J.J. Watt Bio: Everything You Need To Know

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Justin James Watt is an American football defensive end for the Arizona Cardinals in the NFL. He attended Central Michigan and Wisconsin before being drafted by the Houston Texans in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft.

The number one NFL player of 2015 has played for the Houston Texan since his first draft till 2020.

Since his first NFL season until today, he has maintained his place in the top 100 NFL players.

Not only that, but Watt has received the Best Player of the Year award and the Defensive Player of the Year award several times.

J.J. Watt (Source Pinterest)
J.J. Watt (Source Pinterest)

On the contrary, the #99 defenseman is also compassionate. He is affiliated with many charities and has a charitable foundation. With his efforts, he became the Sportsperson of the Year in 2017.

Not only football but J.J. Watt has appeared in several T.V Shows, including SNL, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and many more.

The five times Pro Bowl selectee became the first player in NFL history to record more than 20 sacks in one season.

On September 28, 2022, he continued playing NFL football despite developing atrial fibrillation.

On December 27, 2022, he announced his plans to retire from organized football after the conclusion of 2022 season.

Read more about this benevolent athlete below. But before we dig deep, let’s take a quick look at the below table for your easy understanding.

J.J. Watt | Quick Facts

Full Name Justin James Watt
Birth Date March 22, 1989
Birth Place Waukesha, Wisconsin, U.S.A.
Known As J.J. Watt
Religion Unknown
Nationality American
Ethnicity White
Education Pewaukee High School,
Central Michigan University
The University of Wisconsin-Madison
Baylor College of Medicine
Horoscope Aries
Father’s Name John Watt
Mother’s Name Connie Watt
Siblings Two Younger Brothers (Derek Watt And T.J. Watt)
Age  35 Years Old
Height 6 feet 5 inches/196 cm/1.96 m)
Weight 131 kg/288 lb
Hair Color Honey Blonde
Eye Color Blue
Build Athlete
Relationship Status Married
Partner Kealia Ohai Watt
Profession Professional Football Player
League National Football League (NFL)
Position Defensive End And Defensive Tackle
Team Houston Texans
Salary Approximately $13 Million
Net Worth Estimated Between $10 Million- $25 Million
Social Media Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
Website Justin J. Watt Foundation
Merch Paperback, Jersey
Last Update May 2024

J.J. Watt | Early Life, Family, & Education

J.J. Watt, short for Justin James Watt, was born on March 22, 1989, in Waukesha, Wisconsin. His father is John, a firefighter; his mother is Connie, a building operations vice president.

Both of his younger brothers, Derek Watt and T.J. Watt play for the NFL as well.

Watt has been passionate about sports since he was a child. At thirteen years old, J.J. Watt started playing ice hockey for several travel teams that traveled to Canada and Germany. But soon, his schedules began to conflict, and he faced some financial issues. Therefore, Watt had to give up hockey.

J.J. Watt played hockey and football, track and field, baseball, and basketball during his school days. Watt received the Woodland Conference Player of the Year Award in his senior year at Pewaukee High School.

J.J. Watt With His Parents And Brothers (Source: Pinterest)

Likely, he received first-team-All-State, All-County, All-Area, and All-Conference selections as a tight end and defensive end.

He also earned the team’s MVP title with 399 receiving yards, 26 catches, and five touchdowns in his senior year.

For his graduate degree, he decided to attend Central Michigan University. But later, he moved to the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

And although he could not complete his graduation, he received a Doctor of Humanities in Medicine degree from Baylor College of Medicine in 2018.

J.J. Watt | College Career

At first, Watt enrolled at Central Michigan University after receiving a scholarship offer. During his time at Central Michigan, he played 14 games.

However, after a few of his coaches suggested Watt move to offensive tackle, he decided to forsake his spot at Michigan and move on to the University of Wisconsin.

J.J. Watt For Wisconsin Badgers (Source: Pinterest)

Watt was offered a scholarship at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, where he played defensive end. He was also Wisconsin’s Scout Team Player of the Year.

