J.J. Watt Campaigns for His Brother T.J. Watt to Win NFL Defensive Player of the Year: ‘He Deserved It Last Year’
The Watts are one of the most recognizable families in football, and they stick together. Arizona Cardinals defensive end JJ Watt is on his way to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. His younger brother, TJ Watt, could be right behind him. The older Watt believes the Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker should be a shoo-in to win the 2021 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award.
JJ Watt believes TJ Watt should be a lock to win NFL Defensive Player of the Year
TJ Watt has enjoyed a phenomenal 2021 season. The Pittsburgh Steelers edge-rusher finished the regular season with 64 tackles, 21 tackles for loss, and 22.5 sacks.
Watt led the league in sacks and tackles for loss. His biggest competition for the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Award is probably either linebacker Micah Parsons or cornerback Trevon Diggs, both of the Dallas Cowboys.
While Parsons and Diggs each make a valid case to win, JJ Watt is rolling with his brother without hesitation. The Arizona Cardinals star recently joined The Rich Eisen Show to campaign for the Steelers Pro Bowler.
Eisen asked Watt if his brother deserved to win the honor after his stellar 2021 season. JJ Watt delivered his answer with conviction.
“He deserved it last year,” said Watt. “And he’s going to get it this year. I mean, if he doesn’t, I don’t know what’s going on. He tied the all-time sack record in the NFL. He only played like 14 and a half games. The guy is unbelievable to watch. Some of his sacks coming in the most crucial times of the game, forced fumbles to win a game in overtime.”
TJ Watt’s play has helped propel the Steelers to the NFL playoffs, and his older brother couldn’t be happier.
“What T.J. did this year, and what he means to that team,” said Watt. “I know anyone but quarterbacks don’t have a chance to win MVP, but he deserves to be in that conversation as well.”
The Cardinals defensive end contests controversial call in brother’s quest for sack record
JJ Watt got an opportunity to witness history when the Pittsburgh Steelers played against the Baltimore Ravens in the season finale.
TJ Watt registered a sack on Ravens quarterback Tyler Huntley, pushing his season total to 22.5. The 3-time All-Pro outside linebacker tied Hall of Famer Michael Strahan’s single-season sack record.
The Wisconsin product could’ve broken the record if not for a controversial call by the officiating crew. The center botched the snap. Huntley tried to pick the ball up to make a play when he took a hit by Watt. The ball came loose, and the Steelers recovered the fumble. The initial call on the field was a fumble, but the refs later reversed it.
JJ Watt strongly disagreed with the call.
“The rule is it’s an aborted play if the guy loses it and just falls on it,” he said. “But if he tries to get up and is going to try to do something, and receivers are in a pass route, that’s a sack. I don’t understand how that’s not a sack when you look at the letter of the law. He’ll never say it publicly, but I’ll say it for him. That deserved to be a sack.”
The Cardinals star also took a clever jab at the man his brother tied with, Michael Strahan.
“Especially if you compare to Strahan’s final sack,” said Watt. “I mean, come on.”
The Steelers need their Pro Bowl edge-rusher to have another monster game
The Pittsburgh Steelers have to be entering the Wild Card Round with an “Us vs. the world” mentality. Mike Tomlin’s squad barely made it into the postseason, and its first draw is the Kansas City Chiefs.
The 2-seeded Chiefs have represented the AFC in the Super Bowl in back-to-back seasons. Even in a down year by Kansas City’s standard, this is a very dangerous football team. For the Steelers to even stand a chance, they must play a complete game.
Defensive coordinator Keith Butler’s unit sets the tone for Pittsburgh. The offense has its deficiencies, so this squad relies heavily on the defense to make opportunistic plays. TJ Watt plays a massive role in those efforts.
The 4-time Pro Bowler won the 2021 sack title by far. He’s also recorded 39 quarterback hits on the season, all while missing two games. Watt is an elite pass-rusher, and his job will be to make life extremely difficult for Patrick Mahomes.
The Steelers must create havoc in the backfield, something Watt specializes in. If the defense can get to Mahomes, maybe he’ll make a mistake or two.
TJ Watt didn’t record a sack in the first meeting between these teams. That must change if Pittsburgh is to have any chance of advancing to the Divisional Round.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.