HOUSTON -- Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt and Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman may be neck-and-neck in the race for NFL Defensive Player of the Year. And NFL MVP for that matter.
But in terms of the tween vote, Watt is running away with it.
Few defensive players in history have changed games the way Watt and Tillman are, week after week after week. Even fewer ever became a tween idol in the process.
That list stops at one: Justin James Watt. The Milk Man from Wisconsin plays in much more than America s heartland. Watt doesn t just swat down passes, he knocks away the boundaries of typical demographics too.
I walk out and there are a whole bunch of little girls screaming my name and I m like, Are you sure you know who I am? You re not supposed to know me. I m a football player.
Forget the stereotype of football fans being big-gutted slouches lying on couches. J.J. Watt is bringing in tween girls.
Watt noticed it himself when he showed up at a Justin Bieber concert (where else do you think NFL players spend their weeknights?) and received a screaming, shrieking, oh-my-God reaction that was almost worthy of Bieber himself.
Probably the biggest surprise to me was at the concert . . . Watt says. I walk out and there are a whole bunch of little girls screaming my name and I m like, Are you sure you know who I am?
You re not supposed to know me. I m a football player.
Oh they know, Watt. They know. Just like fantasy football freaks know Arian Foster and ninjas know Antonio Smith, tweens know J.J. Watt.
What other all-American football hunk would you want your daughter rooting for? Watt brings the pizza boy redemption story, the freakish athletic feats, the do-good attitude (he brought car crash orphans Peter and Aaron Berry to the Bieber concert, having forged a real relationship with the kids) and something of an aw-shucks I dominated another game persona.
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