Pat McAfee Remembers The Time Troy Polamalu Screwed Him Out Of A Touchdown

Fun one for you today. Ex-punter Pat McAfee, retired now and living in a van down by the river, went on his podcast to talk about the time Troy Polamalu screwed him out of a fake field goal touchdown. I’ll show you the clip below, summarize it, and then we’ll go check out the actual play.

Here’s a link to McAfee’s account. Fair warning, some NSFW language in there. Speakers down, headphones in, people.

Essentially, the Colts’ film study showed that inside the seven with the ball on the left hash, the Steelers always left the left side (from the field goal’s point of view) C gap wide open. So the Colts had a check that if they got to that situation, they would run a fake with the holder, McAfee, for what should be an easy touchdown.

McAfee says that when he got to his second cadence, about to snap the ball, Polamalu sensed something was different and for the first time, covered the C gap. McAfee, a Pittsburgh native whose family was there to watch the game (it was at Heinz Field), had to quickly abort the fake field goal attempt by literally screamingย “We are kicking it!”ย 

Because we have that kind of time on our hands here at Steelers Depot, here’s the play. End of the first half back in 2014. Colts are down 35-17 so the fake would’ve been a huge momentum swing going into the break. The cameras don’t catch everything but you can see McAfee giving out some signals, presumably that they’re running the fake, pre-snap.

That may have been the tip off for Polamalu. Because as McAfee says, here is Troy lined up where he *shouldn’t* be, forcing the Colts back into their field goal.

We don’t have footage of him walking over to the other side but you can see the gap he vacated to the left.

And here is the Steelers’ field goal block team several weeks earlier in the same situation. There’s Polamalu…on the other side, away from the C gap. Where he always lined up.

Somehow, Polamalu got the sense the Colts were going to run the fake. And had he not been there, there’s a good chance it would’ve worked. The Steelers were overloading the other side and an end-of-half fake is probably the last thing anyone is expecting.

It’s just another example of the elite instincts Troy showed on a weekly basis. And why he’s a future Hall of Famer.

About the Author

Alex Kozora
Full-time blogger from mom's basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.
  • PaeperCup

    Just another on a long list of people Troy has screwed out of a TD

  • Steel Squirrel

    That is one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard! I love it!!! Gee, can anyone guess what Pat McAfee’s favorite word is? Scared to death of Troy, absolutely love it!

  • Jones

    Loved Troy. I hope he comes around and we get to hear more of him via the Pittsburgh media. Hope he doesn’t stay away disgruntled like Bradshaw.

  • Talyn Scarbrough

    This is the best thing I’ve ever heard and troy is my favorite player of all time. This is just one reason why.

  • Spencer Krick

    lol, loved the story.

    Man I miss watching Troy play.

  • Zarbor

    I miss that guy. What a Steeler. What a player. There are special players and then there are truly special players.

  • Scott N.

    Troy would’ve been an awesome inside linebacker. When he got too slow for the safety position, I was hoping they would move him there, but we had Shazier and Timmons, so it would’ve been hard to justify I guess.

  • Alex Kozora

    He sorta did. That year Foote went down, Troy wound up basically being a box safety exclusively.

  • pittfan

    My first and only jersey, (till my AV comes that is)

  • ๅคช้˜ณไธ‰่”

    His bday a day after mine.. it’s an #aries thing I’m telling you.

  • Sam Clonch

    Haha, that was pretty dang funny to listen to. “What did I see? The Angel of Death in the G**D**** C GAP IS WHAT I SAW!”

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    Hilarious!!! Dude is really funny!


    Probably my favorite Steeler of all time (so many great ones to choose from!).
    So fun to watch. And he seemed to defy the laws of physics in so many things he did.
    Remember til the day I die him returning that pick six vs the Ratbirds in the AGCCG!!! That wild ass hair flying around as he followed his blockers down the field!!

  • Michael

    Troy & Woodley at their prime was Steelers football with abundance of charisma and character.

  • Michael

    I wonder why would happen if they overload one side with 3 extra rushers attempt to block the FG? Rule book says minimum of 7 in the line of scrimage.

  • Alex Kozora

    Can only have 6 to a side.

  • John Noh

    Me too ๐Ÿ™ So everyone remembers the outrageous, one-handed dive interception against the Chargers but the most impressive play I ever saw Troy make was against the Broncos in the 2005 AFC Championship game. The Donks were in the red zone and Troy was playing far off (as usual). He had insane closing speed to take down the running back and hold him to a minimal gain on a screen pass that should have gone for a lot more. He made the tackle one handed too, I think.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    What I love is there he is on special teams.

