Former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger released the second episode of his weekly podcast on his Channel Seven YouTube page. Footbahlin with Ben Roethlisberger features Spencer T’eo as his co-host and the two discussed a wide variety of topics before T’eo, who identifies as Polynesian, turned the discussion to Troy Polamalu near the end of the podcast.
“He’s one of the kindest people you ever met,” Roethlisberger raves. “And he is one of the most violent people you will ever meet on the football field. He would hit people and then apologize to them. ‘I just knocked your head off, oh, sorry about that,’ then he would do it again the next play.”
Polamalu entered the NFL in 2003 and made an impact when he did get on the field for the Steelers, despite not starting one game as a rookie. His second season in the NFL and first as a starter, coincided with another new player in the starting lineup in 2004: Roethlisberger.
Late in a Week 4 contest against the Cincinnati Bengals in 2004, the Steelers had taken the lead 21-17 in the rookie quarterback’s second start. Polamalu put the game away with his first signature interception and return for a touchdown as a Steelers defender.
“A couple things that really stick out to me,” Roethlisberger continues. “They might have both been against Baltimore. He makes this interception at home, and you can see his hair flowing. He dives and sticks his hand under the football, and he intercepts it. We watched film of that play the next day and the camera is shaking because the stadium is shaking.”
The game in question was actually against the San Diego, now Los Angeles Chargers and it was a ridiculous play. Polamalu dives and scoops the ball one-handed in Week 11 of the 2008 season. He reverses field, but ultimately slips before returning it for a touchdown. If you’ve never watched the play, you can see it here on YouTube.
“He had this play where it what was 3rd and 1 or 4th and 1 and he just jumped over the line and held the quarterback. Troy is the only guy I have ever known that could practice in like tennis shoes,” Roethlisberger concludes. “Never slip, go full speed, intercept balls and be all over the field. There were times where he would be near the line scrimmage, and when the ball was snapped, his back was to me. You can’t do that, you have to look at the quarterback or your receiver at all times. He was able to not see either and still get to a spot and make a play.”
Polamalu had a sixth sense on the football field, and the leaping play in question may be the highlight most associated with him, although it happened more than once against multiple teams. It always seemed like he was roving around the field not playing a position, but he was always around the ball. Whenever the Steelers needed a play for over a decade, number 43 was on the spot. His career highlights would fill up a dozen articles, but Roethlisberger is just the latest teammate to give the Steelers Hall of Fame safety glowing reviews as a player and a person.
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Roethlisberger has produced two highly entertaining podcasts thus far and it seems like they will be releasing at least once per week for the foreseeable future. His co-host T’eo and the future Hall of Famer will be sampling another set of beers and probably discuss the opening NFL weekend sometime next week. Fans of the black and gold should definitely check it out.