Earlier this week, I was perusing my Twitter timeline when I came upon a vine video of J.J. Watt's first sack against the New York Jets. For his performance, Watt was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week, the fifth time in the last three years he earned that honor.
I saw the play live and again later that night rewatching the game. So when I saw the tweet, the video didn't really register with me, but the tweet that accompanied it did.
I believe it was Daniel Jeremiah from NFL.com/NFL Network that tweeted the video, but either his tweet or a response said…
"That dude is a human cheat code.", referring to Watt.
I loved it but I'm pretty sure J.J. doesn't want to be nicknamed the Human Cheat Code, although it's more apropos than anything else.
But, it got me thinking about nicknames and some of the best nicknames in sports in the city of Houston.
'Nuk' hasn't stuck yet in Houston, but at Clemson, every time DeAndre Hopkins made a catch, 80,000 Clemson fans screamed his nickname…
One of the best returners in the history of football was never known as Billy but as "White Shoes" Johnson, one of the great Oilers of all-time.
There was the House of Pain, as the Astrodome was affectionately called in the Oilers days.
There were the Killer B's, the Astros of the late 1990s.
Earl Campbell was known by only one name - Earl but "The Tyler Rose" was fitting for the Texas-bred Heisman legend.
There was the Ryan Express (Nolan Ryan)
There was the Glide (Clyde Drexler)
There was the Dream (Hakeem Olajuwon)
There are two Beards - Rockets star James Harden and Astros Cy Young winner Dallas Kuechel.
But, there was only one Phi Slama Jama, perhaps the greatest nickname bestowed on any athlete, team or otherwise, in Houston or around the nation. The University of Houston basketball team of the early 1980s was the most exciting, rim-rattling collection of hoop stars college basketball has ever seen or will ever see again.
The man that led that team Guy V. Lewis passed on Thanksgiving day at the age of 93. He led the Cougars to two national championship games in back-to-back years, but never won the big one. The lack of a championship truly didn't matter, though, as Lewis was revered in this town for making the Cougars a must see event at Hofheinz throughout his coaching tenure.
He didn't have a nickname, of which I was aware; most people I knew just called him "Coach".
Rest in Peace, Coach.