Houston Texans: J.J. Watt’s Madden rating ignites fiery online debate

J.J. Watt Houston Texans (Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)
J.J. Watt Houston Texans (Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images) /

With the Texans’ J.J. Watt earning a 98 overall and the second-best spot in Madden ratings among pass-rushers, fans online are divided in their reactions.

In case you’re not active on the “Twitter-sphere” — or in case you weren’t active on Wednesday afternoon at least — you’ve been missing out on quite the online debate between those who support one of the biggest Houston Texans stars around … and those who think he’s overrated.

Somehow, despite J.J. Watt being J.J. Watt, he’s still getting disrespected heading into his 10th season as a pro.

Much of the debate stems from Madden ratings, which have slowly begun trickling out in advance of the popular video game’s upcoming new release.

Fellow Texans star, quarterback Deshaun Watson, recently made it known to his followers online just how ridiculous he found his 86 overall rating … which slotted him in as the eighth-best QB in the NFL according to the video game stats-makers.

Watt is now having the opposite problem. He was rated a 98 overall, which is second only to the L.A. Rams’ Aaron Donald (99 overall) among the league’s pass-rushers.

The ranking immediately drew the confusion and even ire of fans online who couldn’t comprehend why Watt would be rated so high.

Many pointed to the fact that his younger brother, T.J. Watt, who plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers and was a runner-up for Defensive Player of the Year in 2019, didn’t even crack the top-10.

Others pointed out that the Arizona Cardinals’ Chandler Jones was ranked No. 7 on the list with a 95 overall rating, despite the fact that Jones had 15 more sacks than Watt did last season.

It really comes down to a debate of longevity versus recency bias

If you’re only looking at 2019 and ranking these pass-rushers — and all NFL players, for that matter — based off last season’s results alone, then perhaps some of the arguments against Watt have merit.

He missed half the season in 2019 and had the third-lowest sack total of his 10-year career.

That said, if you take a broader, long view, then there really isn’t much of an argument against Watt being ranked where he is.

The last time he played a full 16-game season wasn’t even that long ago — it was in 2018 — and he finished that year with 16 sacks and seven forced fumbles.

As Watt himself noted Wednesday in a harsh but true comeback to a Twitter troll, he was also named First-team All-Pro that season too … in addition to making his fifth career Pro Bowl.

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The knock on Watt is always going to be health. After starting off his career rock-solid in that department (five straight 16-game regular seasons), he’s now missed at least eight games or more in three of his past four seasons, with 2018 being the only outlier where he played wire-to-wire.

The best way for Watt to silence his critics? Make it through another full season unscathed and do what he does best: terrorize opposing NFL quarterbacks.