NFL Honors: TJ Watt wins Defensive Player of the Year

T.J. Watt of the Pittsburgh Steelers reacts after a sack against the Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field on Dec. 05, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

T.J. Watt has made it a brother act for AP Defensive Player of the Year.

Pittsburgh’s All-Pro edge rusher who tied the NFL sacks record with 22 1/2, joined older brother J.J. – both Wisconsin Badgers alumni – in taking the award at NFL Honors on Thursday night.

The Steelers star received 42 votes from a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the league, far outdistancing Dallas rookie linebacker Micah Parsons (five) and three-time winner Aaron Donald (three).

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Watt, a unanimous All-Pro selection this season, follows his brother, who was the top defensive player in 2012, ’14 and ’15 with Houston.

Although he missed three games, Watt still got to the sacks mark set by Hall of Famer Michael Strahan — and Watt didn’t need Brett Favre taking a dive for the final sack. In all, Watt made 64 tackles despite battling an assortment of injuries.

Not surprisingly, given Pittsburgh’s history on defense — the Steel Curtain and all that — Watt is the seventh Steeler to earn the award. He joins Joe Greene (1974), Mel Blount (1975), Jack Lambert (1976), Rod Woodson (1993), James Harrison (2008) and Troy Polamalu (2010).

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