During that time, Watt accumulated 114.5 career sacks to go along with five All-Pro selections and five Pro Bowl selections. Another prestigious honor that may stick out more than the rest, is when Watt won the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 2017 for his work helping Houston rebuild after Hurricane Harvey.
Hurricane Harvey hit Houston late that year, and it was a devastating blow to the city. Watt started a hurricane relief fundraiser to support, and had a goal of $200,000. That fundraiser blew up nationally, and raised over $41,000,000. Watt has, and always will have special ties to Houston.
Watt signed with the Cardinals in 2021, and his notorious generosity immediately continued, giving back to several after-school programs with his own charitable foundation: the J.J. Watt Foundation.
We were lucky enough to get to spend a few minutes with J.J. for some questions and answers.
Q&A with NFL Legend J.J Watt:
- Nick: Although the Houston Texans did not reach their ultimate goal on Saturday against the Ravens, they had an incredible year that not many people outside the Texans organization thought was remotely possible. What are your thoughts on the team moving forward, led by your former teammate DeMeco Ryans and a star in the making in C.J. Stroud?
- J.J: Yeah, I think it’s an incredibly exciting time to be a Texans fan. Obviously, DeMeco did an unbelievable job with that team. And any of us who knew DeMeco, knew exactly what he was going to do, and what he’s capable of, because who he is as a person, and also who he is as a football mind. He’s brilliant. He also has the ability to communicate and get his message across to players extremely well. And then you add in a quarterback like C.J., who not only has all the physical skills and talent to do everything on the field, but he also has the maturity and the leadership to handle that locker room to do everything the right way, along with in the locker room publicly and in his press conferences. It’s a great combination, DeMeco and C.J. and that organization is in good hands for a long time.
- Nick: The Houston Texans have had pretty much the same jersey combinations since they became a franchise in 2002, what do you think about the Texans getting a new look that will debut this upcoming season?
- J.J: I think it’s good, good timing for a new book. I know it’s been a while, these uniforms have been established. They’ve had a good run. I do think it’s time for a new look, and I think that when you got a team that we got now, any look, looks good when you’re winning, so I’m looking forward to seeing it.
- Nick: Your former teammate and Texans legend Andre Johnson has been a finalist for the Hall of Fame for the past three years. How do you feel about him not being inducted into the Hall of Fame, and do you think 2024 is the year that he will get in?
- J.J: I think Andre Johnson deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. I think he’s one of the greatest of all time, I think that he did it in not the greatest of situations, I mean, an expansion team, trying to figure their way out as an organization. Obviously, not always the best line, not always the best quarterback play, whatever it may be. But Andre was the one constant that showed up and performed.
Week after week, year after year, he was extremely productive. I also have extremely fond memories of him at The U and dominating down there. He’s also a great, great friend of mine. So I absolutely believe Andre should be in the Hall of Fame.
- Nick: Is there a moment in your Texans career that sticks out more than the rest? There have been many big games, including when you sacked Josh Allen in the wildcard round of the playoffs, which sparked the comeback to eventually win that game.
- J.J: I mean, that first ever playoff win that we got is always going to be a fun memory of mine. Now, the organization never having been to the playoffs, and then not only going, but winning a home playoff game in our first shot, and the pick six, and everything that came with it, and knowing what it meant to the city, and knowing the reaction, and going over and over again. That was special man. It was fun. That 2011-2012 team was a really, really special squad. And I really wish we could have done more with it. Because that was a great, great team. It was a whole lot of fun to be a part of.
- Nick: Throughout your entire life, everything has always been about football, and it still is, and probably always will be, but what has your life been like off the field since you’ve been retired?
- J.J: It’s been great. My body and mind are well rested, and they’re enjoying that very much. They feel great. I’ve gotten to spend a ton of time with my wife and my son, which has been fantastic. I’ve gotten to travel to go see T.J.’s games, I get to spend Christmas with Derek and his kids, my parents, we get to go over to England and watch our team Burnley play, and there’s just been a lot of great things to come out of it.
- Nick: How has your son changed your life, and how would you feel if he eventually wanted to get into football when the time came? Or would you rather him get into hockey, since you grew up playing hockey for a long time in Wisconsin.
- J.J: He loves hockey right now, he loves sports, man. He has these mini hockey sticks, I got him a little puck, he’ll play around with that in his room. His little basketball hoop, he loves putting the ball in the hoop. He has a soccer ball, so he kicks that around. He definitely loves sports.
If he wants to, I’m definitely going to try and get him into hockey earlier, because I still believe that part of my development as an athlete; I started skating when I was three years old, I believe having to learn how to balance on such thin blades at a young age kind of helped teach me and develop my movement skills. So I’m going to try and get him out there and there’s not quite as much ice down here in Arizona as there is in Wisconsin where I grew up.
But yeah, he’s a big boy. So he’s probably gonna play some football at some point. And I’m looking forward to that. But it’s life changing, like you said, it is such a cool, crazy, beautiful experience. Just to watch him grow, to watch him figure the world out to see the world through his eyes and try and think about what he is thinking about. There is no greater feeling in the world than the unconditional love for your kid.
- Nick: Since the Super Bowl is coming up, and it is down to the Baltimore Ravens, Kansas City Chiefs, Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers, who do you have making it and winning?
- J.J: I mean, we both watched that game on Saturday, man Ravens are damn good. They’re very well rounded. They can do it so many different ways. They’re defensively flying around, they can do all sorts of different things offensively, Lamar is just deadly. So I have a hard time seeing somebody take them down.
- Nick: I’m sure you get approached by a ton of different companies on a day to day basis, what made you decide to partner with Dawn?
- J.J: With a lot of my partnerships, I try and find natural, organic ways, brands that I want to work with, and that I believe in. [I’ve] literally had Dawn in my household since I was a kid, we have used it exclusively as our dish soap since I was a kid, now I have a kid of my own, making plenty of messes. Not only do I trust it in my house, but also wildlife rescuers exclusively trust Dawn to clean up after wildlife, whether it is oil on a duck, or bird’s feathers, it’s the only thing trusted by them. What we are going to do is, give away $1,000,000 worth of Dawn products and will be hosting a wash party. People can go to JJWashParty.com and they can enter to win, and one lucky winner will be flown here, they can bring up to nine of their friends, and they can watch the game, while I do their dishes. It’s a pretty sweet deal. Going to be a lot of fun.
For over 45 years, Dawn has been the only soap trusted by wildlife rescuers to remove oil from vulnerable wildlife, and this year, those same experts upgraded to Dawn Platinum to aid their life-saving efforts. This Super Bowl, Dawn is giving football fans a chance to upgrade, at the moment they are facing some of their greasiest messes.
Don’t forget to head over to JJWashParty.com for a chance to win a party with Watt, who will do your dishes. Everyone who signs up will get a coupon for a bottle of Dawn Platinum to help with those Super Bowl dishes.
Not only is Watt an incredible player on the field, but is also an incredible person off the field, and will continue to give back to the people who need it.