For the third time in his career, Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt won the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year Award. He became only the second player in history to win it three or more times, as Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor also accomplished the feat as a member of the New York Giants.
This season, Watt led the NFL in sacks for the second time in his career, and continues to cement his case as the most disruptive force in football. He beat out Aaron Donald, Luke Kuechly and Josh Norman for the award, receiving 37 of the possible 50 votes.
In his acceptance speech, Watt couldn’t refrain from criticizing scouts who failed to recognize his immense talent. He said, “I was a 2-star recruit coming out and now I have three (Defensive Player of the Year) awards. So… screw all of you guys for doubting me.”
Watt has certainly gotten the last laugh, and at only 26 years old, his career is still far from over. Despite commanding so much extra attention from opposing offensive lines, Watt continues to wreak havoc. Over the past two seasons, Watt has 38 sacks, which is 8.5 more than any other player.
Unlike his 2014 Defensive Player of the Year campaign in which he scored 3 offensive touchdowns, Watt’s contributions this season were strictly on the defensive side of the ball. And while he had 3 fewer sacks than last year, this season might have been his most impressive performance.
Watt helped guide the Texans to a surprising AFC South title, playing through a broken hand and significant groin injury for much of the season. It simply serves as another reminder that nothing on this planet can slow him down.
And for as long as that remains the case, scouts will continue to regret not giving Watt three more stars.