Tag Archives: JJ Watt

NFL does well with its Man of Year selection

I don’t normally get excited about pro football awards.

This year is different. The National Football League today announced its Walter Payton Man of the Year award. It goes to someone I just knew would get it: J.J. Watt, the standout defensive end for the Houston Texans.

What did Watt do to earn this honor, named after the late Walter Payton, the Hall of Fame running back and one of the great all-round great gentlemen of all pro sports?

Watt decided to launch a fundraising effort to help victims of his adopted hometown of Houston, after the wrath it suffered from Hurricane Harvey. He set a modest goal of $250,000.

Uh, Watt finished with a lot more than that. He ended up raising a cool $37 million for the waterlogged residents of Houston, whose homes were destroyed by the epic rainfall.

J.J. Watt is a tremendous athlete. I am delighted to know that the NFL has recognized him for possessing a tremendous heart.

Many of us far away from the coast saw this award coming. Our hearts were broken when Harvey came ashore not once, but twice along the Texas Gulf Coast. It pounded the Coastal Bend with killer winds and storm surge, then backed away from the coast and returned as a tropical storm.

It was on its second visit to the coast that Harvey did its damage to Houston and to the Golden Triangle, just east of the big city.

J.J. Watt stepped up in a big-time way to raise money for those victims — and has richly earned the title of the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year.

Well done, young man. I would bet that Walter Payton, the man they called “Sweetness,” would be proud of you, too.

This award transcends athletic prowess

I cannot stop smiling when I think of this news item.

J.J. Watt and Jose Altuve have been named Sports Illustrated’s co-Sportspersons of the Year.

Why does this bring a broad smile to my face?

For starters, Watt — a standout All-Pro defensive end for the Houston Texans — hasn’t played a lot of football this calendar year; he has been injured. He did, however, step up in a big way to help Houston’s beleaguered residents recover from the battering delivered by Hurricane Harvey this past summer.

Watt helped raise more than $37 million for hurricane relief. He became the voice and the face of Houston’s still ongoing battle to rebuild after being inundated by record-breaking rainfall that Harvey brought with it.

And then there’s Jose Altuve, the American League’s Most Valuable Player in 2017. He had a stellar season for the World Series champions. However, SI decide to honor both young men because Altuve, too, embodied the “Houston Strong” motto that has helped fuel the city’s recovery from Harvey’s wrath.

As the Associated Press reported: “I think the World Series gave the people a big smile and hope during the tough time they were getting through,” he said. “And I feel really happy that we did it because they really deserved it.”

For those of us who have grieved along with the Texas Gulf Coast residents affected by nature’s intense power, this award sends a heartfelt message that professional athletes — who often receive their share of criticism for their off-the-field antics — are quite capable of exhibiting heart and compassion to those who are struggling.

Indeed, many professional athletes have done much to lend their high profiles to worthy and noble efforts. This award should be seen as a statement of thanks for all the good work that these men and women do when most of aren’t looking.

Sports Illustrated chose well.

J.J. Watt now can concentrate fully on his day job

J.J. Watt is a tremendous football player.

He also is a young man with a huge heart. You see, this Houston Texans defensive lineman took it upon himself to help raise money for the stricken residents of his adopted hometown, Houston.

He started out with a goal of raising $200,000 for those who were suffering from the wrath of Hurricane Harvey, which pummeled Houston in late August.

Watt has called a halt to his fundraising effort. He’s raised a cool $37 million.

Watt shows his true stuff.

The National Football League honors one of its players annually with the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. It’s named after the late, great Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton, who routinely devoted much of his off-the-field activity to helping those who needed help.

J.J. Watt has gone not just above and beyond the call to help his fellow Houstonian and other Texas Gulf Coast residents. He has orbited Earth and at least a couple of other planets in providing assistance to those who remain in serious trouble as a result of Harvey’s savagery.

As Sports Illustrated reports: “Watt recently closed the fundraiser after raising an astonishing $37,097,298, which is more than 185 times his initial goal. More than 200,000 people donated, meaning Watt got as many donors as he expected dollars.”

Astonishing, yes?

I believe young J.J. has earned the Payton Man of the Year Award.