Men are from Mars. Women are from Venus.
TJ Watt might be from a galaxy far, far away.
He’s been one of the league’s best defenders this season, if not the best defender in football. And Mike Tomlin isn’t always convinced he’s human.
During his Tuesday press conference, Tomlin was asked what makes Watt so special.
“TJ is visiting from another planet, to be quite honest with you,” he said via the team’s YouTube channel. “He has freakishly unique talent coupled with freakishly unique work habits and mindset, and it produces what you guys witnessed every week. Which in my opinion, is defensive player of the year quality.”
Watt has registered a league-leading 15 sacks this season. That’s 1.5 more than second place, currently occupied by Aaron Donald. Should Watt hold onto that top spot by the end of next week, he’ll become only the second Steeler to ever (since sacks became official in 1982) to lead the NFL in sacks, joining the late Kevin Greene, whose 14 in 1994 paced the league.
As tweeted out by the Steelers the other day, Watt is tops in the league in several other categories, too.
— Burt Lauten (@SteelersPRBurt) December 28, 2020
He’s also just one sack shy of tying James Harrison’s single-season record for most sacks by a Steeler. Harrison had 16 back in 2008 though that was only fourth best in the league. Should Watt register at least a half-sack in the finale against the Browns (it’s unclear if he’ll even play), he’ll become one of just six players in NFL history to have 50+ sacks in their first four years.
As Tomlin noted, and as we’ve discussed many times before, Watt is what you get when you combine equal parts talent and work ethic. Few guys put in the film study that Watt does. He’s found ways to take advantage of this pandemic-ridden year, relying on TV tape more than ever to listen to QB cadence and any other verbal clues that don’t get picked up on audio-less coaches tape.
All that leads to a player more than deserving of Defensive Player of the Year. Watt is likely the frontrunner right now though some will try to make the case for players like Aaron Donald, Myles Garrett, or Xavien Howard. The award winner will be announced right before the Super Bowl. The last Steeler to win it was Troy Polamalu in 2010.
Hopefully Watt will win. And take the trophy back to his home planet.