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T.J. Watt selected as PFWA’s 2021 Defensive Player of the Year

The Pro Football Writers of America have been giving the award since 1992 which usually aligns with the NFL’s selection

Baltimore Ravens v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The accolades continue to pile up for T.J. Watt and his outstanding 2021 season. On Wednesday, it was announced Watt was selected the Pro Football Writers of America’s choice for Defensive Player of the Year.

Since 1992, the Pro Football Writers of America, a group which consists of accredited reporters from each of the 32 NFL teams, has been giving the award. Over those 29 seasons, only four times has the player not gone on to win the NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Most recently, PFWA selected Calais Campbell of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2014 when Aaron Donald took home in the NFL‘s honor. In 2013, PFWA selected the Ram’s Robert Quinn while the NFL chose Luke Kuechly of the Carolina Panthers. In 2010, PFWA did not select Troy Polamalu who won the NFL‘s award but instead chose Clay Matthews. The final instance where the two awards did not lineup was a 1993 when Rod Woodson won the NFL‘s award while PFWA selected Bruce Smith.

With the NFL choosing two players from the Steelers to win Defensive Player of the Year in seasons they were not selected by the Pro Football Writers of America, the only member of the Pittsburgh Steelers to win both awards in the same season was James Harrison in 2008.

T.J. Watt brings home the award in 2021 after tying the NFL single-season sack record of 22.5. Watt also led the NFL with 21 tackles for loss and three fumble recoveries and also had five force fumbles and seven passes defensed on the season.

Watt’s selection of Defensive Player of the Year was also announced with Rams’ wide receiver Cooper Kupp receiving the Offensive Player the Year and Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers being selected as the Most Valuable Player

On behalf of BTSC, congratulations to T.J. Watt for yet another award as he waits for the NFL’s selection or Defensive Player of the Year on Thursday, February 10.