In football, there are “born freaks” and there are people who have to work to become freaks. This may be hard to believe, but J.J. Watt, the Houston Texans’ fifth-year defensive end—the 6’5″, 289-pound two-time NFL defensive player of the year—is one of the latter. As one player recently told me, “You’ve got to see J.J. Watt’s workouts! They’re unbelievable!”
It’s true. In a day and age when so many athletes achieve a certain level of success then let themselves get comfortable, J.J. hits the gym like a seventh-round pick hoping to make the team. Anyone who’s seen the footage of his crazy 61-inch box jump, which went viral this past spring, is well aware of this. But what’s truly amazing about J.J. is that, when you watch him play on Sundays, you know what he’s going to do. You know where he’s going when the ball is snapped. You know he’s going to have three guys on him. Yet no one can stop him. Do you have any idea how many hours, days, and months the smartest game-plan guys in the world spend unsuccessfully devising ways to stop J.J. Watt?
He reminds me of MMA fighters Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell. They’re the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. I mean, Couture writes fucking poetry. But when these guys get in that training room—and, in J.J.’s case, anywhere near that field—they become the nastiest sons of bitches you ever imagined.