T.J. Watt knows the history of Pittsburgh Steelers linebackers. Many of those legendary linebackers have multiple championship rings.
He doesn’t have a playoff victory yet.
“We’ve got to win a Super Bowl,” Watt said.
“Simple as that.”
Watt had an incredible 2021 season as he played in 15 of the team’s 17 regular season games. He was the named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year, named to his fourth Pro Bowl and earned his third All-Pro selection.
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The 27-year-old tied New York Giants legend and Hall of Fame inductee Michael Strahan’s record for sacks in a single season (22.5).
Watt also led the league in tackles for loss while forcing five fumbles and deflecting seven passes.
The Steelers snuck into the playoffs last year and matched up with the Kansas City Chiefs. The Steelers held an early lead in that game on Watt’s fumble recovery for a touchdown, but it was all downhill from there as the defense ran out of gas in the 42-21 loss.
Pittsburgh lost two key components heading into the upcoming season: Ben Roethlisberger retired and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster signed with the Chiefs in the offseason.
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The Steelers brought in quarterback Mitch Trubisky on a two-year contract. After leaving the Chicago Bears, Trubisky had signed with the Buffalo Bills last offseason, where he backed up star quarterback Josh Allen.
With their first-round pick, the Steelers selected Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett to try and find the long-term replacement for Roethlisberger.
Last year, the Steelers’ defense gave up the 10th most points per game and scored the 11th fewest points per game in the league, and still finished with a 9-7-1 record and second place in the AFC North.
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Entering his sixth year in the NFL, Watt knows the competition within the AFC North has gotten stronger. Being two of the three longest-tenured players on Pittsburgh’s roster, Watt and fellow veteran Cameron Heyward are tasked with being the leaders of the defense.
Last year, the Steelers gave Watt one of the richest defensive contracts in NFL history. They believe Watt can help bring the team their seventh Super Bowl title and first since the 2008-2009 season.