NFL legend JJ Watt said in a social media post on Tuesday that he will retire at the end of the 2022 National Football League (NFL) season. He decided to make it public on Tuesday realizing that his decision had already been leaked in the media.
On December 24, Arizona Cardinals faced off against Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a close game that went to overtime at 16-16. A Ryan Succop field goal led the Bucs to grab a 19-16 victory, leaving the Cardinals with a 4-11 record. After the final whistle blew, Watt appeared to be in tears as he walked off the field at the University of Phoenix Stadium.
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“Koa’s first-ever NFL game. My last ever NFL home game,” Watt wrote with a picture of his partner Kealia and son on Twitter. “My heart is filled with nothing but love and gratitude. It’s been an absolute honor and a pleasure,” he added.
Here are the top 5 JJ Watt moments in the NFL:
Three times winner of Defensive Player of the Year
Jj Watt’s biggest NFL achievement was receiving three Defensive Player of the Year awards, the most in NFL history tied with Lawrence Taylor and Aaron Donald. In 2012, Watt earned his first Defensive Player of the Year at the age of 23 after leading the league with 20.5 sacks and 39 TFL. He also scored 16 pass breakups, four forced fumbles, and 43 quarterback hits. He was named the Defensive Player of the Year for the second time in 2014. In 2015, he notched league-high 17.5 sacks to become only the second player ever at the time to win the league’s top defender award in consecutive campaigns.
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In 2014, Watt wreaked havoc when the Texans lined him up on offense in goal-line situations. The five-time Pro Bowler showed extraordinary athletic ability and caught three touchdowns that year. He also scored a pick-6 and a touchdown on a fumble return en route to coming second to Aaron Rodgers in the MVP race. Along with five scores in 2014, Watt had 20.5 sacks and 29 tackles for loss, the second-most in NFL history after his 2012 campaign (39 TFL).
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Since 1982, only 13 individual seasons have seen at least 20 sacks in the NFL. Watt is the only player to appear on that list twice. In 2012, he scored an NFL-leading 20.5 sacks and then posted another 20.5 two years later. In 2014, Watt finished second in the category to Justin Houston, who had a whopping 22.
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Pick – 6 vs Bengals
JJ Watt has been one of the best NFL players of his generation. As a rookie in the 2011 season, the number 11 overall pick scored a 29-yard pick-6 in his first playoff game en route to helping the Houston Texans claim their first-ever postseason win in the wild-card round against the Cincinnati Bengals.
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Walter Payton Man of the Year
During the 2017 season, Watt played only five games but raised over $40 million in just 19 days for relief efforts for the Houston area after Hurricane Harvey. Due to this, he was named Walter Payton Man of the Year for his accomplishments on the field and in the community.