Troy Polamalu Named NFL Defensive Player of the Year

By Michael Preston
|  Tuesday, Feb 1, 2011  |  Updated 3:12 AM PDT
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Even though the main event - Super Bowl XLV - is a few days away, there was another showdown between that game's most well-coiffed players over the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year award and, in the end, the vote appropriately came down to a hair.

The Pittsburgh Steelers' Troy Polamalu edged out the Green Bay Packers' Clay Matthews Jr. for top defensive accolades, collecting 17 of a possible 50 votes to capture the prize. Matthews received 15 votes and Polamalu's teammate James Harrison received eight votes to land third in the voting, reports ESPN.

Though he missed two games due to injury, the safety recorded seven interceptions and 63 tackles for the year. But he won the award mostly on the strength of the big, game-turning plays that defined his season.

Matthews, in only his second pro season, also had a standout year. He made the All Pro team on the back of a 13 1/2 sack, 60 tackle effort that also included an interception return for a touchdown.

The rest of the votes went to Chicago Bears teammates Julius Peppers and Brian Urlacher, who received six and two votes respectively, and Baltimore Ravens teammates Ed Reed and Haloti Ngata, who got one vote apiece.

Selected Reading: ESPN, NFL, Sportsline

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