Troy Polamalu’s quiet appearance in Super Bowl XLV has drawn the attention of many. Gerry Fraley of wrote that he thinks if Polamalu played healthy in the Super Bowl, then the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award is being tarnished.

Polamalu denied the claims that he was hurt. “Best I’ve felt since halfway through the season,” he said.

Polamalu performed well below that level in Sunday’s 31-25 loss to Green Bay at Cowboys Stadium. He was noteworthy for not making plays.

He finished with three tackles — two after completions of more than 30 yards — no passes defended and no sacks. The Steelers followed Polamalu’s lead and had no takeaways.

When Pittsburgh’s pressure defense, keyed by Polamalu, does not generate takeaways, the Steelers have problems. Including the playoffs, Pittsburgh was 14-2 this season when it had at least one takeaway and 0-3 when it didn’t.

While Polamalu told the media that his Achilles injury did not slow his play on Sunday, I am of the opinion that it certainly did. If that is the case, then you have to agree with Fraley’s assessment. Shouldn’t these awards be given out after the season has fully concluded?