Troy Polamalu Super Bowl XLV Media Day Interview Transcript

QUOTES FROM PITTSBURGH STEELERS MEDIA DAY

SAFETY TROY POLAMALU

(on what the defensive player of the year award means to him) “I think it means a lot, to my teammates more than anything. Quite honestly, when I found out I felt nothing, but I think it means a lot more to my teammates because it takes so much to make plays in this defense, in this game, and there’s too many parts to really focus on just one person.”

(on Defensive Player of the Year runner-up Clay Matthews) “He was well deserving of winning the award, but I’m sure he’s much like myself in that he’d rather win the Lombardi (Trophy).”

(on whose hair would win in a battle between his and Matthews) “I can say mine’s more expensive.”

(on if his hair is better looking than Matthews’) “I guess the public can decide that.”

(on Packers players’ hair) “A couple guys on their defense have got some nice hair. A.J. Hawk has got some good hair himself, but I saw a lot of split ends, and I’ve been wanting to show him. So I think he may need to switch to Head and Shoulders.”

(on Brett Keisel’s beard) “Actually he’s put a lot of Head and Shoulders in his beard.”

(on if the team tells the young players to avoid doing something that makes headlines) “Yeah, but we don’t berate that point. I think Coach (Mike) Tomlin has always approached…if you spend too much time on talking about those type of things, you can lose too much sleep and end up losing the game.”

(on if he believes in the Madden curse) “No, I don’t.”

(on if the weather in Dallas reminds him of Pittsburgh) “Actually I was surprised when I opened up the curtain and I saw all this snow on the ground. It was like we were back at home. Usually the Super Bowl is in a warmer environment, but I guess they’ll have to deal with this in New York. I think football should be played in the elements. That’s the essence of this football game.”

(on how he got his number and its significance) “There was a safety named Grant Pearsall who wore 43 when I went to USC, and I guess in the tradition of safeties, I took his number.”

(on if he speaks Spanish) “Yo hablo Espanol paquito.”

(on the challenges of going up against Aaron Rodgers) “Obviously, he’s been really playing tremendously lately. He’s got a really, really awesome feel with him and his receivers. They do a lot of amazing things as far as timing, as far as when plays break down. We’ve played against a lot of great quarterbacks throughout this season, and he’s in line with that.”

(on what Defensive Coordinator Dick LeBeau does to allow him the freedom to roam on defense) “I don’t have any more freedom than anybody else has in the defense. I have a curl flat, I have gaps to blitz, I’ve got to read keys like any other player on this defense.”

(on the job that LeBeau has done) “It’s awesome. He’s got a system that we all believe in. He’s a person that we love and we don’t ever want to make mistakes and disappoint him. I think that’s what makes this defense, is that he’s the father figure that we don’t ever want to disappoint. He just lines us up. He puts us in great positions to make plays as well, obviously. Guys like James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley, everybody has been making plays in our defense.”

(on how much relevance last year’s game against the Packers has in terms of preparation) “I don’t know. Of course we saw the film, but I think the only way to determine that is if we win or lose and got something from the game. But it’s tough to say that at this point. Until you see how the flow of the game goes, if they attack us the same way, but obviously we study the tape as much as they have.”

(on how Matthews plays compared to the way he plays) “He’s an amazing linebacker. He’s one of the best in the NFL, without a doubt. He comes from the greatest university known to man. I played with his older brother at USC. I know his father. They’re just an awesome, amazing family. He’s an amazing football player. He’s got a great success story, similar to that of James Harrison, being a walk-on at USC.”

(on if he was itching to get back in during the games he missed this season) “Unfortunately in my career, I’ve had to deal with some injuries. Obviously I was itching to play, because I’m a football player, not a cheerleader or a coach, but you have to kind of take a step back. There’s many times in my career that I’ve come back too early and actually set myself back where I couldn’t play again, the previous year being an example of that. So I knew it was different, but it’s always tough sitting.”

(on having the best-selling NFL jersey in 2010) “I’ve got to buy my own jersey to get them out to my own family. I think that was probably the reason why. But, I don’t know. The Steeler emblem is world-wide. You’ve seen the Terrible Towel in outer space. We get so much support from fans wherever we travel. I remember we played here maybe five or six years ago. Our starting lineup was louder than theirs. Our crowd was louder than the Cowboys. It really surprised me, given that we had an away game.”

