To this day, Troy Polamalu and Ed Reed are tied at the hip to one another. A fierce rivalry between two of the best safeties in the NFL was created from one of the NFL’s most bitter rivalries. In 2023, there’s a reincarnation of that debate in a similar rivalry. It’s the T.J. Watt and Myles Garrett debate. This works up fans from both sides, so much so that the players have heard it.
Joining the Pat McAfee Show on Tuesday, Garrett got asked about his thoughts. He has heard the murmurs, and he and Watt greatly respect one another. But he does not care, and if you know anything about Watt, he probably does not either. If either cares, it’s in a friendly competition.
“I’ve definitely heard the debate,” Garrett said. “Now whether I care, not really. I think TJ’s a helluva player, and he’s fun to watch. I have a lot of respect for defensive guys. I don’t care if he’s in my division or not.”
It’s almost hilarious how close both players are to each other from a statistical standpoint. They are tied in sacks, quarterback hits, and tackles for loss while being separated by just a few spots in pressures. They have elite seasons and are finally healthy; they get to duel it out every week.
As of two weeks ago, Watt earned the favorite odds for Defensive Player of the Year. But Myles Garrett is closing that gap. So is Raiders pass rusher Maxx Crosby, but each player continues to showcase why they are so valuable to each team. Watt and Garrett are the engines of defenses that anchor those AFC North teams.
Watt has put himself into elite company this season, and his last few seasons need no introduction. He had the most sacks in the league in 2020, when he had 15, and in 2021, when he tied Michael Strahan’s single-season NFL record with 22.5. He had just 5.5 in an injury-plagued 2022 season.
Watt became the second NFL player, alongside Lawrence Taylor to record seven interceptions and 70 sacks over their first seven NFL seasons when he snagged his seventh career pick against the Los Angeles Rams,
It’s nothing new for these two. While I’m sure they will be heavily debated for years to come, it’s better to watch greatness unfold every Sunday. These two will meet in Cleveland in a week and a half in a pivotal divisional clash.