At the same time, Watt used to work as a pizza delivery man for Pizza Hut in Pewaukee.

Watt played two seasons for the Wisconsin Badgers. In 2010, Watt received the Ronnie Lott Trophy, was voted AP, and Sports Illustrated second-team All-American, All-Big Ten first team, Academic All-Big-Ten, and the team’s MVP.

J.J. Watt | Professional Career

Watt could not complete his graduation as he entered the 2011 NFL Draft where he was. He became the first defensive end selected in the first round.

The Houston Texans picked him with the 11th overall pick. The Texans offered Watt a four-year, $11.24 million contract on July 31, 2011.


In the season opener game, which was his NFL debut with the Houston Texans, he had five tackles against the Indianapolis Colts. Similarly, on November 27, Watt had his first multi-sack game to victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Texans Defensive End J.J. Watt (99) Pressures Jacksonville Jaguars Quarterback. (Source: NFL.Com)

Consequently, Watt finished his rookie year with 48 solo tackles, eight assisted tackles, and 5.5 sacks. And the Texans qualified for the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.

Watt gave quite an impression in the playoffs against the Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens. In other words, he received three awards in his rookie year, including Texans Team Rookie of the Year, USA Today All-Joe Team, and Pro-Football Weekly/PWFA All-Rookie Team.


2012 was one of Watt’s best defensive player seasons in NFL history. To begin with, he received the AFC Defensive Player of the Month in both September and December.

Likewise, J.J. Watt was awarded the team’s MVP, USA Football Fundamentals Team, PFW First-Team All-Pro, Pro Football Weekly/PFWA Most Valuable Player, NFL 101 AFC Defensive Player of the Year, AP First-Team All-Pro, and the AP Defensive Player of the Year, all in the same year.

Houston Texans’ Defensive End, J.J. Watt (Source: Pinterest)

Even more so, Watt received 49 out of 50 votes for the Defensive Player of the Year award. In fact, he is the first Texans player to receive an NFL Player of the Year award since 1971.

After a triumphant season, the Texans comparatively struggled as a team in the 2013 season. Nevertheless, In Week 2, Watt recorded his first two sacks in a win against the Tennessee Titans.

While the Texans had given their best, it was a losing season, and they finished with a 2–14 record. Nevertheless, Watt received a title for the 2014 NFL Pro Bowl and was a Pro Bowl Captain.


After the end of the 2013 season, Watt signed an extended six-year contract with the Texans worth $100 million.

Additionally, he received $30.9 million as a signing bonus. At the time, he was the highest-paid NFL non-quarterback.

In a game against the Oakland Raiders, Watt became the first defensive player in Texans history to score a touchdown from scrimmage on September 14.

2014 was the year of Watt’s touchdown series.

Keeping that in mind, on September 28, Watt became the sixth defensive lineman for the longest interception return and the fourth-longest interception return in Houston Texan’s history.

NFL’s Number One Player Of The Year For 2015 (Source: Twitter)

During the game against Buffalo Bills, Watt hit the opposing player nine times but was given a red alert twice for roughing the passer. Hence, he was penalized $16,537 for one of the incidents. But despite that, Watt earned the AFC Defensive Player of the Month for September.

As a result of his outstanding performance, Cris Carter, team captain of Team Carter, selected Watt as his defense captain. For the 2015 Pro Bowl.

Furthermore, Watt took the Defensive MVP award after the Pro Bowl game. He was the first defensive player to get votes for the MVP award since 2008.

Even more so, he won the Defensive Player of the Year award. Watt was one of the few players to win the award multiple times.

Watt became the first defensive lineman to score at least five touchdowns in one season since 1944. Later, Watt was entitled to the top spot in the NFL Top 100 Players of 2015.


NFL’s number one player of the year recorded 76 tackles, an NFL-leading 17.5 sacks; eight passes defended, three forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery in all sixteen games despite his groin injury.

Besides, he received his third Defensive Player of the Year award in 2015. Following his injury, on January 12, 2016, he underwent surgery for a sports hernia. As a result, Watt withdrew from the 2016 Pro Bowl, his fourth straight Pro Bowl honor.

