Christmas came a little early for several Steelers players when the Pro Bowl team was announced.
For the 21st consecutive season the Steelers are sending multiple players to the Pro Bowl, and it's the 30th time in the last 33 seasons they are doing so.
And it's the defense that is representing the black and gold.
Defensive tackle Cameron Heyward and outside linebacker T.J. Watt were voted to the 2022 Pro Bowl, which will be played at Allegiant Stadium on Sunday, Feb. 6.
Cameron Heyward – Defensive Tackle
Heyward is a Pro Bowl selection for the fourth straight year, and the fifth time overall, after being Mr. Consistency for the defense all season long.
"Cam Heyward, No. 97, he wrecks games," said Cincinnati Bengals Coach Zac Taylor. "It's not often you say that about defensive tackles. They can move him around to so many different positions. He has such a knowledge of the defense, a knowledge of his matchups. He is always a guy you have to pay attention to and be dialed in on because he will wreck a game in a heartbeat."
Heyward has been doing that all season. He has started all 14 games this season, the only defensive lineman to start every game so far. Among defensive tackles in the NFL, Heyward ranks first in tackles (73), first in solo stops (41), first in stuffs (seven), first in passes defensed (seven), tied for second in tackles for loss (11) and tied for fifth in sacks (7).
Heyward has seven sacks this season, improving his career totals to 65 sacks, ranking sixth in Steelers history in all-time sacks.
"He has been one of the best players in the league for a long time and he is tough to block, that is why he is still around," said Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow.
It's been a big year for Heyward off the field as he is the Steelers nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year.
Take a look at the Steelers players that were selected to the 2022 Pro Bowl team
T.J. Watt – Outside Linebacker
Watt was voted to the Pro Bowl for the third time in his career in a year when he is having a record-setting season.
Watt, who was selected as a starter, set a new Steelers single-season sack record this season with 17.5 sacks and counting. He surpassed the record set by linebacker James Harrison in 2008 when he had 16 sacks.
"It's all about tradition here and to be able to put your footprint in as part of the tradition here is special," said Watt, who was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week twice this season. "I know it's an individual goal. I'm not big on individual achievements. But doing this with such a wonderful group of guys is what it's all about. To be able to be a part of this franchise hopefully for a long time, this is very special. But I really do have more work to do."
Watt has recorded at least half a sack in nine games this season and has seven games with multiple sacks. He leads the League in quarterback hits (tied, 30) and fumble recoveries (tied, three), and ranks second in the NFL in tackles for loss (tied, 17) and fourth in forced fumbles (tied, four).
Watt currently has 67 career sacks, surpassing Hall of Famer Derrick Thomas (66) for the third-most sacks by a player in his first five seasons since 1982. Only Reggie White (81) and his brother, J.J. Watt (74.5), have more.