Steelers News

Mike Tomlin Says Nothing ‘Mystical’ About T.J. Watt’s Playmaking; It’s Hard Work, Talent, And Focus

Coming into Sunday’s game, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ T.J. Watt came into the week ranked tied for sixth in the league for sacks with five, which he’s tallied in four games played. He added two to his total last night, which now has him tied with the Cleveland Browns’ Myles Garrett for the most in the NFL at seven.

And they could have hardly come at bigger moments. Both sacks came in overtime, the second ending in a strip sack, the fumble recovered in field goal territory and directly leading to a Steelers victory. He is the first player in the ‘sack era’ beginning in 1982 to record two sacks and a forced fumble during an overtime period, according to Stats by STATS.

Nobody around him, however, bats an eye when they see him do these special things, because they know what goes into it. “I don’t think anybody is surprised by his ability to deliver in those moments”, head coach Mike Tomlin said in his post-game press conference, for example.

“Yes, he’s a great player, but it’s about what he’s willing to do in terms of preparation and conditioning himself and all those things”, he continued. “It’s not anything mystical about that playmaking, man. We’re talking about a guy that’s really talented, that works extremely hard, that’s hyper-focused, prepared physically and mentally. And so, that’s what happens”.

These are all the things that convinced the Steelers’ front office that Watt was worth not only becoming the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history, but also to break with long-held negotiating principles, particularly regarding guaranteed money in deals, and specifically fully guaranteed money beyond the first season.

Watt ended up getting a deal worth $28 million per season, and which included $80 million in total guarantees, which includes the entirety of his first three seasons, starting with the 2021 season. In case anybody was worried about him phoning it in after getting paid, well…I hope you watched that overtime period.

Meanwhile, his older brother, J.J. Watt, is still going his thing, only now for the Arizona Cardinals, certainly getting out of Dodge at the right time. The Cardinals are the lone remaining unbeaten team, and he sacked Baker Mayfield yesterday.

But we all know who’s time it is. T.J. is the man. He’s being paid for it, but as he said after he first signed, he’s built for this. And right now, who can doubt him? There are few who can do what he does.

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