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 supply gave them a scant two p.c probability of creating the postseason forward of the workforce’s Week 17 Monday night time recreation in opposition to Cleveland.
In the meantime, Watt had already set the franchise report for sacks in a season (17.5), however breaking Michael Strahan’s NFL report 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 in some way 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 report with 4 sacks in opposition to the Browns and one in opposition to the Ravens en path to being named the 2021 NFL Defensive Participant of the 12 months.
Occurring behind the scenes throughout Watt and his workforce’s near-miraculous end was a proper social media “cleanse,” led by Six Star Professional Vitamin, Watt’s sports activities vitamin model of selection. The cleanse was a workforce 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 top 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 power display screen time and cyberbullying – with the unintended good thing about serving to the Steelers win a pair soccer video games.
However severely. Did the social media cleanse actually ship Pittsburgh to the playoffs and provides TJ Watt the additional power and focus he wanted to complete with 5 sacks in two video games? Nobody can say for positive, 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 screen time in test going ahead, and what it’s actually prefer 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 sincere, I simply needed to get out of the monotony of simply sitting round, scrolling by my cellphone. On daily basis I’d come dwelling from work, I’d sit on the sofa and scroll by my cellphone. And earlier than you recognize it, two, three hours had handed. And it was a type of issues the place when you check out the display screen time and see how a lot time you’re losing, it’s similar to, “Why am I doing this? What’s the purpose of simply sitting right here once I could possibly be having a fantastic dialog with my fiancé, asking how her day was?”
What social media platforms did you deal with for the cleanse?
I’ve simply been type of an Instagram and Twitter man. I had already deleted Fb, and I’ve by no means been a TikTok man. I was on YouTube rather a lot, too. I’d simply click on by movies. YouTube’s a loopy place, man.
It simply so occurred that you simply and your Steeler teammates received two large video games on the finish of the common season whereas doing the cleanse and made the playoffs in shocking style. Do you suppose the cleanse helped your play on the sector?
I believe it undoubtedly can. It’s simply a type of issues the place you don’t at all times need to be studying what’s stated about you. I believe it’s crucial for skilled athletes, particularly, and anyone that has their job publicly on the market the place folks can simply attain out and Tweet at you. One Tweet can actually change how you concentrate on your self, 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 unhealthy, helps you keep in a rhythm with your self and never let anyone throw off your day. I believe that was vital for us towards the top of the season.
What’s it like being a public determine and having hundreds of thousands 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 might see how they dealt with it, and I had their tutelage to inform me easy methods to deal with it as nicely. I believe I’ve finished a very good job of not studying every part, whether or not it’s good or unhealthy. I’ve so many good folks in my nook. I worth their opinion a lot, and that’s actually all that issues on the finish of the day.
Did you utilize any particular methods through the cleanse to make it simpler to remain off social media?
Yeah. You possibly can change the deadlines in your display screen 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 guarantee that I’ve no social media on my dwelling display screen, which makes it much less handy.
I believe the largest 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 have got teammates doing it, too, it turns into… if they’ll do it, why can’t I? I believe it was vital to carry the workforce 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 believe that’s okay. I imply, it’s going to be more durable 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 should be on my cellphone a lot anyway. So, it’s simply residing within the second.
Do you have got any suggestions for others who could wish to do a cleanse or in any other case work on decreasing display screen time and social media?
It’s a type of issues that you simply at all times inform your self it’s worthwhile to do, and you are able to do it for a day, after which after that you simply go proper again to what your outdated habits had been. I believe 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 need to have a dialog with your self to say, “When is that this going to cease?” As a result of the display screen time is simply going to maintain rising. Plenty of instances you’re scrolling in your cellphone for no purpose, simply losing time. I believe rather a lot folks don’t wish to take a look at their display screen 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 vary.
What did you study your self throughout this course of?
I noticed that I used to be simply selecting up my cellphone for no purpose. There are occasions when your cellphone’s sitting on the sofa, you simply decide it up out of behavior. However through 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 taking a look at 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 screen time going ahead.