do strong safety vs. free safety, although they are going to be compared to each other) on the list of best safeties.
  8. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    I don't know about Reed being better. He might have been consistently good for a longer time, since Polamalu destroyed himself.

    But I think it's pretty reasonable to say the Steelers don't win two Super Bowls without Polamalu. Even subbing in Reed or any other top safety wouldn't have done the trick, not because he was worse but because he was so different.
  9. Della9250

    Della9250 Well-Known Member

    There are only seven true safeties in the Hall of Fame -- the others played a good bit at corner -- and the last of those guys played in 1980.

    Much as the baseball voters hate third basemen, the football voters hate safeties.

    Polamalu is a Hall of Famer. But he's far from a first-ballot lock.

    Jon Lynch is about to be a finalist for the third time.
    Steve Atwater can't get to finalist status yet.
    Darren Woodson can't get to finalist status yet.
    Brian Dawkins is eligible in two elections. I don't think he will be a first-time finalist -- Tomlinson is the big first-timer.
    Ed Reed is up for the first tie in 2019. He will definitely be a first-time finalist.

    The question is going to be -- by the time Polamalu is ready to be discussed, how many of these guys are in and where do the voters at the time rank him?

    I would assume that by then Lynch and Reed would be in. But if Dawkins isn't and is continually a finalist at that point, I don't know if there would be enough first-ballot support for Polamalu.

    Of course considering the narrative of Polamalu's career, it wouldn't surprise me if he goes in right away. It does help that if Reed and Gonzalez go in ahead of him on the first-ballot, there won't be much in the way of second-year carry-over and there won't be much challenge in the way of first-timers to force voters to pick and choose.
  10. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    There were five seasons that Polamalu started all 16 games -- 2004, 2005, 2008, 2011 and 2013. Two of those seasons ended with Super Bowl victories. In another, they went 15-1. In 2011 they were 12-4. The last one they were no good, but he was about cooked by then too.

    The other time they made the Super Bowl was 2010 when he started 14 games. In his other six seasons he either didn't start (rookie) or missed a lot of time, and the Steelers were mediocre.

    Basically you can chart the Steelers' fortunes over the past decade by Polamalu's health and availability. I don't know if there is another player you could say that about. Maybe Gronk. But I'm pretty sure nobody on defense carries that profile.
    Mr. Sunshine likes this.
  11. RubberSoul1979

    RubberSoul1979 Active Member

    Isn't it interesting how out of all the players from the Pete Carroll USC Dynasty (2002-2008) who graduated to the NFL, Polamalu will probably be the only Hall of Famer? Ironic when you consider no college football program has put more players in Canton, and Carroll's first seven years added up to the most dominating stretch in 'SC history. And he wasn't even a Carroll recruit.

    In contrast, the John Robinson years -- which featured three Rose Bowl wins, two Heisman winners and a national title from 1976-1982 -- produced three slam dunk HoFers: Anthony Munoz, Ronnie Lott and Marcus Allen.
  12. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Not really
    JC likes this.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page