Even so, he was the top defensive lineman and the third-best player on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2016.

J.J. Watt Was Injured During His Game (Source: Twitter)

Unfavorably, on July 21, 2016, Watt had to undergo back surgery for a herniated disc. He was put on the disabled list but returned in a short while to start the season. In week 1, when Watt returned, Texas won over the Chicago Bears.

Similarly, In Week 2, he recorded 1.5 sacks and five tackles against the Kansas City Chiefs. Likewise, he had two tackle assists in a game against the New England Patriots. But unfortunately, Watt had to undergo back surgery again on September 29, 2016.

As a result, he had to drawback for the rest of the season. Despite playing only three games, he was ranked 35th on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2017.


The top NFL player returned to the field for the season-opening game against Jacksonville Jaguars. However, Watt had to leave the game during Week 5 due to his leg injury.

J.J. Watt underwent surgery the next day because of a tibial plateau fracture in his left leg. For the remaining season, he had to sit out. But despite that, he managed to keep his position on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2018, ranking 84th.

Moreover, with his fame, he did some fantastic work besides football. Watt raised approximately $40 million for the affected victims of Hurricane Harvey in the Houston area. Additionally, he donated $1 million on his own.

As a result of his extraordinary efforts to help the people, Watt was named the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year for 2017 and Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year.

J. J. Watt Poses In The Press Room With The Walter Payton NFL Man Of The Year Award (Source: Pinterest)

Soon, Watt returned for the season opener and played against England Patriots. He returned from an injury and received the AFC Defensive Player of the Month for September after recording five sacks, 20 tackles, and four forced fumbles.

Also, he received the AFC Defensive Player of the Week after winning against the Tennessee Titans with nine tackles, 1.5 sacks, and a forced fumble.

Likewise, Watt earned his fifth First-Team All-Pro award after finishing the season with 16 sacks.


For the first time in all those years of his career, Watt finished a game in the season opener with no tackles and quarterback. However, two weeks later, Watt recorded two sacks against the Los Angeles Chargers.

In an unfortunate event, Watt suffered a torn pectoral and had to draw back from the season’s remainder.

On December 24, Watt resumed his practice with the team. And on December 31, 2019, Watt was on the field in a Wild-card entry for the playoff against Buffalo Bills. Eventually, the Texans won over the Bills after a shoot-out goal.

Similarly, In Week 2 of the 2020 season, he recorded his first sack in a defeat against the Baltimore Ravens. Likewise, in Week 6, Watt scored his 99th career sack against the Tennessee Titans.

And even more so, in November 2020, J.J. Watt recorded his 100th career sack against the Jaguars. In addition, Watt has recorded a total of 504 tackles, 24 forced fumbles, and 16 fumbled recoveries as of Week 9 in 2020.

However, there are speculations that the Texans’ best defenseman might resign from the team, which has not been confirmed yet.

Contract With The Arizona Cardinal 

Right with the start of March 2021, free-agent pass-rusher J.J. Watt signed a two-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals. ESPN’s Adam Schefter said their deal was worth $31 million and included $23 million guaranteed.

Initially, Watt had also posted his photo on Twitter before the suggested the deal. Currently, he is to play alongside fellow pass-rusher Chandler Jones.

Right after his deal, one of the NFL reporters stated Watt to be one of the risky signings on the team. As per him, he had his last season with low scores and injuries; he will have difficulty fitting in with the team. 

“The one thing I can promise you is I’m going to work my ass off every single day to make you proud. Very proud to be a part of the ‘Bird Gang’ and the ‘Red Sea.'”
-J.J. Watt

A little bit off the topic, right after J.J. Watt left the Houston Texans, he was most expected to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Furthermore, Sports Betting Dime had also listed the Bucs as the second highly odd team to sign in Watt. 

Likewise, Sporting News also named the Bucs the most appealing landing spot for Watt. However, Watt signed with Arizona in the end.

Watt recently announced his retirement from football on December 27, 2022. According to Watt, he will retire after the 2022 season concludes.

