Pittsburgh Steelers Defensive End T.J. Watt Declines to Compare Himself to Brother J.J. Watt

by Nick Geddes

Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end T.J. Watt doesn’t want to be compared to his brother, J.J. Watt. At least not yet.

On the surface, that seems hard to do seeing that T.J. just tied the single-season sack record last season with 22.5, in just 15 games. T.J., who is six years younger than J.J., has likely been getting the comparisons his entire life, but doesn’t feel his career stacks up — yet.

T.J. Watt was asked recently who on the Pivot Podcast who is the better player and quickly conceded to his older brother.

“This is like a real thing. I do think it’s misconstrued…I want people to understand how great my brother truly was in his prime,” T.J. said. “I think it gets lost today, and I know he’d be upset if I said this, but I think it truly is. You go back, and you look, you watch the film, the guy was frickin’ unstoppable. Absolutely unstoppable.

“He’ll never say it, but it’s like, I think people need to go back and look at that. The guy was doing incredible things for four or five years, and I think he can still play at a high level. I think I’m too early in my career to compare myself to him at the moment, honestly.”

T.J. Watt is Right; J.J. Watt is One of the Most Dominant Players of All-Time

J.J. Watt, now an Arizona Cardinal, is a three-time AP Defensive Player of the Year (2012, 2014, 2015). In 2015, he nearly became the first defensive player since Lawrence Taylor in 1986 to win the AP NFL MVP Award, finishing second behind then Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. From 2012-15, he racked up 69.0 sacks and 119 tackles for loss.

Injuries, unfortunately, derailed his career with the Houston Texans. He has played in eight or fewer games in four of the past six years.

T.J. may not want to admit it, but he’s on the trajectory to be a future Hall of Famer like his brother. In just five seasons, he’s accumulated 72.0 sacks and 150 quarterback hits. A three-time All-Pro selection, T.J. Watt was named the 2021 AP Defensive Player of the Year. The 72.0 sacks are third-most all-time to start a player’s first five seasons in the NFL. That’s only been eclipsed by Reggie White and of course, T.J.’s brother, J.J.