The NFL awards came and went Saturday night, and the most controversial decision was on the defensive side of the ball.
Los Angeles Rams superstar Aaron Donald took home his third Defensive Player of the Year Award, moving him into a tie with Lawrence Taylor and J.J. Watt for the most of all time. Normally, the game’s most dominant defensive player playing on the game’s most dominant defense winning the award wouldn’t be surprising, but there was at least one team that thought differently.
Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt had what some believed to be a stronger year than Donald’s, accruing more sacks, tackles for loss, QB hits and passes defended. Of course, comparing stats between interior linemen and edge rushers can be shaky ground, but many close to Watt reacted to the snub with outrage.
Including Watt himself:
Both of Watt’s NFL-playing brothers also chimed in, and one of them brought stats to the table:
Aaron Donald is an absolutely incredible player. I love watching him play & he’s headed to the Hall of Fame without question. This has nothing to do with AD personally.
This is me saying what my brother won’t.
TJ played 1 less game and STILL led the NFL in every major category. pic.twitter.com/m1vzrD88WU
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) February 7, 2021
And, naturally, plenty of Watt’s Steelers teammates publicly aired their grievances:
TJ Watt is my DMVP this year .. y’all ain’t paying attention. Respect is long over due
— Cam Heyward (@CamHeyward) February 7, 2021
I feel for TJ Watt mane. He deserves this award. AD my brother, and a BEASTbut TJ deserved that.
— Eric Ebron (@Ebron85) February 7, 2021
Highway robbery before our eyes!
— Chris Wormley (@Chris_Wormley43) February 7, 2021
Donald had teammates too.
The most outspoken of them, star cornerback Jalen Ramsey, wasn’t going to take criticism of Donald’s award lying down:
Lol ikno people not really questioning if AD should have won DPOY 😂😂.. Yoo that’s insane. It’s some ELITE defensive players in this league for sure & if 99 wasn’t in the league, I would hear it, but he really the greatest. Keep on tho, y’all about to get y’all Oline hurt fr 🤣
— Jalen Ramsey (@jalenramsey) February 7, 2021
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