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BWTB: Understanding J.J. Watt's rise

"With the 11th pick of the 2011 NFL Draft, the Houston Texans select…"

Many of you cringe when you hear those words because you know how you reacted.


A number of those same people have been in NRG cheering their hearts out for him ever since.


Some try to rationalize away your draft day reaction.


A great number of you widely panned the selection of a former walk-on defensive end from Wisconsin.


On Thursday afternoon, NFL Network had a "Sound FX" 30 minute special of JJ Watt's career in Houston. I wish they had him mic'd up on draft day to hear his thoughts on the instant reaction he got from the city. Even though he's embraced this city unlike any non-Texan has in quite some time, if ever, his introduction was, well, a bit cold, if I'm being nice. Watching him the past four years, the fans' audible disgust on draft day must reside somewhere in the deep recesses of his brain, driving him to denounce all the initial naysayers.

That's the only way I can describe what we're seeing from Watt. I fashion myself as some sort of football historian and have seen the greats from Deacon Jones to Lawrence Taylor. As such, I can't for the life of me remember a player that could do...well, could do THIS.

What's THIS? It's what he does on a daily basis. It's what he does each and every Sunday, or in last night's case Thursday. He's a marked man. He's targeted. He gets no assistance from refs. OL hold him and chop him with regularly and it's not called.

It's as if he's playing a game of Madden on Rookie difficulty mode while everyone else's mode is locked on All-Pro. His stat row rarely has zeroes. Say what? Well, when you look at a defensive stat sheet, most columns and rows are filled with zeroes and a few ones here and there. But, 99's found a way to put a 1 or greater in nearly every column. It's fascinating to look at the stat sheet after the game and encapsulate what's he done.


Yet, that was the instant reaction.

Boy, times have changed.

With the Texans trailing by 12 on third and 12 in the fourth quarter, the Voice of the Texans Marc Vandermeer pleaded, live on air, for JJ Watt to do something. It's almost as if Marc was hoping for 99 to make football magic in some way, shape or form but at the same time, he was sending the bat signal to Watt that it was time.

DE J.J. Watt signed a contract extension today. View photos of the All-Pro from his Texans career thus far.

Somehow, some way, he obliged. Again. He rolled over on a fumbled snap, jumped back to his feet and took it to the house for an improbable TD, his third one of the year. He has as many touchdowns as All-Pros Calvin Johnson and LeSean McCoy combined. It put the Texans within five, ticked another box on the stat sheet and elicited a different sound this time.


This time, a raucous NRG Stadium crowd reacted a wee bit more positively to Watt last night Thursday than on that Thursday night in 2011. Appreciate him and the unprecedented start to his career. Go wild for him. Relish his performance. Remember how you reacted when his name was called.

"...the Houston Texans select JJ Watt, defensive end, Wisconsin."

He does and he's making all 31 teams pay for it. Thankfully.

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