(on how many more years he sees himself playing, ideally) “I don’t know. In this world, this world of football, it’s one game at a time. The injuries that I’ve seen in this game, the injuries that I’ve sustained in this game, I’ve learned to appreciate each snap that you actually play out there. So, it’s tough to talk about years when we’re talking about plays.”

(on not changing his mentality to play physically despite his injuries) “I think that’s all part of the game, is dealing with injuries, the fear of getting injured, of when you see somebody running, you’re like, ‘Man, I know this is going to hurt, but I’ve got to do this because this is what I have to do for the love of my family, to support my family, because I don’t want to let my brothers down.’ There’s all these factors that go into that sacrifice that you make as a football player.”

(on how much of his game is preparation, as opposed to instinct) “I think it’s important for any football player to first get a really good feel for the defense and to understand what the game plan is, or just schematically what the coach may be thinking when he makes the call. After that, I think it’s also really important to get a flow of what the offense is doing. When you compile all these different things, you can just go out and not really think, but make everything natural and instinctive to yourself.”

(on the moment that he knew coaches loved him) “I don’t think there was one moment in my career that it just all of the sudden it was like, ‘Oh, I’m here. I’m finally…’ I think it’s something I continue to build, even now.”

(on nicknames) “The first lesson I learned from my defensive back coach, who is the Green Bay Packers defensive back coach, he said, ‘Troy, don’t ever get a nickname, because it will stick with you for the rest of your life.”

(on the secondary as a group) “I think that’s the awesome thing about our secondary, if you want to just sectionalize that one group, is that we’re so close. We work a lot on our looks and our disguises. We work a lot on how somebody can fit and make certain plays. Ryan (Clark) and Bryant (McFadden) and Ike (Taylor) congratulated me on my award, and said, ‘Honestly, it’s our award.’ There’s so much that goes into making plays on this defense. It’s hard to make plays, especially with our style of defense, because we’re always man-to-man or we’re always locking up. We don’t play with vision or the Tampa 2-style defense, so we’ve got to do sometimes little things to create plays.”

(on whether he prefers “The Jersey Shore” or “Jerseylicious”) “Actually, I watched Jersey Shore while I was working out, and then when I was in my room I watched Jerseylicious, and I have to say, I’m a Jersey Shore fan. I don’t know enough about the show, but from what I saw yesterday, I would say Jersey Shore.”

(on if he prefers Kim Kardashian or Paris Hilton) “My wife, Theodora Polamalu.”

(on if he has any advice for high school athletes regarding staying safe while playing) “I would honestly say play all sports for one. I think it’s a horrible thing that coaches make athletes do nowadays, is to be single-sport athletes. I think to play all sports, and you don’t have to be professional at any sport. My goal has always been to want to be a teacher or something like that, and to fall into something like football is obviously a blessing, but that’s just not the ultimate goal.”

(on if the Steelers and Packers are similar as organizations) “I don’t know. I don’t know anything about any other organization. I know Ken Whisenhunt and the Arizona Cardinals have a lot of former Steeler players there. I know schematically speaking, from a defensive perspective, we’re very similar.”

(on never losing his calm demeanor) “First of all, I try to represent something bigger than myself, whether it’s on the football field or off the football field, and to represent the same person. I wouldn’t be somebody that’s a ‘rah rah, look at me’ guy on the field and not off the field, or vice versa. I think if you see people like that, there’s something that’s not authentic in their life. They’re either fake outside the football field or fake on the football field. I just try to be the same person.”

(on how special it will be to see all the Terrible Towels on Sunday) “It’s awesome. It’s so awesome, especially in the AFC Championship games when you see everybody waving those Terrible Towels. It’s a very special feeling.”

(on if the team was rooting against the Patriots in the playoffs) “We weren’t rooting for either team, quite honestly. It didn’t matter who we played. We had lost to both teams during the season anyway.”

(on how long it takes him to brush his hair and if shampoo is more important than conditioner) “It takes me about 45 minutes to get ready every day. Head and Shoulders has a great line of both, so anything that’s a Head and Shoulders product would be great.”

(on if James Starks can make a difference in the game) “Absolutely. He could be their most valuable player possibly, so it’s going to be very important for us to really stop the run game first, which has always been our mentality, and hopefully get after the quarterback.”

(on his faith) “I believe that Jesus Christ is God. I believe in the orthodox faith as being the true faith, but that’s where I find anything in my life that has meaning. I see it through the eyes of my faith, whether it’s my relationship with my wife, whether it’s football, whether it’s running, jumping, anything.”

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.