J.J. Watt is the 2017 Sports Illustrated Person of the Year, and the reason why is very simple.
"No athlete has done this before," MMQB football writer Robert Klemko said in an NFL Network interview.
The Texans defensive end spearheaded a campaign that wound up raising over $37 million for Hurricane Harvey relief. Americares, Feeding America, SBP and Save the Children are the four organizations that will benefit from the money, which will help rebuild homes, restore child-care centers, provide food, and address health and medical needs.
Houston Astros second baseman and 2017 American League MVP Jose Altuve shared the award with Watt.
The award was announced on the Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, and it annually goes to "athletes who care" about making the world around them a better place.
Watt is a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, and Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor is the only other man to win the award three times. But according to MMQB Editor-in-Chief Peter King, what Watt did in August and September in terms of raising money for those hurt by the storm supersedes his on-field accomplishments.
"Nothing J.J. Watt has achieved in his career, or might still achieve, will measure up to what he did for Houston," King said.
Watt and Altuve are on the cover of the December 11 issue of Sports Illustrated. The two are also friends, and big fans of each others. After the Astros won the World Series, Altuve sent Watt a handwritten thank you note, as well as a bottle of whiskey.
Watt, meanwhile, has supported Altuve and the Astros since arriving in town after he was drafted in 2011. When Altuve was announced as the MVP, Watt was excited.
Watt is currently rehabbing a knee injury he suffered in Week 5 against the Kansas City Chiefs.
J.J. Watt--from his time as a Texan back to his Wisconsin Badger days--is featured here in photos.