J.J. Watt shouldn’t concern himself with Zach Mettenberger


The NFL season officially ends after the Super Bowl in February but it feels like the NFL dominates the headlines 365 days a year. July is considered the “dead period” for the NFL, which may be why we are focusing on things that would likely be ignored at any other point in the season, things such as Zach Mettenberger responding to J.J. Watt about something that occurred several months ago.

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In the week leading up to his first career NFL start, Mettenberger posted several selfies on his social media accounts, including one just prior to the start of the game. This apparently angered Watt, who pretended to take a selfie as a celebration after sacking Mettenberger. When asked about his celebration in the postgame press conference, Watt said it was to remind Mettenberger that this is the NFL and not high school.

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Yesterday (and months after the initial incident), Mettenberger responded in an interview with CampusSports.net:

“J.J. had to say it’s a bit high schoolish that I take selfies, and I think he still rags me on Instagram every time he posts a selfie,” Mettenberger said. “At the same time, if that’s high schoolish, he got a letterman jacket made — a Texans letterman jacket. That’s pretty high schoolish to me, don’t you say?”

It didn’t take long for Watt to respond. In his best Tywin Lannister impression, Watt tweeted “A lion doesn’t concern himself with the opinions of a sheep. Time to attack the day.” Mettenberger again responded later in the day saying that he was just joking, seemingly ending the feud, at least for now.

But seriously, does Watt really need Zach Mettenberger, a guy who has started six NFL games (and lost all six) to motivate him? Mettenberger actually played pretty well in his first career start against the Texans, throwing for 299 yards and two touchdowns. Clearly it was a big moment for the 23-year-old and it’s hard to criticize him too much for posting several selfies leading up to the game (especially in today’s world where everyone seems to feel the need to document what they ate for lunch).

Nov 30, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Zach Mettenberger (7) talks after the game with Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (99) at NRG Stadium. The Texans beat the Titans 45-21. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

And – brace yourself Texans’ fans – Mettenberger has a point. The letterman jackets were a disaster. At the time, Houston was 11-1 and traveling to New England to face the 9-3 Patriots. The Houston players arrived sporting shiny letterman jackets, which were called “cute” by one Patriot player, and were prepared to claim the title of the best team in the AFC. New England proceeded to embarrass Houston 42-14 on national television. Since that game, the Texans have a record of 13-24.

Watt is one of the fiercest competitors in the NFL which is also what makes him one of the best players in the league. In this situation, however, I think he needs to let it go. If there was ever a definition of a sheep, it’s Zach Mettenberger. He is a backup quarterback on a team that will be lucky to win five games in 2015.

If he does get to play against the Texans at some point in the upcoming season, no doubt Watt will have something special in mind if (or more accurately, when) he gets a sack. But if Watt is really a lion, he’ll let his play on the field do the talking and put an end to this juvenile debate where both players are coming across as high-schoolers.

Next: Can J.J. Watt win league MVP?

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