J.J. Watt turned 28 yesterday, which is relevant on a couple of levels — physical and emotional.
Physically, the hope is that Watt's body is in the shape of a normal, football-playing 28-year-old come July, after two back surgeries within about eight weeks between July and September of last year. For a player with three Defensive Player of the Year awards already on the shelf and a team with a gigantic investment in his well-being, this is a big year for both Watt and the Texans, and the hope here is that the box jumps and 1,000-pound-tire flips we would normally see on Instagram from him this time of year are a thing of the past.
Emotionally, though, Watt still fancies himself as the "kid from Pewaukee," with sensibilities that allow him to connect with the younger generation like very few athletes with his profile. In plain English, he ain't scared to a) engage the neighborhood kids in a snowball fight, and b) Snapchat the entire experience.
Indeed, once again, we in the content-generation business, during the throes of Romo-watch 2017, turn our lonely eyes to you, J.J. Watt! So about that snowball fight...
Quite honestly, this eight minutes of battle scenes is some of Watt's best "average human being" work, in which you almost forget he is an NFL player and you just think he is a mischievous teenage giant. Let's Zapruder this bad boy and pick out the highlights...
0:07 — A concerned Watt lays out the situation for the audience — he (and presumably a posse of some sort) are in the North Woods battling against some neighborhood kids who are very, very fast. He seems comfortable with the strategy, which means that Bill O'Brien and George Godsey are probably not in charge of time management or snowball supply control.
0:22 — It appears that Watt's brother T.J., whose stock is high in NFL draft rooms right now, is aligned with him in this fight for control of the North Woods. If he gets a straight line run at one of these kids, this would appear to be an opportunity for T.J. to improve on his 4.70 forty-yard dash time at the NFL Scouting Combine.
0:35 — We get a first-person POV view of J.J. in a dead sprint at one of these kids, screaming "YOU BETTER RUN!! YOU BETTER RUN!!" at the kid. Two things here — 1) Goddamn, J.J., it's ICY out there...you're coming off two back surgeries...PLEASE, take it easy! And 2) I hope to God that kid knows it's good-natured J.J. Watt who is chasing him and not an actual bitter, angry adult, because I have to imagine that would be terrifying for a ten-year-old kid who didn't know the deal.
1:03 — The father of the young kids who are currently dominating the Watt boys has heel turned on his kids and is now supplying the Watts with ammunition, and yet somehow I still think this guy is a better parent than LaVar Ball is. He even gives up the first names of his kids — Cole, Chase and Cruise, in case you're looking to send personalized condolences when the Watt brothers end up power-bombing them through a table.
1:20 — J.J. sounds like he is winded from chasing those kids. Let the conditioning narratives begin!
1:28 — UPDATE — Team Watt is definitely losing, and trying to scrounge together some sort of intricate flanking strategy. If it were me, I'd quickly fly in Brock Osweiler and tell him those little kids are opposing defensive backs. Brock would peg them right in the middle of the chest with every snowball.
2:07 — J.J. Watt claims one of the kids must be "Derek Jeter's son" and that the kid "has a cannon." Rick Smith, watching on Snapchat, prepares a four-year, $72 million ($37 million guaranteed) offer for the kid.
2:26 — "Two bogeys over here"..."The kid climbed on the roof, this kid is a monkey"...this video is officially pretty awesome at about this point.
2:56 — They appear to have captured one of the kids and are holding him hostage in what appears to be the nicest holding cell ever, a garage with a pool table and an ample beverage supply. I'll be shocked if the other two don't turn themselves in shortly.
3:33 — Chase appears to have flipped over to Team Watt, showing that he inherited his old man's recessive gene of stabbing fellow family members in the back! I KNOW IT WAS YOU, CHASE!!!! IT WAS YOOOOUUU!!!
4:15 — J.J.: "Those kids are fast, man...it's like Mike Vick out here." Unfortunately, no dogs begin barking in the distance, meaning that I don't get an easy joke served up to me here. Damn you, karmic snowball fight gods!!
4:43 — J.J. almost slips, saying, "Oh jeez! I almost wiped out." Houston, you're gonna need a drink after all of this is over.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
5:33 — T.J. provides an update on how things have been going for him during the good fight, and discloses that he got "pegged in the face and back by three kids less than ten years old." Mel Kiper moves him to a sixth round grade.
The remainder of the video takes place largely in the dark, and ends with a peace treaty between J.J. Watt and two of the kids. There is no final status on the others involved in the fight, meaning T.J. Watt may no longer be with us. (Moment of silent for T.J. Watt...)
If this is what it takes for J.J. Watt to stop flipping tires, here's hoping the Texans hire Cole, Chase and Cruise to save J.J. Watt from himself. All hail, J.J. Watt...the king of the North Woods!
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.