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Steelers to keep Polamalu

Loyalty usually isn't a two-way street in professional sports, but the case of Troy Polamalu and the Steelers may be an exception to that rule. Despite needing to create salary-cap space, the Steelers will not release Polamalu, citing the Rooney family's loyalty to the veteran safety. Polamalu has essentially been the face (and hair) of the Steelers' franchise since being drafted in 2003, and imagining him in a uniform other than Steelers black and gold is almost unthinkable. His production has been declining, however, and given that he'll be 33 this season, the Steelers might end up regretting their otherwise-admirable allegiance to one of their all-time greats.

Should the Steelers release Troy Polamalu?

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  • How many more seasons does Troy Polamalu have as an elite safety?

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  • Will Troy Polamalu ever play for a team other than the Steelers?

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In the wake of the Seattle Seahawks' thunderous win over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII, many are asking: Just how good was the Legion of Boom & Co., compared to history's best defenses? Answer yourself by clicking on the images below!

Best NFL Defenses Ever

1962 Packers

1962 Packers

230.0 YPG, 10.6 PPG, 3.57 TO/gm, won NFL title.

1969 Chiefs

1969 Chiefs

225.9 YPG, 12.6 PPG, 3.36 TO/gm, won Super Bowl.

1971 Vikings

1971 Vikings

243.3 YPG, 9.9 PPG, 3.21 TO/gm, won NFC Central.

1972 Dolphins

1972 Dolphins

235.5 YPG, 12.2 PPG, 3.29 TO/gm, 14-0 regular season, won Super Bowl.

1975 Rams

1975 Rams

237.3 YPG, 9.6 PPG, 2.86 TO/gm, won NFC West.

1976 Steelers

1976 Steelers

237.6 YPG, 9.9 PPG, 3.29 TO/gm, won AFC Central.

1977 Falcons

1977 Falcons

231.6 YPG, 9.2 PPG, 3.43 TO/gm, 2nd in NFC West.

1985 Bears

1985 Bears

258.4 YPG, 12.4 PPG, 3.38 TO/gm, won Super Bowl.

1990 Giants

1990 Giants

262.9 YPG, 13.2 PPG, 2.13 TO/gm, won Super Bowl.

2000 Ravens

2000 Ravens

246.7 YPG, 10.3 PPG, 3.06 TO/gm, won Super Bowl.

2002 Buccaneers

2002 Buccaneers

252.8 YPG, 12.2 PPG, 2.38 TO/gm, won Super Bowl.

2013 Seahawks

2013 Seahawks

273.6 YPG, 14.4 PPG, 2.44 TO/gm, won Super Bowl.

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Percy HarvinJoe Camporeale/USA TODAY SportsWhere do the Seahawks rank among the past 10 Super Bowl champions?

They didn't own the regular season; 13-3 is a fine record, sure, but not one for the history books. However, the way the Seattle Seahawks ended their campaign was something to behold. Basically dominating from the first play from scrimmage, Pete Carroll's team smashed the Denver Broncos 43-8 in Super Bowl XLVIII, allowing them to join the list of NFL champions in style. Does this make them the best title winner from the past 10 seasons? Click on the images below to set your rankings!

More: Dynasty? | Your grades | Commercials? | Manning's legacy | Rank: QBs

Rank: Past 10 Super Bowl Champs

2013 Seahawks

2013 Seahawks

13-3, beat Broncos 43-8

2012 Ravens

2012 Ravens

10-6, beat 49ers 34-31

2011 Giants

2011 Giants

9-7, beat Patriots 21-17

2010 Packers

2010 Packers

10-6, beat Steelers 31-25

2009 Saints

2009 Saints

13-3, beat Colts 31-17

2008 Steelers

2008 Steelers

12-4, beat Cardinals 27-23

2007 Giants

2007 Giants

10-6, beat Patriots 17-14

2006 Colts

2006 Colts

12-4, beat Bears 29-17

2005 Steelers

2005 Steelers

11-5, beat Seahawks 21-10

2004 Patriots

2004 Patriots

14-2, beat Eagles 24-21

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Kevin HuberAP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

Punters are athletes -- this much is not in dispute -- but they're athletes with a focus on kicking things and not necessarily on tackling people. That being said, if they're in position to make a play, blockers have to take them into account. Terence Garvin did a bit more than take punter Kevin Huber into account, however -- he broke Huber's jaw and cracked a vertebra in his neck as a result of a massive hit during a 68-yard touchdown return in Sunday's Bengals-Steelers game. Officials didn't throw a flag, but this seems exactly like the type of hit that the NFL will come down on during its review.

Here's a sampling of what readers had to say in our Facebook conversation on the story:

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The Pittsburgh Steelers might be below .500 on the season, but they looked the better team in their 30-20 win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday night. And they weren't the only losing squad to come up big on Sunday. Both the Minnesota Vikings and St. Louis Rams handed stunning losses to division leaders. Still, every sub-.500 team is eliminated -- or close to it -- from playoff contention this year, meaning it's not too early to look toward 2014. Which teams are best set up for a bounce-back next season? Click on the images below to set your rankings!

2014 bounce-back teams

Bills

Bills

2013 record: 5-9

Browns

Browns

2013 record: 4-10

Buccaneers

Buccaneers

2013 record: 4-10

Falcons

Falcons

2013 record: 4-10

Giants

Giants

2013 record: 5-9

Jaguars

Jaguars

2013 record: 4-10

Jets

Jets

2013 record: 6-8

Raiders

Raiders

2013 record: 4-10

Rams

Rams

2013 record: 6-8

Redskins

Redskins

2013 record: 3-11

Steelers

Steelers

2013 record: 6-8

Texans

Texans

2013 record: 2-12

Titans

Titans

2013 record: 5-9

Vikings

Vikings

2013 record: 4-9-1

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