J.J. Watt will be first ballot Hall of Fame selection
J.J. Watt will be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame one day just for all of his accomplishments with the Houston Texans the past decade. Now the question that remains is will J.J. Watt be a first ballot Hall of Fame selection?
The answer to that question is simple … yes.
Watt is no longer playing for the Houston Texans as the franchise granted his wishes and released the three-time Defensive Player of the Year last Friday as Watt announced the move on social media.
We all know J.J. Watt wants to win a Super Bowl championship, and lets be honest and realistic here, all of us know that the Houston Texans aren’t winning the Super Bowl for the 2021 season, so who can blame Watt for wanting to work to accomplish that goal in 2021 elsewhere?
J.J. Watt gave 10 seasons to the Houston Texans organization where he helped the franchise win six AFC South championships during his tenure. The problem for J.J. Watt was the Texans as an entire team never had the success to match his talents, with Houston never getting past the Divisional Round in each trip made to the playoffs.
Even without a solid playoff run by any of his Texans playoff teams, J.J. Watt is still a first round Hall of Fame selection. One reason is he’s a three-time Defensive Player of the Year. There are only three players to have three DPOY awards to their credit and they are Lawrence Taylor, Watt, and most recently Aaron Donald who won the award for the 2020 season.
J.J. Watt built a Hall of Fame resume with Houston Texans
J.J. Watt earned many accolades in the first half of his career, but during those seasons he was nearly unstoppable. J.J. Watt won his Defensive Player of the Year awards in 2012, 2014 and 2015, where in those three seasons he had the following numbers:
• 2012: 20.5 sacks (led NFL), 43 QB hits, 39 tackles for loss (led NFL), 69 solo tackles, 16 passes defensed, four forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries.
• 2014: 20.5 sacks, 51 QB hits, 29 tackles for loss (led NFL), 59 solo tackles, 10 passes defensed, four forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries, one INT, two TDs (INT return, fumble return), and one safety.
• 2015: 17.5 sacks (led NFL), 50 QB hits, 29 tackles for loss (led NFL), 57 solo tackles, eight passes defensed, three forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery.
J.J. Watt is also a five-time AP first-team All-Pro selection (’12, ’13, ’14, ’15, ’18), and has been a Pro Bowl selection on five occasions.
There have been seasons where J.J. Watt has missed significant time due to injuries, but looking back at the 2018 season by Watt — and even after two straight seasons filled with many missed games due to injuries — he came back with a vengeance.
During the ’18 season, which was six seasons after his first DPOY award, Watt was selected first-team All-Pro, and this was coming off missing 24 games combined due consecutive seasons with injuries.
The ’18 season also saw Watt not only play in all 16 games, but collect 16 sacks, have 25 QB hits, 47 solo tackles, an NFL-leading seven forced fumbles, four passes defensed, and there were also 18 tackles for loss.
Remember that was coming off missing nearly two full seasons as Watt played in three games in ’16 and five games in ’17. The ’18 season by Watt should have cemented his first ballot HOF status if there was any doubt before.
For his career after the first 10 seasons, Watt has 101 sacks, 409 career solo tackles, 172 tackles for loss, 282 QB hits, one safety, 25 forced fumbles, and 16 fumble recoveries, Plus he has two career interceptions, both for touchdowns. Even on offense Watt has three career receiving touchdowns.
J.J. Watt will be missed in Houston, but it was time for him to leave the only team he’s ever known and try to win a Super Bowl in the latter stages of his career. Watt is still a productive player, draws many double teams, and makes players around him better, which he’ll continue to do elsewhere.
Watt’s numbers with the Houston Texans speak for themselves, and whenever five years comes after the date Watt decides to officially retire, he should get the visit or phone call from Canton saying he’s a first ballot Hall of Fame selection. Watt has earned that honor with his play on the field, and should go in on the first chance he gets.