Pittsburgh Steelers edge rusher T.J. Watt is widely considered the odds-on favorite to win the NFL‘s Defensive Player of the Year award. After the season he had, it’s not that surprising.
Of course, we won’t learn whether or not he actually won until the league holds its annual NFL Honors show, which this year will be held the Thursday before the Super Bowl (Feb. 10). Watt’s Steelers teammate Minkah Fitzpatrick, though, has some thoughts on a potential reason Watt wouldn’t win.
“It’s rigged for sure if he doesn’t win,” Fitzpatrick said Tuesday, according to ESPN’s Brooke Pryor.
Watt finished the regular season with a record-tying 22.5 sacks, putting him in company with former New York Giants rush man Michael Strahan. Although this was the first-ever 17-game regular season, Watt missed two games. So, it’s not like he only broke the record because he had some extra time. He did it in 15 games.
It’s the second consecutive season that Watt led the NFL in sacks, after he finished with 15 of them (also in 15 games) in 2020. (He also led the league in tackles for loss for the second straight year.) It was also his fourth consecutive season with double-digit sacks. He’s yet to win a Defensive Player of the Year trophy in his career, though, as the award has mostly been dominated by Aaron Donald.
Donald is one of the other top contenders for the award this year, along with Myles Garrett, Micah Parsons, and Trevon Diggs, among several others. Watt, though, is widely expected to win. Given his production, it’s no wonder his teammate thinks the only reason he wouldn’t, is due to some sort of chicanery.