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Troy Polamalu didn't win the Most Valuable Player award in Super Bowl XL, but he certainly was the game's Best Tressed.

Over the last three years, Polamalu, 24, has established himself as one of the best professional football players in the United States through his fierce defensive play for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Helping his team win the latest edition of the Super Bowl, which took place in Detroit on Feb. 5, has only added to his fame.

Even those who don't know a thing about football can't help but notice Polamalu on the field. Bursting out of his helmet is a long mane of thick black tresses that would make any curly swoon.

Polamalu, a California native, cites a variety of reasons behind his decision to grow his hair long. In college, he discovered that a tuft of hair provided an extra cushion under his helmet when he took hard hits.

Strong in his Christian faith, he also relates to the Biblical story of Samson, a feared warrior who gained his strength from his flowing locks.

He also saw long hair as a fitting tribute to his Samoan heritage, which has a history of strong long-haired male warriors, and Polamalu noted that. historically. great warriors throughout the world often grew their hair long before going into battle.

While a football game may not have the same implications as those historical conflicts, the stadium is his battlefield. And when the Steelers need a warrior on defense, Polamalu's their man.

Polamalu said he last cut his hair in 2000 at the request of one of his football coaches at the University of Southern California. Luckily for admirers of his hair, he has no plans to cut it again any time soon.

"It's become like a fifth appendage to me," Polamalu said.

The fact that his hair stays in great condition despite his active lifestyle as a professional athlete is no accident. A few days before the big game, Polamalu talked about the routine he follows to keep his curls looking great -- which includes some tips quite familiar to regular readers of NaturallyCurly.com.

Polamalu shampoos daily and conditions every other day. "When I condition, I make sure to comb the conditioner through it." Favorite product? Pantene's Hydrating Curls.

He's got the potential to be a product junkie. "As you know, you have to rotate your products and use different shampoos and conditioners," he said. Polamalu switches up every two weeks.

    Polamalu doesn't seem to experience too many problems with tangles, which could be due to the fact that he rarely wears his hair loose when he's not playing football.

    Off the field, he's a soft-spoken and introspective family man who'd rather spend a quiet night at home with his wife, Theodora, as opposed to the stereotypical wild life of a professional athlete.

    Fitting of his off-field personality, the private Polamalu usually sports a ponytail or a bun.

    Polamalu admits he didn't figure all of this out on his own. He credits Theodora, who also has a head of beautiful and healthy curly hair, with helping him find the right hair care regimen.

    Oh, and in a statement that should forever endear him to many NaturallyCurly.com supporters, Polamalu said he's never had the desire to straighten his hair.

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