Steelers’ TJ Watt has ‘simple’ goal in mind after fantastic 2021 season

Steelers’ TJ Watt has ‘simple’ goal in mind after fantastic 2021 season

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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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T.J. Watt of the Pittsburgh Steelers recovers the ball and runs for a touchdown in the second quarter of the game against the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Wild Card Playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri, on Jan. 16, 2022.

T.J. Watt of the Pittsburgh Steelers recovers the ball and runs for a touchdown in the second quarter of the game against the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Wild Card Playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri, on Jan. 16, 2022. (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images)

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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Watt poses for a portrait after winning the Deacon Jones Sack Leader Award during the NFL Honors show at YouTube Theater in Inglewood, California, on Feb. 10, 2022.

Watt poses for a portrait after winning the Deacon Jones Sack Leader Award during the NFL Honors show at YouTube Theater in Inglewood, California, on Feb. 10, 2022. (Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

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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Watt waves during the second half of the 2022 NFL Pro Bowl at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Feb. 6, 2022.

Watt waves during the second half of the 2022 NFL Pro Bowl at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Feb. 6, 2022. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

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.

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