Super Bowl 45 will feature the Associated Press's Defensive Player of the Year winner, and he isn't the guy most expected to win the award. Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews was the front-runner for the award, but on Thursday night Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu received the award during a live announcement on the NFL Network.
Matthews had a strong case with his 13.5 sacks, but Polamalu's seven interceptions and 11 pass deflections appear to have won over the voters, who cast their ballots before the start of the playoffs. Polamalu played in 14 games in 2010 after missing 11 games in 2009 due to injury.
Polamalu received 17 votess from a pool of 50 members of the media. He won by two votes over Matthews. Other players to receive votes include the Chicago Bears' Julius Peppers (6) and Brian Urlacher (2) and the Baltimore Ravens' Ed Reed (1) and Haloti Ngata (1).
The AP Offensive Player of the Year Award will be announced live on the NFL Network at 5:00 p.m. MT on Tuesday.