NFL superstar defensive end JJ Watt is a big Chelsea fan, and has been since the day Didier Drogba was carried off the pitch by his teammates and Chelsea lifted the 2014-15 Premier League trophy. That game just happened to be the first football match he ever attended in person, falling instantly in love with the passion of the game and the meaning it carried for all those in attendance.
Watt, who’s known for his charitable work almost as much as for his skills on the football field — including the $37m he helped raise for Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts — talked at the time of that Chelsea match giving him perspective in appreciating his own special opportunity in playing professional sports.
Meanwhile, in the four years since, his love for the team and the game of (non-American) football has only grown. As he explains in his interview with Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe (embedded at the top), watching the Premier League is part of his weekend routine, just as it has become for millions of Americans, and counting.
As a kid I hated it.— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) November 3, 2019
Too much running, not enough scoring
Now as an adult & fan, I love it.
The intricacies of the games within a game, like one big flowing chess match. And the crazy passionate fans with the songs & scarves.
(Still too much running for me to play tho ) https://t.co/PMP3zv7P5c
He also talks specifically of the fun going on at Chelsea this season, with Frank Lampard leading a youth revolution and the likes of Tammy Abraham stepping up when called upon. As a fellow professional, who’s played his chosen sport at the highest available level since an early age, Watt can certainly relate to that situation, and not just as a fan.
“It’s so much fun to watch. The fun thing about Chelsea right now is that you’re giving young players a lot of confidence. And sometimes when you give young players that confidence, they’re naïve enough to believe that they can do unbelievable things. And they also have the skill, and the time to grow, to accomplish those things.
“Tammy’s been unbelievable. And he’s only going to continue to get better. He’s so tall, and he do so much! He’s a lot of fun to watch. And I love Kepa’s confidence. Sometimes he has an abundance of confidence, and he’ll go after the manager (laughs).”
-JJ Watt; source: NBCSN
When current Chelsea youth coach and ambassador Ashley Cole was over in America last week, the two met an exchanged shirts, leading to some pictures bursting with defensive excellence.
⚽️ @TheRealAC3 x @JJWatt pic.twitter.com/FvntkoQXnp— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) October 27, 2019
JJ was set to play in London this weekend, with the Texans taking on the Jacksonville Jaguars in the NFL’s London series of games, but unfortunately the 30-year-old suffered a season-ending torn pectoral muscle last weekend (ouch) and had to miss the trip. (The Texans did win, 26-3.)
Here’s Confident Kepa wishing him a quick recovery, with JJ responding that he’ll be over in the summer for some offseason training! Awww.
I’ll be over for a training session in the offseason @kepa_46— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) November 3, 2019
On a non-Chelsea note, JJ was asked that most classic groan-worthy question as well, who might be a better athlete, a football player or a football player? But he actually gave it some thought and put together a reasonable answer, pointing out the differences in the two sports (not to mention the wide variety of positions and body types that are needed in an NFL game), and coming up with a couple good lines.
“I’m throwing a javelin (in a decathlon) a lot farther than Messi, but Messi’s running circles around me! I can jump higher, but any running event, I’m dead. I run six seconds at a time, and those guys run six miles at a time.”
-JJ Watt; source: NBCSN
So there ya have it. JJ Watt can throw Messi like a javelin. You heard it here first!