T.J. Watt named Steelers MVP for the third consecutive season

Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt (90). Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt (90). Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

T.J. Watt has had a remarkable 2021 campaign. Here’s how he became the first player in Pittsburgh Steelers history to earn team MVP three seasons in a row.

There was a lot going against T.J. Watt in 2021. After missing all of training camp and preseason while awaiting a new deal, Watt was unfortunately hampered with injuries much of the year. This caused him to miss two full games in 2021 and exit the contest early in four others.

However, despite dealing with injuries to his groin, hip, and knee, landing on the COVID list, and missing loads of practice time, it didn’t seem to matter. When healthy, Watt has been as dominant as ever. It was to nobody’s surprise that he was recently named as the Pittsburgh Steelers Team MVP — an honor voted on by his teammates.

With this award in 2021, Watt becomes the first Steelers player to ever win Team MVP for three consecutive seasons. This award dates all the way back to 1969 when Roy Jefferson was first named Team MVP of the Steelers. Only Antonio Brown (4) has been named the Steelers MVP more than Watt in Pittsburgh’s history, according to the team’s official website.

Watt was clearly the most deserving Steelers player

There are other players on the roster who have had a big hand in helping a mostly lackluster unit have a competitive season this year. As always, Cameron Heyward was one of the most consistent players on the team, while Diontae Johnson had a breakout season on the offensive side of the ball. However, Watt was the only player deserving of this award this year.

In his fifth NFL season, Watt is making history thanks to his remarkable pace. The All-Pro edge defender has compiled 21.5 sacks over the course of the season, despite playing just 14 games and missing time in others, via Pro Football Reference. Yet, he will have a chance to break the all-time single-season sack record set by Michael Strahan (22.5) in 2001.

Watt’s impressive 2021 season only adds to his stellar resume, and he has now been the most productive defensive player in the NFL over the past three seasons in four major statistical categories.

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T.J. Watt is clearly on the fast track to the Hall of Fame at this rate and, though 2021 will be Ben Roethlisberger’s final season with the team, the Steelers MVP award couldn’t have gone to anyone else. Watt’s teammates have made the right choice for three years in a row, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes it four in 2022.