TJ Watt knows the history of Pittsburgh Steelers linebackers. Many of those legendary linebackers have multiple championship rings.
He has yet to have a playoff victory.
“We have to win the Super Bowl,” Watt said.
“That’s easy enough.”
Watt had an outstanding 2021 season as he played in 15 of the team’s 17 regular season games. He was 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 hits 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 made the playoffs last year and were tied with the Kansas City Chiefs. The Steelers took an early lead in that game on Watt’s fumble recovery for a touchdown, but it was deep from there as the defense ran out of gas in a 42-21 loss.
Pittsburgh lost two key pieces for 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 signed quarterback Mitch Trubisky to a two-year contract. After leaving the Chicago Bears, Trubisky 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 and tried to find a long-term replacement for Roethlisberger.
Last year, the Steelers defense gave up the 10th most points per game and 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 in the AFC North has only gotten stronger. As two of the three longest-tenured players on Pittsburgh’s roster, Watt and fellow veteran Cameron Hayward have been tasked with being leaders on defense.
Last year, the Steelers gave Watt one of the richest defensive deals in NFL history. They believe Watt can help lead the team to their seventh Super Bowl title and first since the 2008-2009 season.