The Pittsburgh Steelers recently hosted The Pivot Podcast crew at training camp in Latrobe, PA. The popular YouTube channel features former Steelers safety Ryan Clark, former Jacksonville Jaguars running back Fred Taylor and the former Miami Dolphins linebacker, Channing Crowder. The trio has a well-known saying about their show: ‘anyone can podcast, but only a few can pivot.’
This mantra allows them to dig a little deeper when they sit down with their subjects.
The seasoned NFL veterans turned podcasters spoke with T.J. Watt, the Steelers linebacker who is coming off of his first Defensive Player of the Year win. Watt was asked endlessly about his brothers J.J. Watt and Derek Watt. But Crowder changed his focus, taking a different tact, and instead asked the former Wisconsin Badgers star about his mom and dad.
“Connie and John, your parents,” Crowder started. “What did they do? Just for the parents out there man. Toughness, running, good nutrition? Three sons made it to the league, what did they do?”
Over the last decade, it seems the Watt family has staked a personal claim on the Defensive Player of the Year Award. The eldest Watt entered the league in 2011 with the Houston Texans and over the last 11 seasons, the brothers have accounted for four of the top honors awarded to defenders. That represents a 36% rate of winning the prestigious award. Crowder has hit the nail on the head, by seeking the blueprint for mothers and fathers everywhere.
“It’s really what didn’t they do,” Watt explains. “My parents were superheroes. My dad was a firefighter and my mom was vice president of her company. And it was all about ‘we want to give you guys all the tools that you can possibly imagine to make it’. Do whatever you want to do, it didn’t necessarily have to be in sports, but it is just what we were passionate about.”
Parents want the best for their children and the success of the three brothers as professional athletes are exceedingly rare. The three-time Pro Bowler, who was married over the summer, has seen firsthand and understands the valuable life lesson that his parents taught him. All you can do as a parent is support and encourage your child’s passion, no matter what that may be. If you give them the tools and opportunities to do what they love, then they will truly achieve success.
Taylor, who revealed earlier this year when the group sat down with Mike Tomlin that he longed to be a Pittsburgh Steeler, asked the youngest Watt about his ability that predated his arrival in the NFL.
“I played against J.J. several years in the AFC South,” Taylor began. “I had to block him several times, and he was a complete dog. He earned those Defensive Players of the Year. But then they say he has a younger brother that’s better than him and I go ‘ain’t no way in hell’ . Did having a brother as dominant as J.J. give you extra motivation?”
In five seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Watt has only missed the Pro Bowl once. In his rookie season, he could only manage to make the All-Rookie team. He has led the NFL in sacks twice and has 72 sacks in five seasons. He will likely eclipse James Harrison as the franchise leader in the category during the 2022 campaign. Watt replied to Taylor:
“It was truly the blueprint. People got to see the fame, the commercials, all the cool stuff that comes with being successful. I got to see the hard work that went into it, I got to see him train. Early on in my high school career, I used it as a crutch. Oh, I’m not J.J., don’t treat me like that. But the older I got, the more mature, it was an incredible opportunity to have this mentor in my life. Someone who grew up where I grew up, drank the same milk at the dinner table, ate the same meals. He is successful so why can’t I be? That approach changed my life.”
Professional athletes can often measure success by tangible performance. The Watt’s, by any reasonable measure, have been successful professional athletes. The brothers have won multiple awards and are all currently making a living playing in the NFL. Very few people can become professional athletes, but the Watt family has found a secret to success. Hard work and passion will allow you to maximize your ability and that is more important than awards.
That is true success.
What do you think Steeler Nation? Is your passion for the Pittsburgh Steelers? Please comment below or on my Twitter @thebubbasq.