Houston Hero: JJ Watt’s Hurricane Harvey fund tops $27 million dollars

Anyone who’s seen JJ Watt on the football field knows he’s a special player. But what he’s done off the field is even more incredible — and Watt could be the greatest defensive end to ever play the game by the time he hangs up the cleats.

What started out as an effort to raise $200,000 (Watt kicked in $100,000 of his own cash to get things started) for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts has reached an astounding $27 million dollars.

This is altruism in the truest sense of the word. Watt is leveraging his platform as an NFL star to the fullest extent possible. He’s didn’t do this so people would like him or to make himself look good; dude genuinely cares about the people of Houston. And this is coming from a guy who got booed by the Houston fans when he was drafted 11th overall back in 2011.

They ain’t booing now. Of the five full NFL seasons Watt has played (a back injury limited him to just three games last season), he’s been named NFL Defensive Player of the Year three times. Three out of five. Sixty percent.

For context, five-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady, widely considered the greatest quarterback of all time, is entering his 18th year in the league and has been named NFL Offensive Player of the Year twice. To reiterate, JJ Watt is three out of five at being the best defensive player in the league, Tom Brady is two out of seventeen at being the best offensive player.

JJ Watt is literally Superman out there on the field. Yet somehow, his off-field endeavors are more amazing; more profound. Yes, the NFL gives millions of people purpose during the season. It’s something to look forward to every week — watching your team do battle against their (and by extension, your) foes.

But hurricanes are a matter of life and death. At least 70 people have died from Hurricane Harvey. JJ Watt has gone above and beyond the call of duty to support his adopted home of Houston. He’s eclipsed his initial $200,000 goal by two orders of magnitude.

If you’re looking for a real-life superhero, look no further than number 99 on the Houston Texans.