Last week, we wrote about the gap that exists between T.J. Watt and the field when it comes to QB hits over the last two years. It’s Tiger Woods in-his-prime type of stuff, Watt so far ahead of the next guy behind him.
Today, I want to offer an even crazier stat.
Since sacks became official in 1982, TJ Watt has a chance to do something only Reggie White has ever done. Over the last three seasons, 2018 to 2020, Watt has notched at least 13 sacks each year. Exactly 13 in 2018, 14.5 in 2019, and a league-leading 15 of them last season. Since ’82, only 10 players have ever had three consecutive years of 13+ sacks.
Only Reggie White has done it four times.
Here’s the ultra-impressive list of guys who’ve done it three straight years.
Jacob Green (1983-1985)
Mark Gastineau (1983-1985)
Dexter Manley (1984-1986)
Kevin Greene (1988-1990)
Derrick Thomas (1990-1992)
Simon Fletcher (1991-1993)
Jared Allen (2007-2009)
Chandler Jones (2017-2019)
TJ Watt (2018-Present)
White, because, well, he’s Reggie White, did it four straight seasons twice in his Hall of Fame career: 1985 to 1988 and then again 1990 to 1993.
It’s possible there were players before individual sacks became an official stat to also achieve this feat. Deacon Jones, Coy Bacon, Joe Greene. But in 14-game seasons where teams threw the ball a lot less, I’m not convinced there was anyone else, especially given how short that list is over the past nearly 40 years.
It already puts Watt in rare territory. He’s the first Steeler to officially do it and since 1994, only the third player in the league to hit this streak. Barring injury, I like Watt’s chances of making it four in a row. His game has only improved, now one if not the top pass rusher off the edge. In a 17-game season, he’ll have an extra game to hit that mark.
I know we’ve said and written about it plenty over the past year but Watt is on a legitimate Hall of Fame track. When you’re in the same breath as Greene, Thomas, and the Minister of Defense, you’re doing something not just great but something special. Five years after Watt retires, I’m liking his chances of being inducted into Canton, Ohio. And if he hits 13 sacks in 2021, this will be a pretty cool stat to bring back up.