We’re wrapping up the 2021 Pittsburgh Steelers’ awards with the final results. You’ve read several individual ballots from some of the Steelers Depot crew. Now, we’re putting all of them together from the entire team to see who the winners are.
A reminder of the categories: Offensive/Defensive MVP, Rookie of the Year, Biggest Surprise/Unsung Hero, Biggest Disappointment, Play of the Year, Coach of the Year, 2022 Player to Watch, Best Addition, and the Most Missed Player.
The results and winners from each category below:
Offensive MVP – NAJEE HARRIS
Harris is your clear winner in the Steelers’ Depot tally. A strong rookie season, highlighted by a fantastic 188-yard rushing performance in Week 17 to help beat the Cleveland Browns and push the Steelers into the playoffs. He had a solid season despite an underwhelming supporting cast, notably a brand new offensive line that had its fair share of growing pains, to say the least.
Here’s the voting results for Offensive MVP.
1. Najee Harris – 9
2. Ben Roethlisberger – 3
3. Diontae Johnson – 2
DEFENSIVE MVP – T.J. WATT
An obvious choice here by the Depot crew. Watt had a historic year, tying the official sack record with 22.5 of them this season. He should win Defensive Player of the Year and wins our MVP vote. Watt is on a Hall of Fame track, and by midway through next season, should own the Steelers’ career franchise sack record. Unreal.
Here’s the voting results for Defensive MVP.
1. T.J. Watt – 12
2. Cam Heyward – 2
BIGGEST SURPRISE/UNSUNG HERO – CHRIS BOSWELL
Boswell’s tremendous season wasn’t a surprise, but he certainly was an unsung hero for this team in retrospect. His consistency on 50+ yard field goals, 8/9 this season, especially at notoriously difficult Heinz Field helped the Steelers’ sluggish offense stay in and win a lot of games. Boswell is one of the league’s top kickers and part of a great AFC North trio alongside Justin Tucker and Evan McPherson.
Here’s the rest of the surprise/hero votes, which were a lot more varied than the MVP Awards.
1. Chris Boswell – 4
2. Chris Wormley – 3
3. Zach Gentry – 2
4. Cam Sutton – 1
4. Ray-Ray McCloud – 1
4. Cam Heyward – 1
4. Diontae Johnson – 1
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT – DEVIN BUSH
Bush was dealt a tough hand trying to come off a torn ACL and to his credit, he was ready for the start of the season. But he certainly struggled in his attempted return, stuck on blocks, playing too tentative, and not providing the splash he was drafted to do. His fifth-year option is almost certain to be declined, making 2022 the final year of his rookie contract.
Here’s the voting for biggest disappointment.
1. Devin Bush – 6
2. Chase Claypool – 2
2. Kendrick Green – 2
4. Kevin Dotson – 1
4. Isaiah Buggs – 1
4. Matt Canada/Adrian Klemm – 1
4. Joe Schobert – 1
PLAY OF THE YEAR – MINKAH FITZPATRICK FOURTH QUARTER BREAKUP
The one against the Baltimore Ravens that probably saved a Steelers’ win and their playoff hopes. Fitzpatrick made a great rally and breakup along the sideline on a pass intended for Hollywood Brown. An incredible play worth re-watching.
So many plays late in the Steelers' win easily forgotten with how bonkers the ending was. How about Minkah Fitzpatrick's breakup against Brown.
If he doesn't punch this ball out, Ravens have it at Pittsburgh's 48 with 25 seconds and two TOs. They win the game right there. pic.twitter.com/Wmz89h4pdS
— Alex Kozora (@Alex_Kozora) January 9, 2022
Fitzpatrick didn’t have massive INT numbers this season, but plays like that one don’t properly show up on the box score.
Here’s the other voting for Play of the Year. Lots of good choices here.
1. Minkah Fitzpatrick Ravens Breakup – 3
2. Ray-Ray McCloud Fourth Down Catch Vs. Ravens – 2
2. Najee Harris’ Game-Sealing TD Vs. Browns – 2
2. Joe Haden Fourth Down Tackle Vs. Titans – 2
5. Miles Killebrew Punt Block Vs. Bills – 1
5. Diontae Johnson TD Vs. Chargers – 1
5. Cam Sutton INT Vs. Ravens – 1
5. Chris Boswell Game-Winning FG Vs. Ravens – 1
5. Pat Freiermuth TD Catch Vs. Browns – 1
COACH OF THE YEAR – MIKE TOMLIN
Despite all the injuries and limitations this team went through, the counted-out Pittsburgh Steelers made the playoffs. Much of that is a credit to Tomlin’s perseverance and never-say-die attitude to keep the team battling week after week. Tomlin may have his toughest challenge ever though in 2022 and is now the clear face of the franchise.
Voting results for Coach of the Year:
1. Mike Tomlin – 5
2. Alfredo Roberts – 3
3. Teryl Austin/Grady Brown – 2
3. Karl Dunbar – 2
5. Matt Tomsho – 1
2022 PLAYER TO WATCH – TE PAT FREIERMUTH
Freiermuth had a wildly successful rookie season, especially for a tight end. He tied the franchise record for most touchdowns by a rookie tight end with seven trips to the end zone. Freiermuth logged more snaps than anticipated thanks to Eric Ebron’s season-ending injury, but he met the moment and is the obvious, promising starter in 2022.
Full voting for the 2022 Player to Watch:
1. Pat Freiermuth – 3
2. Isaiahh Loudermilk – 2
2. Dan Moore Jr. – 2
2. Tre Norwood – 2
2. Montravius Adams – 2
6. Zach Gentry – 1
6. Ahkello Witherspoon – 1
6. Najee Harris – 1
BEST ADDITION – CB AHKELLO WITHERSPOON
Witherspoon looked like a dud of a trade mid-way through the year, acquired from Seattle right before the regular season began. But he was an important piece down the stretch following Joe Haden’s foot sprain that caused him to miss several games. Witherspoon played well in the Steelers’ scheme that was a more aggressive and man-heavy system, finishing as the team leader with three interceptions. Now it’ll be a matter of whether or not the team can re-sign him this offseason.
Here’s the full voting tally for the Steelers’ best addition:
1. Ahkello Witherspoon – 7
2. Montravius Adams – 4
3. Najee Harris – 2
4. Dan Moore Jr. – 1
MOST MISSED – STEPHON TUITT
Tuitt unfortunately didn’t play a snap this year following the tragic death of his brother this offseason combined with a knee surgery. A year removed from a career-high 11 sacks, he couldn’t build on that excellent 2021 season. It’s unknown if he’ll return in 2022.
Other players who were awarded votes for Most Missed:
1. Stephon Tuitt – 7
2. Tyson Alualu – 5
3. David DeCastro – 1
3. JuJu Smith-Schuster – 1
3. 2020 O-Line: 1
3. Mike Hilton – 1