While the Lombardi Trophy is the major prize of Super Bowl weekend, it’s not the only silverware that’s given out. Before the big game, the annual NFL Awards takes place. This year, however, Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt wasn’t happy with the results.
Although he did take home the Deacon Jones Award, T.J. Watt wasn’t named the 2020 NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Based on his Twitter account, the linebacker isn’t going to take that loss lying down.
T.J. Watt has turned into one of the NFL’s top defenders
If you’re a long-time NFL fan, you know that the Pittsburgh Steelers always seem to have a tough defense. That’s still true today, thanks, in large part, to T.J. Watt.
Watt’s career, however, actually started on the opposite side of the ball. He headed to the University of Wisconsin as a tight end but suffered a serious knee injury; when he returned to the gridiron, he had transformed into a linebacker.
Watt took to the position with incredible ease and, during the 2016 season, piled up 11.5 sacks. He then entered into the 2017 NFL draft, joining the Pittsburgh Steelers as the 30th overall pick. Although he made a major impact as a rookie, recording 54 total tackles and seven sacks, the linebacker was just getting started.
Since then, Watt has improved every season. 2020 was his best campaign to date, featuring an NFL-leading 15 sacks and 23 tackles for a loss. While the Steelers struggled down the stretch, their star linebacker didn’t miss a beat.
Losing the NFL Defensive Player of the Year title to Aaron Donald
Leading the NFL in any statistical category, let alone sacks, is an impressive feat. Unfortunately for T.J. Watt, though, that wasn’t enough to earn him the 2020 NFL Defensive Player of the Year title.
Instead, the award went to Aaron Donald of the LA Rams, who finished the year with 13.5 sacks and four forced fumbles. The lineman has now been named Defensive Player of the Year on three separate occasions.
Although he’s probably a bit biased, J.J. Watt felt that his brother deserved the title instead. “Aaron Donald is an absolutely incredible player. I love watching him play & he’s headed to the Hall of Fame without question. This has nothing to do with AD personally,” the Texans star wrote on Twitter. “This is me saying what my brother won’t. TJ played 1 less game and STILL led the NFL in every major category.”
T.J. Watt sent a scary message to the rest of the NFL without saying a single word
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Although he didn’t claim the Defensive Player of the Year crown on Saturday Night, T.J. Watt still won the Deacon Jones Award for leading the NFL in sacks. The Steelers linebacker, though, didn’t go home happily.
Like his older brother, Watt took to Twitter after the NFL Awards to share his perspective. Unlike J.J., however, T.J. sent his message without saying a single word.
Instead, the linebacker simply tweeted an image of Michael Jordan from The Last Dance, saying, “…and I took that personally.” While that moment from the series has become a bit of a meme, you don’t need to be an expert on MJ or social media trends to understand the message.
During the 2020 campaign, T.J. Watt proved that he could pressure the quarterback as well as anyone else in professional football. If he’s going even harder in 2021 to prove a point, things can get even scarier for everyone on the Pittsburgh Steelers schedule.