Time flies when you’re having fun, isn’t that what they say? It was a fun 17 weeks, but as always, every good thing must come to an end. In this instance it is the end of the NFL regular season and the start of the playoffs. Another good year for New England and New Orleans fans and yet just another year for Buffalo and Detroit fans. An embarrassing yet happy year for Seattle fans ending 7-9 and ‘clinching’ the 4th seed in the NFC while a typical ending to the season for Giants fans. At the midpoint of the season, I gave my midseason awards for the league. While I may have some changes (Ndamukong Suh over Nate Allen for Defensive Rookie of the Year, Tom Brady over Peyton Manning for MVP), most stay the same. So being that I cover any and all Pittsburgh sports, I’m going to give you my season awards for the Pittsburgh Steelers 2010 regular season.
Most Valuable Player – James Farrior – Why not start off with something controversial. While many will say Troy Polamalu – and it’s hard to argue against him – I’d select Farrior. Farrior was viewed as all but done after last year, and people thought Larry Foote’s return would be bigger than it was. The 4th down plays given up to Ray Rice and Brian Leonard last year looked like he finally ran out of gas. In his 13th season however, he has turned it around with 109 tackles, 6 sacks and a forced fumble and it is a shame he isn’t on the Pro Bowl roster. Argue for Troy if you want, but Farrior is the heart and soul of the team.
Offensive MVP – Mike Wallace – Again, there are several candidates here, including Rashard Mendenhall, Big Ben and even Maurkice Pouncey, but Wallace adds the different dimension to the game and is a threat to go vertical at any time. Averaging 21 yards per catch and hauling in 10 touchdowns, Wallace is developing into one of the leagues best receivers
Defensive MVP – Troy Polamalu – Contradicting right? I consider Farrior the team MVP for his leadership skills and for it being his team. But Troy is one of the most amazing specimens to ever step foot onto a football field. While I don’t feel he deserves the league’s Defensive Player of the Year (I’d give that to Clay Matthews) due to injuries and a slower start, I still believe he is the best defensive player in the game.
Rookie of the Year – Maurkice Pouncey – Rarely do you see a center get so much praise, but Pouncey is a stud. He held together an offensive line that was filled with holes all year and went on to make the Pro Bowl. Mike Webster, Dermontti Dawson and now Pouncey, the tradition of an elite center continues in the ‘Burgh.
Surprise Player of the Year – Flozell Adams – When the Steelers first signed Flozell, I literally laughed. The Cowboys gave up on him and we actually thought the O-Line was getting worse. With the announcement of him moving over to right tackle from his customary left tackle position, no one knew what to expect. All he did, in fact, is hold together the line with Pouncey and shed his reputation that he couldn’t pass block.
Play of the Year – There were a few I considered here, but only one came by someone other than Troy Polamalu, and that was Mendenhall’s game winning touchdown run in overtime against the Falcons in Week 1. But I decided to go with Troy’s dive over the line against Tennessee. Sure his strip sack of Joe Flacco, his interception of Matt Ryan or his interception against Ryan Fitzpatrick were huge, but seeing him time the count perfectly and stop Kerry Collins on the QB dive at the goal line was amazing. There isn’t one other player in the league that could make that play.
Game of the Year – Pittsburgh vs Baltimore Round 2 – The importance of this game is reason enough to put this as the game of the year. Winner takes the AFC North and holds the first round bye in their grasps. The usual hard hitting game between the teams didn’t let down the fans and once again, it came down to the end of the game. Polamalu’s strip sack of Flacco led to the go-ahead touchdown from Roethlisberger to Isaac Redman to seal the deal and the Division.
Story Line of the Year – Even with Ben’s suspension, I still have to go with the fines for helmet-to-helmet hits and the subsequent outcry from fans. The main target of the fines was James Harrison. Though I don’t agree with the fans saying the Steelers were being targeted by the league, it was interesting to hear all of the outcry and outrage from everyone.
So there you have it, my 2010 Steelers awards. I’d like to hear your thoughts on my selections and who might you have selected for these awards instead.
About the Author
Written by Michael Waterloo
I'm currently pursuing my Master's degree in Communication and Journalism from Clarion University. I currently work for Ohio Valley Athletics where I serve as the West Virginia Football Beat Writer and cover West Virginia Men's Basketball as well. I'm a big Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pitt Panthers and Oregon Ducks fan. Follow me on Twitter at @MichaelWaterloo or visit www.ovathletics.com