Hard Hat Award (Game #5, vs. Tenn)
Stillers QB Ben Roethlisberger and OT Max Starks are the co-winners of the weekly Hard Hat Award, given to the Stiller player who best embodies the iron-tough, hard-as-steel attitude of the steel workers inside the blast furnace of a still mill.
Ben gamely shook of his aching foot and had a career day, tossing 5 TDs on 24 of 34 passing. He took some hits and even rolled out on the short TD pass to Johnson, in a display of tough, gritty QBing.
Starks came into the game more or less stone cold, having just signed on Tuesday and getting all of 3 days or practice. The man hadn�t played an NFL snap in 11 months, and missed all of camp and preseason. Yet there he was, fighting off rushers and protecting Ben�s blind side with superb aplomb. The game plan was for Starks to get occasional breathers, but an injury to Gilbert forced Starks to play all but a couple of snaps. It would have been easy for Starks to stumble and point to rust as an easy excuse, but Starks never wavered and fought like a demon.
Others receiving consideration were Troy Pola, Ike Taylor, and Chris Hoke, who had an absolutely stellar effort starting in place of NT Casey Hamtpon. It bears repeating that there is almost always -- if not always -- a strong correlation between the number of players in consideration for the Hard Hat, and if the team won or lost. Simply put, Hard Hat kind of football leads to victory; pansy football (a term used here long before Troy Pola popularized it) leads to defeat.
Kudos to Ben and Max winning the Hard Hat Award. Wear the Hard Hat proudly, fellas !
Previous 2011 Hard Hat Winners:
Game #4, @ Houston: James Harrison and Troy Polamalu
Game #3, @ Indy: James Harrison and Troy Polamalu
Game #2, vs. Seattle: Mike Wallace and Troy Polamalu
Game #1, @ Balt: No One