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Historic family matchup: J.J. Watt to face off against brothers in Texans-Steelers game

Their parents will have to watch from home

Sunday’s Texans game in Pittsburgh has plenty of story lines, including a historic family matchup.

For only the second time since 1927, a trio of brothers will play in the same game. (The Edmunds brothers did so in 2019.)

Eldest brother J.J. will face younger brothers Derek and T.J., who play for the Steelers.

Competition is nothing new for the family.

“They were doing some sort of sport,” said Connie Watt, the boys' mother, “and as soon as they finished one, they’d run to get another ball.”

'We had a full on hockey net," said TJ.

“A legitimate hockey net with pucks and big sticks,” added Derek.

“We’d shoot actual pucks in the basement,” said TJ, and the boys recalled leaving marks on their parents walls.

All three are excited for Sunday’s unique opportunity.

“Just to have all of us playing in the NFL was really cool,” said J.J., "to play against another brother was cool. Now, to have all of us on the same field at the same time in the same game, it really doesn’t get any better than that. "

“We’re just so fortunate that everybody’s healthy,” said T.J. “and knock on wood we leave the game healthy.”

We had to ask John and Connie..... how did they feed three future NFL players?

“They were eating full-blown meals twice a day, double lunches, breakfast before they went to school and then a snack at 10:00am before lunch,” recalled Connie.

“We used to love to go on cruises, we’d go on at least one or two cruises a year as a family when the kids were younger, and we always said, what a great benefit for us to be able to take them on a cruise and not have to pay any extra for all the food they eat, they could eat all day long," John said.

“To be able to see them all three on the same field in NFL uniforms is going to be incredible; something that we’ve never really allowed ourselves to dream of,” said Connie.

In the year of Covid, mom and dad will have to watch from home; and they’re honest about that being disappointing. But they also know the game will still be unique and special.

“Especially 10,15 years from now, they’re going to be able to look back, we’re going to have pictures of it and it’s going to really be a special memory for the whole family," said John.

John said the only thing that would be better is all three of their boys playing in a Super Bowl. Both parents emphasized as proud as they are of their sons' success on the football field, they’re way prouder of their community service efforts off of it.