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Dick LeBeau Reveals All-Time Favorite Troy Polamalu Moment



Steelers Troy Polamalu at Browns

Former Pittsburgh Steelers strong safety Troy Polamalu dazzled with his diving one-handed interception against the San Diego Chargers in Week 11 of the 2008 season, and his pick-six off Joe Flacco in the 2008 AFC Championship Game to send the Steelers to Super Bowl XLIII are two plays that first come to mind when I think about his Hall of Fame career. However, neither of those two plays or several others were former defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau’s favorite Polamalu moment when the question was asked by Bryant McFadden on the All Things Covered podcast. Instead, it was a time when Polamalu showed great character after disappointing LeBeau.

In Week 14 of the 2010 season, Polamalu picked off Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer and instead of just falling on the ground, since the Steelers had the game won already, Polamalu pitched the ball back over his shoulder. The Steelers recovered the loose ball, but LeBeau looked at it as unnecessary and a play that could have got Polamalu or someone else hurt.

“He intercepted that ball in the end zone, and we had the game won. He took off running with it late in the fourth quarter and the only thing that could possibly be bad for us would be if he ran it out there and fumbled it,” LeBeau said. “When the game is won you get on the ground. Well, Troy took off on that, and not only did he run it, he threw a lateral back over his shoulder.

“I went to Troy, and I said, ‘Troy, you can’t do that. This is a family. You put all your family members at risk out there throwing that damn ball around when we got the game won.'”

Troy Polamalu displayed great remorse for letting LeBeau down. It showed how much Polamalu cared, and for that reason, LeBeau cherishes that memory.

“Troy walked away, he was gone about 45-50 seconds. I looked around, here he comes back and there’s a picture of him and I, and I’m hugging him and he has his head down. That’s my favorite Troy Polamalu moment, because he was such a leader and such a charismatic player, and yet no one cared anymore or felt any worse if he did anything at all that wasn’t in the most extreme team concept.”

Here is the clip of the play that LeBeau referenced. It starts at 14:26. You can see LeBeau coming up to Polamalu as he approached the sideline.

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