J.J., the Houston Texans defensive end, has been a standout for years with his ability to break tackles and make plays that no one else can seem to do. In Week 17 of this last NFL season, he was playing against Tennessee when an injury took him out of the game on what would have been their final play from scrimmage had they won.
Houston Texans’ J.J. Watt has been a story of overcoming the odds to become an NFL superstar, and it turns out he was helped by a unique plan that’s finally given him a legitimate chance at crossing the last item off his NFL bucket list: retirement!
During his decade-long tenure with the Houston Texans, J.J. Watt terrorized quarterbacks and dominated offensive linemen. Those same supporters, on the other hand, have seen their beloved team fall short far too often, particularly in the playoffs. To make things worse, the Texans started out on the wrong foot, raising serious worries about the sport’s future in Houston.
Watt was fortunate in that he was able to get out of a terrible circumstance before it became substantially worse. And by successfully executing a strategy to locate a new suitor for his services, the future Pro Football Hall of Famer will be able to cross off the last item on his NFL bucket list.
J.J. Watt’s tenure in Houston was marked by both awe-inspiring achievements and disappointing ones.
Watt was drafted in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft, but no one anticipated the former tight end to become an all-time great defensive end. After all, the Wisconsin native was drafted 11th overall, only one place ahead of historic failure Blaine Gabbert. Fortunately for the Texans, taking a gamble on a physically talented prospect paid off handsomely.
Watt was on an extraordinary four-year run of stuffing the stat sheet, racking up 69 sacks, 190 quarterback hits, and 119 tackles for loss after a decent but unspectacular first season. He was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year three times for his game-changing abilities. In addition, his individual prowess earned him four first-team All-Pro choices in a row.
Watt’s outstanding performance and steady leadership, however, were not enough to lift the Texans to victory. Despite reaching the playoffs six times in his ten seasons with the franchise, he never played in an AFC Championship Game.
Watt started to consider departing for greater pastures as a result of this pattern of playoff failure, as well as all of the other turmoil that transpired during the Bill O’Brien era.
To prevent an approaching calamity, the former Texans standout devised a career-altering strategy and put himself up to realize a cherished dream.
J.J. Watt moved from playing for a bad Houston organization to a top Super Bowl candidate in Arizona. | Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Watt didn’t have a very enjoyable 2020 season, as the Texans went from 10-6 to 4-12. After seeing a perennial playoff contender devolve into a total disaster, he was eventually released by the franchise that picked him in 2011.
Watt, on the other hand, channeled his inner Nostradamus to get out of a bad work situation and avoid suffering through another difficult season.
During his Wednesday news conference, the 33-year-old told ESPN’s Sarah Barshop that he expected the Texans to have a lot of change and a difficult season ahead of them.
“Is it one of the reasons you chose to move somewhere else?” Barshop inquired.
Watt took a moment to think before responding, “Yeah.”
Watt placed himself in a position to join forces with the up-and-coming Arizona Cardinals by following his instincts and effectively executing a strategy to find a better match for his talents (the Texans approved Watt’s request for release on Feb. 12). As luck would have it, everything has fallen into place in the third year of the Kliff Kingsbury-Kyler Murray combination, giving the team’s new defensive coordinator a genuine opportunity at a Super Bowl ring.
The Texans are 1-5 under first-year head coach David Culley, while the Cardinals are undefeated at 6-0. Watt has 15 tackles, nine quarterback hits, two pass breakups, and one sack for a defense that is third in the league with 18.2 points allowed per game. In addition, the well-respected veteran has offered much-needed verbal leadership for a youthful team.
Watt should be inducted into the Hall of Fame on the first vote even if he does not earn a Super Bowl ring.
With each passing week, the Arizona Cardinals’ pursuit of J.J. Watt seems to be the finest single offseason move made by any club. Watt’s impact on and off the field cannot be measured, as the future Hall of Famer has fundamentally changed the Cardinals’ physical composition.
October 18, 2021 — Johnny Venerable (@JohnnyVenerable)
Watt’s choice to leave Houston and take his skills to Arizona will be rewarded with a title ring.
Don’t be shocked if that fantasy becomes a reality if the Cardinals continue to score at such a high rate and cause issues for opposition offenses. And with Kyler Murray performing at MVP level, maybe this is just the start for a team that hasn’t had a winning season since 2015.
Clearly, there is still a long way to go until the playoffs start. Watt’s legacy should not be jeopardized if he does not complete the last item on his NFL bucket list.
Despite not having the same longevity as Tom Brady, the five-time Pro Bowler should be inducted into Canton as well. Watt, like TB12, should be able to get in on his first ballot appearance.
Is it true that his reign of terror lasted for a long time?
Watt’s ailments, however, kept him off the field for long periods of time. Between 2016 and 2017, he appeared in eight games before missing the first half of the 2019 season.
But none of it matters in his quest for the Hall of Fame.
Watt’s incredible production from 2012 to 2015 established he belongs among the all-time best defensive lineman. And there’s no question you earn a gold jacket the first year you’re eligible when you reach that region.
J.J. Watt may be able to add “Super Bowl winner” to his CV before he retires if the Cardinals play up to their skill for the remainder of the season.
Pro Football Reference provided all statistics.
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