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J.J. Watt Is The 56th Most Famous Athlete In The World, According To ESPN

Houston's other superstar, James Harden, is apparently more famous than the best defensive player in the NFL.

Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

According to ESPN’s new World Fame 100 metric – which is some completely arbitrary formula that combines salary numbers, endorsements, and social media followers to determine an athlete’s public footprint – our very own J.J. Watt is the 56th most famous athlete on planet earth. Only seven other American football players rank ahead of Watt, including most of the "usual suspects" like Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, and Peyton Manning. Here is what ESPN’s had to say about MegaWatt’s undeniable star power.

Salary/winnings: $20M

Endorsements: $7M

Facebook likes: 1.8M

Twitter followers: 1.8M


The rare defensive end who enjoys the sort of sought-after pitchman status that usually only quarterbacks command. Watt, a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, has filmed commercials in everything from tuxedos to farm overalls to his Houston Texans uniform with faux dirt smeared on his face. He also has found himself uttering lines such as, "The most exquisitely scrumptious beef you can buy." (Scrumptious? Seriously? But are you going to bust his chops about that?)


In 2014, Watt became the first player in NFL history to register a second 20-sack season, and finished second in the MVP race behind Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers.


Hollywood producers have talked to Watt about perhaps becoming an action star in movies. Watt's take on it all? "It's always surreal," Watt told"I mean, it'll never stop being surreal. This is crazy. Nothing about my life now will ever be normal, because it's not -- it's crazy, it's absurd, it's awesome and it's unbelievable."

As ridiculously famous as Watt is in the States, this kind of list really puts his actual worldwide appeal into perspective when measured against sports giants like Christiano Ronaldo, LeBron James, and Virat Kohli (seriously, there’s a cricket player in the top 10. I’m not joking). Still, to have this many American football players make the top 100 despite having the sport really only "matter" in a few select countries is truly impressive.

As Watt’s legend grows and he wins a Super Bowl or two, his ranking on this list will only climb. He just has to keep tweeting out pictures like this, and he’ll be just fine.