J.J. Watt has always been a fan favorite. Not only has the Houston Texans defensive end been impressive on the football field, but he’s been very involved in the community. Watt has always been great with his fans, especially the kids. He used to come up big for them during Halloween, but it’s probably for the best if you don’t head to his house anymore seeking candy.
J.J. Watt’s football career
After beginning his college career at Central Michigan, J.J. Watt played his last two years at Wisconsin before becoming a first-round pick in the 2011 NFL draft. The Houston Texans selected Watt with the 11th overall pick. Although Watt has been injury-prone lately, he never missed a game in his first five seasons as a pro.
At 6-foot-5, 288 pounds, Watt terrorized his opponents the majority of his career. He led the league in sacks with 20.5 in his second season. During that year, Watt made the first of his four straight Pro Bowls. He also led the league in tackles for loss with 39.
In 2014, Watt repeated his 20.5 sacks from 2012 and he added an 80-yard interception return for a touchdown for good measure. The following season, his sack total dipped a bit, but his total of 17.5 still was tops in the NFL. In the next two seasons, injuries took their toll as he played a combined eight games. He bounced back with a full season in 2018, returning to Pro Bowl form with 16 sacks. Last year, he was sidelined for eight games with another injury.
J.J. Watt big within the youth sports community
As good as J.J. Watt is on the football field, he’s just as good off it. His Justin J. Watt Foundation is very big on helping youth sports. Watt knows where it all began for him and he’s hoping to help today’s youth get the same opportunities he had as a child.
“I hope to make you proud of me on the field as well as off the field by helping the kids in the community have the same opportunities that were afforded to me,” Watt’s wrote on jjwattfoundation.org. “That is only possible with the support of people like you and for that I’d like to say thank you! I would not have received such success if it were not for the support of athletics… this is the intent of my organization…”
Watt is determined to help youth sports organizations thrive. His foundation has helped purchase uniforms, helmets, wrestling mats, basketball equipment, wall passing, cheerleader uniforms, etc. Watt’s foundation isn’t just focused on sports, but also played a huge role in helping to provide relief for Hurricane Harvey. He’s helped rebuild or repair more than 600 homes, donated more than 26 million meals, and much more.
No more candy from J.J. Watt
J.J. Watt loves his privacy, but he also loves the interaction he has with his fans. Some of those interactions can be a little too much, especially for those who live nearby. “I love giving out candy,” Watt said in a 2016 interview with Graham Bensinger. “When I was a kid, you always remembered which house gave out the best candy.
“I went to the store and bought, you know how they have those sleeves of fun-size candy with like eight to a pack? I bought the whole box of each type of candy and I just gave out the whole sleeve. My first year was the best because I could keep it kind of low key. The second year, it got crazy and by the third year my neighbors came to me and they were like, “Hey, I think we need to talk about Halloween.'” They asked him to stop giving out candy because the traffic was getting out of hand. Watt agreed to stop.
“It sucked. I really wanted to but my entire neighborhood was like, ‘you probably shouldn’t do this.’ Watt said his neighbors blocked the entrance and exit to his neighborhood and Watt told them he would be gone until 9 p.m. “At 9, I was about a mile from my house and I see all these cars lined up on the side of the road. I pull up and people literally parked their cars outside the neighborhood for a mile and walked in. I got to my front door and there was a four-foot-high stack of things people left. Somebody left a note and on the back was their MapQuest directions from five hours away. They drove all that way to my house to get candy. It was pretty crazy.”