  • ryan72384

    Watching the you tube cell phone videos of that pick 6 from people at the game that night still gives me chills

  • ryan72384

    Seriously a once in a lifetime football player. Out of all his huge plays honestly his tackle on Chris Johnson in the 09 opener was the one that made me just say wow he is not human. It was just a tackle but I remember my girlfriend was like “oh my god he is not human!” He also had a ridiculous one handed interception on a deep pass in that game. And then Algae Crumpler fell on his knee and Troy was never the same player. I know he won DPOY the following year but I never saw the same explosiveness after that injury.

  • Rick McClelland

    Really miss Troy. Wish he was coaching on he Steeler sideline. He really did have it and I think he really still does have a lot to give.

  • dany

    “Are we not gonna talk about how big of an a**hole Polamalu is?”

    I died

  • derp_diggler


  • Nunya

    That is probably my favorite Troy story ever…just because of the way he told it. I was almost in tears laughing!

  • westcoasteeler

    “Aren’t we gonna talk about how much of an a$$hole, polamalu is!?!” So funny!

  • Alex Kozora

    That was incredible.

  • Michael Putman

    Ha, highly inappropriate language, but that was hilarious!

  • Petherson Silveira


  • RKSteel

    probably the best first half I ever saw from a single player, he was flying all over the field.

  • NW86

    LMAO. I did too, and I just did again when I read your comment.

  • D.j. Hoy

    No joke, this is also one of my favorite plays! I always have a hard time trying to find a replay of it because of how many other great plays he had! Just think, to most that would just go down as a stat of “1 tackle”, but it was so much more than that!

  • Brenton deed

    Especially because of the game situation and the occassion – almost better than sex.

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    I miss those bumblebee uniforms. The one jersey I have is a Troy bumblebee.

  • 2winz

    Troy Polamalu is the first and only jersey I ever purchased because of these kinds of things! He is just something else, Ed Reed was amazing and no doubt a hof’er for sure.. but stats dont tell the whole story! I will never forget Troy leaping over the titans o-line and taking down the qb! The stats show just a tackle or sack, but you can’t teach timing a snap perfectly and executing the play the way he did. It takes a special talent to do the things Ed Reed accomplished.. in other words.. it can be done, but it will take a special talent to do it. but Troy? nobody will ever be able to do some of the things troy did.

  • 2winz

    I have heard it said that he was disgruntled, but what happened? I never heard it directly from him, did I miss something?

  • 2winz

    that’s the thing with Troy! Stats are misleading.. He did things nobody will ever be able to do. Ed Reed was great, and his stats show it! But with Troy, you just had to watch the guy play or watch the highlights and you will see why he was special.

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    Truly underappreciated uni!

  • 2winz

    same here! My next jersey might be Smith-Schuster though. I was tempted to buy a Hines Ward jersey.. He earned it, being the only offensive player on the renegade highlights that popped up. but it just didn’t happen.. I’m thinking JJSS now might be my next, he reminds me of Hines, both on and off the field.. both played similar and both just love(d) playing this game.

  • 2winz

    I remember that game just like it was yesterday! I even remember the pre-game performers and everything which is how I started listening to Tim McGraw. lol I miss Troy ๐Ÿ™

  • Michael Joseph Jackson

    I think it as him being forced into retirement. Not that he was forced per se but he sure didn’t want to play for another team. I believe he wanted to play out his contract….

  • Kick

    It was great.

  • 2winz

    are there any quotes from him?

  • Richard Edlin

    Yes, now. What sort of instinct do you have to have to both pick that something’s up AND go to the exact spot.

    In later years Troy gambled and lost a lot – that play is another reminder, even if it had disappeared completely into history for everybody but McAfee and Polamalu.


    I could go on forever about 43. But perhaps the best part of it all was (and hello, current NFL players!!) he was such a good PERSON. Carrying his kid around after the SB win (AND loss), sift spoken but COMMANDING attention when he did talk!!!
    I bought the websites GOAT tee shirt and wear it so often that the print is coming off it.
    Just a great, iconic, unique player – but an even BETTER human being.
    Wish the team could patch things up with him so we could see him at the vet reunions.

  • James Lee

    Just watched about an hour of YouTube highlights of TP because of this article. Not only the best Steeler ever, but the best football player ever… IMO.

  • Dee Evolution

    That was worth fighting over. We lost many games that season because Troy Peazy fell victim to slimy Alge.

  • Durango Snowman

    Thanks for the chuckle. I miss having Troy out there.