Monday, January 5, 2009

James Harrison Named Defensive Player of the Year

The Steelers' resident ferocious outside linebacker, James Harrison, has taken home the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year Award. It shouldn't come as too big of a surprise for Harrison, who posted very impressive stats this season with 16 sacks, 7 forced fumbles, 101 tackles, and 1 interception.

I wasn't sure he'd get the award, as this was a remarkably strong season for top defenders, but Harrison's numbers and obvious impact were just too much to ignore, especially as the most valuable piece on one of the best defenses in recent NFL history.

As impressive as the 16 sacks are, I think the thing that really put Harrison over the top is the 7 forced fumbles. He has an uncanny knack for knocking the ball loose as he descends on the quarterback. As much as some may say that the sack is an overrated stat, I think the forced fumble is one of the most underrated, especially when you can do it at such incredible frequency. So congrats to James Harrison for landing such a prestigious award and becoming just the 5th different Steeler to win it. He's certainly in excellent company now, alongside Joe Greene, Mel Blount, Jack Lambert, and Rod Woodson. Not bad for someone who wasn't drafted and was cut and placed on the practice squad multiple times before earning a spot with the Steelers.

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