The Pittsburgh Steelers already have one pair of brothers in the building with rookie safety Terrell Edmunds and his older brother, running back Trey Edmunds, the latter being on the practice squad. But Sunday will see two of their top starters reunite with their own brothers as they host the Los Angeles Chargers.
Maurkice and Mike Pouncey have gotten the opportunity to play against one another a few times already, and even got the play together during the Pro Bowl. T.J. Watt squared off against J.J. Watt’s Houston Texans last year, though J.J. was sidelined at the time. Sunday, T.J. faces his other brother, Derek Watt, the Chargers’ fullback.
The Watts’ parents make sure they go to their sons’ games, but two of them being in the same stadium at the same time is still new. T.J. joked that if they wanted to stay at his house “they better be” rooting for the Steelers, though he said they will actually be staying at a hotel.
T.J. had only one concern when it came to playing against his brother, and that was simply not to injure each other. “No cut blocks”, he said. “That’s the only thing. Just don’t go at his knees. Otherwise, everything’s fair”. As he said, “I don’t think in that split second you can determine who’s who” anyway.
As for the Pouncey brothers, the trash talk never stops, and Maurkice said that Mike has been picking up the pace now that he is in Los Angeles and the Chargers are doing well. In fact, they enter the game with a better record than the Steelers, even though Pittsburgh is poised to have a higher seeding.
“He’s having an opportunity now”, Maurkice said of his brother now playing with Philip Rivers and a legitimately explosive offense. “They really have a great team offensively and defensively, so he talks a little more trash now”.
But so does Maurkice, of course, who said that the Chargers would “definitely notice” the difference if he were lining up for them instead of Mike. “I’d take that team to the next level, baby”, he said.
The Pounceys are identical twins, though they declared for the draft one year apart. Maurkice was chosen by the Steelers in the first round in 2010. Mike went back for a year to improve his draft stock and was drafted slightly higher than his brother in 2011 by the Miami Dolphins.
Both J.J. and T.J. were first-round draft picks six years apart, but their middle brother, Derek, was a sixth-round pick. He came out one year earlier, in 2016, while T.J. was drafted in 2017.
I can’t help but wonder if it’s ever happened before that two teams would play each other in a game that would unite not one but two siblings in this way. Of course families have played together or against one another plenty of times, but to have two pairs of siblings in the same game? It’s surely at least very rare.