The FanSided Fandom 250 rankings have been released and Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt is ranked 47th. With Watt’s popularity from Texans and non-Texans fans, this comes as no surprise. Watt is one of the most popular players in the NFL due to his performance on the field. In addition to his high level of play Watt made a difference of the field as well.
Watt made headlines earlier this year with his fundraising effort for the victims of Hurricane Harvey. Raising over $35 million to aid the victims of the natural disaster, Watt helped out those who needed it most. Those who were not fans of Watt before became fans after his display of generosity. The impact of the fundraising by Watt will be a catalyst in the relief effort for the citizens of Houston. Watt’s effort help him win the Sports Illustrated Co-Sportsperson of the Year.
On the field Watt has had issues staying healthy over the past two seasons. Watt has only appeared in eight games since 2016. Missing 13 games in 2016 and after the conclusion of the 2017 season will miss 11 this year. Watt had two back surgeries prior to the 2016 season and re-aggravated the injury during and missed the majority of the season. Unfortunately Watt suffered a tibial plateau fracture in his left leg five games into 2017 and it prematurely ended his season.
The Houston Texans defense is a completely different unit with Watt in the lineup. Without Watt they have had issues getting to the quarterback and stopping opposing offenses. The Texans have struggled due to not having Watt on the field. The defense is simply not good enough without him to impact the game in a positive way. Houston’s 4-8 record is a testament to how valuable he is.
After having surgery Watt hopes to recover and make an impact for the Texans in 2018. Houston needs Watt not just on the field, but off of it. While many athletes make an impact, few in any sport can make the difference that Watt has. Watt will continue to be one of the most popular players in all of sports and his ranking in the FanSided 250 will only continue to rise.