As honorary guests filed in and entertainment acts warmed up to take the stage for the 2024 NFL Honors ceremony, T.J. Watt was nowhere to be found. The Pittsburgh Steelers was one of the five finalists named for the Defensive Player of the Year award leading up to Thursday night's big event.
Then something unforeseen happened. A quietly absent T.J. Watt tipped his hat that he would not be in attendance with a subliminal post on 'X' that read, "Nothing I'm not used to." This immediately got fans talking and piecing the puzzle together that he wasn't going to be taking any hardware home.
Watt also shared an Instagram post that included a picture of his wife, Dani Rhodes, on Las Vegas Boulevard and a caption that read, "Playing Hooky."
Despite being in Vegas, Watt didn't show up to the 2024 NFL Honors ceremony... and it's pretty clear as to why. The Pittsburgh Steelers star apparently heard that he was not going to be crowned the Defensive Player of the Year from the 2023 season, and he wanted no part in the festivities.
Some fans and bloggers have praised Watt for his decision to bail -- essentially a way to stick it to Associated Press voters who thought he didn't deserve a second DPOY award based on his performance from the 2023 season. But this decision was a bit head-scratching, and dare I say, perhaps even a bit childish.
T.J. Watt should have attended NFL Honors in support of Cameron Heyward
Just a few hours after Watt decided to play hooky, his friend, teammate, and fellow team captain received the most respectable honor at the awards ceremony. Cameron Heyward was named the Walter Payton Man of the Year for the work that he has done with his charity, the Heyward House Foundation. If you ask Cam, I'm sure he will tell you that this was the single greatest moment of his NFL career... and his long-time friend wasn't there to see it.
If Watt did miss the ceremony due to frustration from not being named the Defensive Player of the Year, I understand where he is coming from. His production was once again off the charts, and he became the first player in NFL history to earn the sack title in three separate seasons.
At the same time, part of me thinks that Watt should have toughed it out. I know it wouldn't have been easy to watch Myles Garrett take the stage for the award he thought should have been his, but would it have been that hard to share a social media post that said 'Congrats on a great season, Myles!" instead of not showing up at all?
I know T.J. Watt is a good guy. I talked to him personally in an interview last year, and I think that he is extremely down-to-earth and humble for a player in his position. I'm not about to start questioning Watt's character, but I do think there was probably a better way to handle the news that he wasn't going to be the Defensive Player of the Year from the 2023 season.