The NFL tries to promote the idea that Football Is Family™. It’s good marketing, but there is also a layer of truth to it. There is a certain brotherhood amount players that transcends teams. Then, of course, sometimes football is literally family, as in the case of the Watts, of which the Pittsburgh Steelers now host a member of the clan.
That would be T.J. Watt, the 30th-overall selection in the 2017 NFL Draft by the Steelers—and the younger brother of J.J. Watt of the Texans and Derek Watt of the Chargers. And little brother did his older brothers proud.
Both of them were watching—when they could—as T.J. played the first snaps of his NFL career, opening as the Steelers’ starting right outside linebacker during their preseason opener on Friday and seeing extensive playing time throughout the game.
And neither of them could help themselves on Twitter, even retweeting the Steelers’ own Twitter handle, simply because it was in praise of little brother.
This really isn’t a piece about football. I just think it’s really cool to see Watt’s older brothers getting so excited about little brother showing up. J.J. went with the all-eyes approach after T.J.’s first sack of the game, which came about 15 minutes after kickoff.
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) August 11, 2017
About an hour and a half into the game, Derek Tweeted about just coming out of meetings—remember, he is on the west coast—to see his little brother “killing it like I knew he would”. Both of them retweeted the Steelers and the NFL, sharing Tweets that highlighted T.J.’s night.
— Derek Watt (@DerekWatt34) August 12, 2017
Football is family, and for the Watt brothers, family is a critical part of their football experience, having grown up playing together. T.J. and J.J. will face off on opposite sides this December for the first time, however—though of course not directly against each other.
The Steelers rookie spent his downtime between the spring and training camp working with his brothers, preparing for his first season as a professional football player. They have passed down all their wisdom about what it takes to play in this game physically, mentally, and in any other way I’m sure they could think of.
So when they watch T.J. playing, they are also seeing the fruits of their labor coming to bear. And at the moment, it certainly appears as though they have an awful lot to be proud of.