When you think of the first family of football in the NFL today, you probably immediately think of the Watt family. On Sunday, J.J. Watt, T.J. Watt, and Derek Watt will all take to the same field for the first time in their careers when the Pittsburgh Steelers host the Houston Texans. From growing up in Pewaukee, Wisconsin to playing on the biggest stage in football, Sunday’s game will be a historic event.
If you didn't know how they all got to this point let me break down each of the brothers:
The eldest Watt brother at 31 years of age, J.J. broke into the NFL after leaving Central Michigan university to change positions and walk-on to the university of Wisconsin. The 11th overall pick of the 2011 draft quickly established himself as a force in the NFL, winning the leagues defensive player of the year award in his sophomore season (2012), an award Watt would take home on two other occasions (2014 & 2015). J.J’s 2016 season was cut short from a herniated disc, his 2017 season cut short by a broken leg, and in 2019 had his season limited by a torn pec. Again healthy J.J. Watt looks to return to dominant form once again.
The middle Watt brother is a 27 year old fullback, and special teams ace. Derek attended the university of Wisconsin from 2011-2015 and was part of a prolific offense that saw Melvin Gordon crush Wisconsin rushing records. Derek was drafted to the San Diego Chargers in 2016 198th overall, and had a solid career in San Diego/Los Angeles. Derek signed a three year deal with the Steelers in the 2020 offseason. The deal reunited Derek and little brother T.J. Watt who were college teammates. Derek doesn't put up the earth shattering pass rushing stats like his brothers, but his contributions to his teams have been immeasurable.
The youngest member of the Watt family at 25 years old, T.J. actually started his collegiate career as a tight-end, and like big brother J.J., T.J. made the jump to the defensive side of the football to rush the passer. In just one season as a starting linebacker at the university of Wisconsin, T.J. amassed 11.5 sacks and was selected 30th overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2017. In three professional season T.J. Watt has been named to two Pro Bowl teams and was named both a first and second team All-Pro in 2019. T.J. Watt is one of the early favorite’s to win the 2020 defensive player of the year award.
Odds and ends:
J.J. Watt is just two sacks away from having 100 in his career. Little brother, T.J. is three sacks away from 40 career sacks. Derek Watt is one tackle away from 40 on his career, and one rushing yard away from 50!
Biggest Watt questions heading into the game:
- Will Mike Tomlin throw T.J. out for an offensive snap so all three brothers can play on the same snap?
- Derek Watt has been on the field for 11 rushing attempts totaling 88 yards, will he see an uptick in offensive playing time?
- Will J.J. Watt play another snap as a short yardage tight end in an attempt to score in this game?
- Who’s jersey will the Watt parents rep for this game?
Will older brother J.J. get the better of his younger brothers or will T.J. and Derek gang up and defeat their big brother?