J.J. Watt | Injuries

Watt has faced numerous injuries, which have had him out of the games. Additionally, Watt missed 13 games in 2016, 11 in 2017, and eight in 2019.

One of his major injuries was on August 2, 2012, when he dislocated his left elbow. As he suffered the injury during the training camp, he tore “all the ligaments” in the joint. Thus, he missed all preseason games.

He had a nose injury but was fortunate not to miss out on any games. 

Later, on November 29, 2015, Watt had an abdomen muscle tear by grade 3. During that time, he had struggled with a partially torn right adductor longus, a fully torn left adductor longus, and a fully torn left adductor pectineus in his inner thighs, groin, and left and right abdomen.

The same year in December, he also broke his hand during practice. Following it, on July 20, 2016, Watt underwent surgery for a herniated disc in his back. Although he was back on the field in no time, he again had surgery just after playing three games. 

On September 10, 2017, Watt injured his left ring finger, a slight dislocation. A month later, he again had another leg tibial plateau fracture surgery. Right then, he missed out on eleven games in total.

Moving on to January 14, 2019, Watt underwent minor knee surgery. During the latter half of the year, he had torn pectoral in Week 8’s win over Oakland. Exhaustingly, it was followed up by another surgery that missed him eight NFL games. 

Currently, Watt is a member of the Arizona Cardinals roster. He continued to play NFL football on September 28, 2022, despite developing atrial fibrillation.

He has undergone a treatment where Watt had his heart jolted back into a normal rhythm earlier this season, but that hasn’t prevented him from playing.

J.J. Watt | Income And Net Worth

Justin James Watt is one of the best defensemen any team could have. He earns approximately $13 million annually, excluding his endorsements with Reebok, Ford Motor, Gatorade, and several others.

As of 2024, Watt’s net worth is between $10 million and $25 million.

Also, as one of the highest-paid defensemen who signed a $100 million contract with the Texans, his net worth might keep increasing.

Similarly, The football star had a “humble” house in Pearland, a luxurious house for people like us. However, he sold the house in 2016 and bought a cozy cabin in Wisconsin, where he has plans to do some modifications.

Even though he has not shared any pictures of his car collections, he probably owns a group of them. Additionally, he reportedly owns a Ford F-150 Platinum and a Polaris 1000.

Justina And Kealia In Polaris – 1000. (Source: Instagram)

He gifted a Range Rover to his mother as a birthday gift, which might not be the only one.

Personal Logo

Back in 2016, J.J. Watt announced and showcased his personal logo or stamp. According to ESPN, the logo represents a building climbing up the sky, which is, in fact, a metaphor for the work ethic of Watt.

“I wanted the ability to put my own personal stamp of approval on tools that I thought would help people perform better. When you see this logo, you will know that I personally had my hand in the product’s creation and that it has my own personal stamp of approval.”
-J.J. Watt

As a matter of fact, the logo has loads of meanings to it. To illustrate, the logo is an inverted 99 number, which also looks like the letter ‘d’ and ‘b’, which stands for ‘dream big.’ Furthermore, it also represents the letter ‘W.’

Ultimate Tag 

J.J. Watt has commenced his new television show, “Ultimate Tag,” on FOX alongside his NFL star brothers, Derek and T.J. Apparently, this show is a competition-based show inspired by the classic playground game.

Among all the hurdles past, the last man or woman standing as a winner will gain a $10,000 prize. Altogether, it is an American sports entertainment obstacle course competition television series.

J.J. Watt | Marriage & Personal Life

Justin James Watt is a married man who tied the knot with professional soccer player Kealia Mae Ohai. They became husband and wife earlier in 2020 in the Bahamas.

Before that, the couple dated for many years and got engaged in May 2019.

Kealia was born on January 31, 1992, in Utah. She currently plays for the Chicago Red Stars of the National Women’s Soccer League. Previously, she played for the Houston Dash until 2019.

On top of it, Mrs. Watt has represented the United States on international grounds and in the Olympics. Justin and Kealia support and respect each other as a couple and sportspersons.

