The Steelers will start their season in two days against the San Francisco 49ers, and with the start of the season, two stars are chasing franchise history. T.J. Watt and Cam Heyward are chasing the all-time franchise sack record. Currently held back James Harrison with 80.5 sacks for his career, Heyward is only two sacks off the record while Watt is three sacks off the record.
The chances are this gets broken early in the season, and it is a race of who will to it first. Heyward continues to prove that he has found the fountain of youth, posting another 10 sack season a year ago. However, if he wants to beat Watt to the record, missing practice with a stomach ailment on Thursday is something to watch. Still, it is expected Heyward will play. Watt needs no introduction and many believe that he could be a darkhorse contender to win Defensive Player of the Year.
Injuries held Watt back last year, or otherwise the record likely would already be in his possession. But the theatrics of the 2023 season will surround this chase from both stars. The two defensive captains and crux of the defense, Heyward and Watt terrorize offenses week in and week out. The fascinating thing about both players is their different paths to this point. Heyward sat for the first two years of his career before taking off. Meanwhile, Watt played right away and took the NFL by storm as a young edge rusher right away.
The Steelers know that they have two special talents there, and whoever ends up winning that race will own the record. By the end of his career, no one should be close to Watt. Despite being only 28, he is on an Earth-shattering pace in terms of those franchise sack numbers. In just this short amount of time, he is already knocking on the doorstep to smash that all-time franchise sack record. Heyward’s production after the age of 30 might be equally as impressive. 33.5 of his 78.5 sacks came after the age of 30.