T.J. Watt praises his brother, thinks J.J. was better in his prime

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt (90) laughs before a game against the Seattle Seahawks at Acrisure Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt (90) laughs before a game against the Seattle Seahawks at Acrisure Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports /

Steelers star T.J. Watt recently had an interview with The Pivot Podcast where he expressed why he thinks J.J. was at a different level than him at his prime. 

It’s impossible not to like this guy. No matter what questions people ask T.J. Watt or what situation he’s in, the Pittsburgh Steelers star always seems to say the right thing. Recently, Watt had an interview with The Pivot Podcast, and a controversial question was brought up, “Who’s better: T.J. or J.J?”

Watt had a chance to puff up his chest. He has been a First-Team All-Pro player for three consecutive seasons, he brought home the AP Defensive Player of the Year award in 2021 and tied Michael Strahan for the all-time single-season sack record last year.

Yet, despite his impressive accolades by the age of 27, T.J. Watt showed nothing but humility as he praised his brother and put him on a pedestal above himself. Here was his response:

"I want people to understand how great my brother truly was in his prime. And I think that it gets lost in todays, and I know he would be upset if I said this, but I think it truly is. You go back and you look at it, you watch the film. The guy was frickin unstopable; like absolutely unstopable. He’ll never say it, but it’s like I think people need to go back and look at that and be like ‘the guy was doing incredible things for four or five years,’ and I think he can still play at a high level. I think I’m too early in my career to compare myself to him at the moment, honestly.”"

Spoken like a true professional. Most star players — especially with the accolades he has earned early in his career — think they are the best. While T.J. Watt must know internally how dominant he truly is, he never lets his ego get the best of him.

Instead, Watt puffs up his older brother — calling him ‘freakin unstoppable’ in his prime before his injuries. I’m sure if you asked J.J. Watt, he would have equally as high of praise for T.J. I’m not sure that Watt could have responded to this question from The Pivot Podcast better than he did.

Could Steelers T.J. Watt be better than his brother?

This is a question that won’t be going away any time soon. If you look at the first five seasons of each of their careers, J.J. Watt and T.J. Watt are two of the most productive defensive players in the modern era of football. If T.J. can stay healthier than his older brother, it certainly stands to reason that he might be able to surpass him in terms of productivity.

I will say, however, that I agree with Watt’s assessment of J.J. He truly was an unstoppable football player for a good stretch of his career — it’s why he was a three-time AP Defensive Player of the Year recipient over a four-year stretch from 2012-2015.

I won’t say that this achievement is impossible for T.J. to obtain, but it’s going to be remarkably challenging. Most players can only dream of earning DPOY honors once in their career. This would mean that Watt would not only need to stay healthy but would also need an outstanding stretch for the remainder of his prime to have a chance to enter this category.

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T.J. Watt may very well be the new best defensive player in the NFL, and it’s possible that his reign on top could last for a little while. However, the Pittsburgh Steelers star certainly isn’t letting his superstar status go to his head. It’s one of the things I love about him.