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Badgers in the NFL: T.J. Watt wins Defensive Player of the Year award

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The Badgers just can’t stop churning out excellent NFL linebacking talent!

Chicago Bears v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

On Thursday night, the NFL held their awards show, this year broadcast from a theater in SoFi Stadium in Las Vegas, where they’ll also hold Super Bowl LVI. Former Wisconsin Badgers standout LB T.J. Watt was announced as winning the 2021-2022 Defensive Player of the Year award! Watt, who has been a finalist multiple times before, finally broke through and won the big one after a record-setting season.

Watt joins Pittsburgh Steelers legends Joe Greene, James Harrison, Troy Polamalu, Mel Blount, Jack Lambert and Rod Woodson as players who have won this prestigious award and joins former Badger, and current brother, J.J. as the second Watt to win the award. Of course, I’m sure J.J. having won the award three times won’t ever come up when the brothers get together.

The Pro Bowler and First Team All-Pro performer tied the NFL single season record with 22.5 sacks this past season. What’s even more remarkable about that is the fact that Watt missed two games due to injury. Watt racked up 64 total tackles, 21 tackles for loss and 39 quarterback hits on the season while also forcing five fumbles, recovering three of them and knocking down seven passes. Not that this is taken into account for regular season awards, but Watt also recovered a fumble and returned it for a touchdown in Pittsburgh’s loss to Kansas City in the playoffs.

AFC Wild Card Playoffs - Pittsburgh Steelers v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images

Congratulations to T.J. Watt on this impressive honor and we can’t wait to see what he does next season for an encore.