He has 20.5 sacks, just two off Michael Strahan's NFL record. He's batted down 15 passes at or near the line of scrimmage and has forced four fumbles. He's also a dominant stopper against the run, an element of his game that makes him an every-down terror.
"Oh yeah, of course I hear it. Being a defensive player, I want a defensive player to win it, and I think I have as good a chance as any," Watt told USA Today this week. "And if I'm not even in the discussion, I think it's going to be tough for anybody to ever get into the discussion again. I would love to be a representative for defensive players.
"There's obviously a strong lean toward the offensive players, which is understandable. I mean, quarterbacks and running backs touch the ball a lot more," he went on. "But when you look at a dominant year from a defensive player, I think they can affect the game just as much as an offensive player."
Lawrence Taylor was the last defender to win MVP, way back in 1986. But that was a different time, long before the offensive boom the NFL is currently experiencing. If you want an inter-sport analogy, compare Watt's defensive dominance in 2012 to what Pedro Martinez did for the Boston Red Sox in 1999. That was one the greatest seasons ever for a starting pitcher, delivered in the heart of baseball's juiced era.
Pedro should've won the MVP that year, but had to settle for the American League Cy Young award. Whether it's fair or not, Watt will be the Defensive Player of the Year and that's likely it.