On Thursday the Pittsburgh Steelers announced that T.J. Watt’s teammates have voted him Team MVP for the second year in a row. The outcome of the vote can hardly be considered a surprise. After all, Watt is arguably having a better season than he did in 2019, when he finished third in Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY) voting. And it was only yesterday that Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin publicly sang his praises.
“T.J. is visiting from another planet, to be quite honest with you,” began Tomlin. “He has freakishly unique talent coupled with freakishly unique work habits and mindset, and it produces what you guys witness every week, which in my opinion, is Defensive Player of the Year quality.”
Indeed, Watt is currently considered the odds-on favorite to win DPOY this year, thanks to a season that has seen him produce 53 total tackles, 23 tackles for loss and 41 quarterback hits, not to mention seven passes defensed, two forced fumbles and an interception. He also has 15 sacks, equivalent to the sack production of the Tennessee Titans.
As for the Team MVP award, Watt is the first Steelers player to receive the honor in back-to-back seasons since linebacker James Harrison did so in 2007 and 2008. He’s also the sixth player in franchise history to win the award in consecutive years, following in the footsteps of Harrison, wide receiver Hines Ward (2002, 2003), linebacker Levon Kirkland (1998, 1999), running back Jerome Bettis (1996, 1997) and quarterback Terry Bradshaw (1977, 1978).
Ben Roethlisberger: Winner of ‘The Chief’ Award (2020)
Meanwhile, on Wednesday the Steelers announced that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is the winner of ‘The Chief’ Award for 2020, which is a product of the Pittsburgh Chapter of Pro Football Writers of America.
‘The Chief’ Award was established in honor of Steelers founder Arthur J. Rooney, Sr., and is presented annually to a member of the organization that best exemplifies the spirit of cooperation with the media.
This is the second time Roethlisberger has won the award, with the first time coming in 2010.
Chase Claypool: Winner of the Joe Greene Award
Last but not least, Steelers rookie wide receiver Chase Claypool has been named the winner of the Joe Greene Great Performance Award, which is presented to the team’s top rookie.
Claypool, 22, was the team’s first selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, taken in the second round with the 49th overall pick. In 15 games (5 starts) he has 57 receptions for 772 yards and eight touchdown catches, plus 10 carries for 16 yards and two more touchdowns.
In Week 5, Claypool scored four touchdowns in a 38-29 win over the Philadelphia Eagles, which earned him AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors.
He’s the first rookie in team history to score four touchdowns in a game, and only the third player in team history to do so—the first since wide receiver Roy Jefferson in 1968.
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