They are yet to become parents, and one might assume a baby is on its way. However, both seem pretty busy with their sports/work and are happy. Hopefully, they will make an announcement when it’s time.

However, they do have two adorable dogs, Tex and Finley.

Besides being a great player and a husband, he also takes his own stand. To illustrate, Watt believes one should have their own stand rather than let others speak for them. 

For instance, glancing back to when he stood for the national anthem controversy. He stated that kneeling down or not should be commented on by himself. Apparently, he assumed his own political belief and had tweeted the following on Twitter.

(A) don’t speak for me (B) if you still think it’s about disrespecting the flag or our military, you clearly haven’t been listening.”

Charities | Justin J. Foundation

Moving on, Watt is not only a loving husband, son, and brother but is generally a loving and generous human being.

He is the founder and the president of Justin. J. Watt Foundation. The J.J. foundation focuses on providing after-school athletic opportunities to middle-school students so that they learn the importance of teamwork, leadership, accountability, and work ethic while being in a supervised environment.

The foundation was launched in 2010 with the motto, “Dream Big, Work Hard,” and has since raised over $1 million.

Not to forget, in 2015, J.J. Watt visited a children’s hospital dressed up as Batman to cheer the kids.

Similarly, Watt has helped raise funds and donated, to the victims of Hurricane Harvey, the El Paso shooting, and the Houston Food Bank for aid relief during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To summarize his charitable work, he has a golden heart. And though there are several humanitarian efforts he does out of our sight, Watt is doing his part in improving the world.


  • Watt was named Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year and co-named Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year for 2017 for his efforts in humanitarianism.
  • On July 31, 2011, the Houston Texans signed him to a four-year, $11.24 million contract, making him the first defensive end selected in the first round.
  • He became the first Texans player to win the NFL Player of the Year award in 2012, becoming the 17th defensive lineman and only the eighth defensive end to do so since 1971.
  • He and the Texans agreed to a six-year, $100 million contract before the start of the 2014 season, making him the NFL’s highest-paid non-quarterback in average annual salary.
  • Watt agreed to a two-year, $28 million contract with the Arizona Cardinals on March 1, 2021, with a $23 million guarantee.

The Search Graph

The popularity graph of J.J. Watt illustrates his immense popularity, which is directly proportional to wealth. 

J.J Watt, The Search Graph (Source: Google Trend)
J.J Watt, The Search Graph (Source: Google Trend)

We can conclude that he is popular and people search for him from time to time.

J.J. Watt | Social Media Presence

  • Facebook: @jjwatt1 – 2 Million Followers
  • Instagram: @jjwatt – 4.3 Million Followers


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by JJ Watt (@jjwatt)

  • Twitter: @JJWatt – 5.6 Million Followers

J.J. Watt | FAQs

What is the jersey number of J.J. Watt?

While playing in the field, J.J. Watt features in jersey number 99 for the Arizona Cardinals, as seen between the matches.

What are the destinations for J.J. Watt stating?

The destinations listed for J.J. Watt were the teams he would have signed to after leaving the Houston Texans. There were eleven possible teams listed, and some of them were as below.

  • Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Chicago Bears
  • Green Bay Packers
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Kansas City Chiefs
  • AFC South 
  • Dallas Cowboys
  • Cleveland Browns
  • Baltimore Ravens
Aaditya Bhatta
Aaditya Bhatta

Aaditya Bhatta

Aaditya Bhatta is a dynamic writer and sports enthusiast, whose passion for both realms is reflected in his work. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for storytelling, Aaditya brings a unique perspective to his writing, captivating readers with his engaging content.


Sports Analysis Content Creation


  • Aaditya has consistently delivered insightful analysis and captivating content across various platforms.
  • From in-depth match reports to thought-provoking opinion pieces, Aaditya's versatility shines through in his ability to tackle diverse topics


Aaditya's journey as a writer and sports aficionado began at a young age when he discovered his passion for both pursuits. Throughout his academic and professional endeavors, Aaditya has honed his skills in content creation and sports analysis, immersing himself in the intricacies of the games he loves.

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