Free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick has been named the Pittsburgh Steeler’s 2022 MVP, as voted on by his teammates.
Fitzpatrick’s selection comes as little surprise. With T.J. Watt missing half the season, Fitzpatrick has been one of the faces of the defense. His six interceptions this season are a career high and he’s made several clutch plays with game-sealing INTs against the Atlanta Falcons and Baltimore Ravens. Those six picks also are tied for most in the league. If he can stay on top through Week 18, he’ll become the first Steeler to hold at least a share of the interception title since Mel Blount in 1975.
He also scored the team’s first points of the season, a pick-six of Cincinnati Bengals’ QB Joe Burrow on the second snap of the year. His 31-yard return is still technically the team’s longest TD of the year, longer than any offensive score the Steelers have had. He also helped save the game by blocking the game-winning extra point, sending the game to overtime where the Steelers would win 23-20.
For the season, Fitzpatrick has recorded 86 total tackles with those six interceptions. He’s broken up eleven passes, tying a career high while chipping in one tackle for loss and one QB hit.
Earlier in the year, Fitzpatrick was elected to his third-career Pro Bowl. He’s also a safe bet to make his third-career All-Pro team, too, though that won’t be announced until later in the year.
Acquired from the Miami Dolphins for a first round pick, he’s proven to be one of the best trades in Steelers’ history. A professional on and off the field, he remains one of the league’s top safeties and having just turned 26, will likely remain in that category for several years.
Fitzpatrick is the first Steelers’ safety to be voted team MVP since Troy Polamalu in 2010. It marks four straight years the MVP has gone to a defensive player. T.J. Watt won the award in three straight years from 2019 to 2021.
It’s a well-deserved award for Fitzpatrick. Check out some of his top plays from the year below.