Connect with us

Steelers News

T.J. Watt Advocates for Clarity in DPOY Voting Process

T.J. Watt wants more clarity on the Defensive Player of the Year voting process after being snubbed in favor of Myles Garrett.



Pittsburgh Steelers OLB T.J. Watt
Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt during a game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Dec. 23, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt lost out on the Defensive Player of the Year vote two weeks ago to Cleveland’s Myles Garrett.

Watt finished in second with 19 first-place votes, but it was not enough to earn it over Garrett, who won by 25 points on the voting scale.

Watt skipped the NFL Honors ceremony altogether despite being in Las Vegas. While other attendees, including Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, were appearing on the red carpet before the 9 p.m. Eastern awards show, Watt posted a picture of his wife, Dani, with the caption “Playing Hooky” on Instagram.

In the past, immediately following his losing the award, Watt shrugged off most of the drama and said that he would use it as motivation.

“Yeah, I think that’s up for everybody to kind of debate,” Watt said. “It was just one of those things where if people were seeing why I wasn’t there, I wanted to let them know why I wasn’t there. And it was a situation where it is something I’m truly used to at this point, so I’m using it as motivating going forward.”

But Watt talked with Pardon My Take, and listed what he wants in the future from the voting. Specifically, Watt hopes that he gets more clarity on the voting process, which he considers far too murky at this point.

“I don’t have a problem with any of the players,” Watt said. “Everybody’s phenomenal, Myles, Micah, they’re great players, don’t get me wrong. It’s just that the voting, I want more clarity on how it all comes. You work so hard and when you’re not able to come away from a season with the Super Bowl, you like to fall back on something that the hard work is worth it. And to not get that is a sting, but at the end of the day, it’s more motivation. It’s a legacy thing, it really is. It’s now why we play, but it comes along with it.”

If you are looking at why Garrett won the award, you will not find it in traditional counting stats. Watt, who won the award in 2021, was the most statistically dominant defensive player in the NFL this season by traditioning counting stats. Watt had 19 sacks this season and set a modern NFL record as the first player to lead the league in sacks for a third time since it became an official statistic back in the early 1980s. Deacon Jones of the Los Angeles Rams unofficially led the league in sacks five times the 1960s. Watt also led the NFL in sacks in 2020 and 2021, when he tied the all-time single-season sack records, drawing even with Michael Strahan’s mark of 22.5.

But Garrett won in metrics like Pass Rush Win Rate and Pressure Rate while being double-teamed at a higher rate. That led to Garrett securing his first Defensive Player of the Year Award over Watt. For those Pro Football Focus metrics, Pass Rush Win Rate is where Garrett soared above the league. Garrett was graded as having a 27.3% win rate, the highest in the league. He was also assigned 60 hurries compared to 47 for Watt.