Steelers Star TJ Watt Stop Social Media, Then Went on to Tie NFL Sack File

February 16, 2022

With two video games left within the 2021 NFL common season, the Pittsburgh Steelers and linebacker TJ Watt had been all however eradicated from playoff competition; one statistical source gave them a scant two % probability of constructing the postseason forward of the crew’s Week 17 Monday night time recreation in opposition to Cleveland.

In the meantime, Watt had already set the franchise document for sacks in a season (17.5), however breaking Michael Strahan’s NFL document of twenty-two.5, set in 2002, had about as a lot chance as a Steelers playoff berth.

After which, the inconceivable occurred, twofold: The Steelers by some means made the playoffs after wins in opposition to Cleveland and Baltimore (plus some assist from different groups), and Watt tied Strahan’s single-season sack document with 4 sacks in opposition to the Browns and one in opposition to the Ravens en path to being named the 2021 NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

Happening behind the scenes throughout Watt and his crew’s near-miraculous end was a proper social media “cleanse,” led by Six Star Pro Nutrition, Watt’s sports activities diet model of selection. The cleanse was a crew effort between TJ Watt and 6 different Steelers (his brother Derek, Chukwuma Okorafor, Devin Bush, Trai Turner, Joe Haden, and Diontae Johnson) that stipulated zero social media use beginning Dec. 29 and working to the tip of the common season (January 9).

Six Star challenged Watt and his teammates as a part of a 2022 New 12 months’s marketing campaign (#TwentyYOU) to lift consciousness round persistent display time and cyberbullying – with the unintended good thing about serving to the Steelers win a pair soccer video games.

However significantly. Did the social media cleanse actually ship Pittsburgh to the playoffs and provides TJ Watt the additional vitality and focus he wanted to complete with 5 sacks in two video games? Nobody can say for certain, however Watt’s not ruling it out.

In an unique M&F interview, he discusses how the cleanse helped him, how he plans to maintain is display time in verify going ahead, and what it’s actually wish to be trolled on Twitter by armchair quarterbacks.

What had been you hoping to get out of the digital cleanse? What had been your expectations going into it?

To be trustworthy, I simply wished to get out of the monotony of simply sitting round, scrolling by means of my cellphone. Each day I’d come house from work, I’d sit on the sofa and scroll by means of my cellphone. And earlier than you recognize it, two, three hours had handed. And it was a kind of issues the place when you check out the display time and see how much time you’re wasting, it’s similar to, “Why am I doing this? What’s the purpose of simply sitting right here once I might be having an incredible dialog with my fiancé, asking how her day was?”

What social media platforms did you give attention to for the cleanse?

I’ve simply been sort of an Instagram and Twitter guy. I had already deleted Fb, and I’ve by no means been a TikTok man. I was on YouTube quite a bit, too. I’d simply click on by means of movies. YouTube’s a loopy place, man.

It simply so occurred that you just and your Steeler teammates received two massive video games on the finish of the common season whereas doing the cleanse and made the playoffs in shocking trend. Do you suppose the cleanse helped your play on the sector?

I feel it undoubtedly can. It’s simply a kind of issues the place you don’t all the time should be studying what’s stated about you. I feel it’s crucial for skilled athletes, particularly, and anyone that has their job publicly on the market the place individuals can simply attain out and Tweet at you. One Tweet can really change how you think about yourself, and it impacts your day. To have the ability to get off social media and never learn what individuals are saying, whether or not it’s good or dangerous, helps you keep in a rhythm with your self and never let anyone throw off your day. I feel that was vital for us towards the tip of the season.

What’s it like being a public determine and having tens of millions of strangers saying issues about? Do the haters and trolls ever get to you?

It’s all what you learn. I had each of my brothers develop up in the identical highlight, so I may see how they dealt with it, and I had their tutelage to inform me the way to deal with it as properly. I feel I’ve achieved a very good job of not studying all the things, whether or not it’s good or dangerous. I’ve so many good individuals in my nook. I worth their opinion a lot, and that’s actually all that issues on the finish of the day.

NFL record holder for sacks TJ Watt in deep thought after cleansing his social media habits
Courtesy TJ Watt

Did you utilize any particular methods in the course of the cleanse to make it simpler to remain off social media?

Yeah. You possibly can change the cut-off dates in your display time in your cellphone settings. You possibly can change it to zero minutes, or you may change it to 10, 20 minutes, no matter you need. I additionally be sure that I’ve no social media on my house display, which makes it much less handy.

I feel the most important key was accountability. When Six Star introduced this cleanse problem to the desk, it made it extra actual to me that I wanted to carry myself accountable. And when you’ve teammates doing it, too, it turns into… if they’ll do it, why can’t I? I feel it was vital to convey the crew facet to it, or for others to have somebody do the problem with you, to carry you accountable.

Did you and your teammates, certainly one of which is your brother Derek, do something to carry one another accountable?

Yeah. If I used to be ever round them and I noticed them on social media, it was like, “Hey, we’re cleaning proper now. Get off there.” I feel that’s okay. I imply, it’s going to be tougher for some guys than others, however that’s why it’s vital that we had been all capable of maintain one another accountable. And anytime I went over to my brother’s home, having his two sons working round, I don’t actually must be on my cellphone a lot anyway. So, it’s simply residing within the second.

Do you’ve any suggestions for others who could need to do a cleanse or in any other case work on lowering display time and social media?

It’s a kind of issues that you just all the time inform your self it’s good to do, and you are able to do it for a day, after which after that you just go proper again to what your outdated habits had been. I feel if you will get somebody that’s near you that may do it with you, it undoubtedly helps with accountability. However I additionally suppose you simply should have a dialog with your self to say, “When is that this going to cease?” As a result of the display time is simply going to maintain growing. Lots of occasions you’re scrolling in your cellphone for no cause, simply losing time. I feel quite a bit individuals don’t need to have a look at their display time as a result of they’re scared to confess how a lot time they’re spending on their cellphone. However it’s important to make a aware effort, in any other case it’s not going to alter.

What did you study your self throughout this course of?

I spotted that I used to be simply selecting up my cellphone for no cause. There are occasions when your cellphone’s sitting on the sofa, you simply decide it up out of behavior. However in the course of the cleanse, I fashioned new habits. I began cooking with my fiancé extra, simply being concerned within the kitchen extra, having conversations extra, and watching TV reveals collectively versus simply each of us sitting on the sofa our telephones. I’ve loved life with the cleanse, and I’m going to proceed to attempt to do my finest to restrict my display time going ahead.

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