This raises one obvious question: who will win the award?
At this point it's basically between the two long-haired ball hawks playing for the two Super Bowl teams: Clay Matthews III and Troy Polamalu.
Here are the possible candidates and their regular season stats:
Clay Matthews: 60 combined tackles, 13.5 sacks, 1 INT, 2 FF
Troy Polamalu: 63 combined tackles, 1 sack, 7 INTs, 1 FF
DeMarcus Ware: 66 combined tackles, 15.5 sacks, 0 INTs, 2 FF
James Harrison: 100 combined tackles, 10.5 sacks, 2 INTs, 6 FF
Cameron Wake: 57 combined tackles, 14 sacks, 0 INTs, 3 FF
Ray Lewis: 139 combined tackles, 2 sacks, 2 INTs, 2 FF
Julius Peppers: 54 combined tackles, 8 sacks, 2 INTs, 3 FF
Jerod Mayo: 175 combined tackles, 2 sacks, 0 INTs, 1 FF
Of these candidates, it seems Polamalu and Matthews are the most logical choices. Not only did they put up good numbers on the season, but they were their respective team's playmaker on the defensive side of the ball and was the deciding factor in just about every game they played this season.
Each and every week the opposing quarterback had to keep tabs on Nos. 52 and 43 in order to succeed on that given day. Obviously, more times than not Matthews and Polamalu got the most of their opposition.
When it comes to individual achievement I believe that Matthews is a bit more deserving of the award partly because he is playing a much bigger role in the defense as one of Green Bay's outside linebackers. He must direct traffic on defense, and is both a great pass-rusher (13.5 sacks) and coverage guy (60 tackles, 1 INT, 2 FF).
Polamalu's hair is better, but I think that Matthews will take home the award in just his second season in the National Football League.
*Runner-up: Troy Polamalu, Steelers
*Dark horse: James Harrison, Steelers
Clay Matthews: Todd Rosenberg/NFL