ESPN Wimply Backtracks On Watt

ESPN's top voice calls J.J. Watt the NFL MVP — and then wimpily backtracks under Aaron Rodgers pressure

ESPN voice calls J.J. Watt MVP, then wimpily backtracks under pressure

7 Texans vs. Bengals first half November 2014 J.J. Watt
J.J. Watt gained MVP notice from Jon Gruden — until the Aaron Rodgers mafia stepped in. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
Jon Gruden ESPN
ESPN personality Jon Gruden jumped all in on the J.J. Watt for MVP bandwagon. Briefly. Courtesy of Sports TV
Aaron Rodgers Michelle Tafoya
Aaron Rodgers' media love could swing the NFL MVP race. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
7 Texans vs. Bengals first half November 2014 J.J. Watt
Jon Gruden ESPN
Aaron Rodgers Michelle Tafoya

J.J. Watt is enjoying one incredible week.

Winning the Pro Bowl Defensive MVP award, getting gifted a brand new free GMC truck, stealing the show on Jimmy Kimmel, hanging out with Katy Perry in SportsCenter clips . . . that's a run to make even fellow sports superstars swoon with envy.

Heck, LeBron James rarely has weeks like this. It could get much better for Watt too.

If Watt wins the NFL MVP Award in the Saturday night Super Bowl's eve TV special, he'll go absolutely historic.

Gruden's declaration was even more heartfelt than his (well paid) love of Hooters. Watt's the MVP. No need to over think it . . .

In a year in which no NFL quarterback did anything close to historic (Aaron Rodgers didn't even have a career year) and J.J. Watt certainly did, the Houston Texans gameplan wrecker clearly should take home the MVP trophy. Only the NFL's ever increasing quarterback bias could rob Watt of joining Lawrence Taylor in the ranks of the super defensive outliers.

But a recent gutless flip flop from ESPN's top NFL voice illustrates just how engrained that QB bias runs.

As Jon Gruden watched Watt pluck another interception out of thin air in the Pro Bowl, he gushed, "I don't know how he isn't the MVP of pro football."

Gruden's declaration was even more heartfelt than his (well compensated) love of Hooters. Watt's the MVP. No need to over think it . . .

But then Gruden's on-air partner Mike Tirico jumped in with a what about Aaron Rodgers?

And suddenly Gruden is backpedaling faster than a cornerback facing Calvin Johnson.

"I wish you hadn't brought up Aaron Rodgers," Gruden groaned. "I have so much respect for Aaron Rodgers."

Just like that, Gruden completely shifted his MVP course. Aaron Rodgers fawning media acolytes are afraid to be caught "disrespecting" their favored one. So they don't go with their correct first instinct — Watt is the NFL MVP — and instead shift back to genuflecting at the altar of Rodgers. There's an absolute reluctance to go away from the quarterback.

Even Houston Chronicle NFL writer John McClain had to be practically locally shamed into voting for Watt over Rodgers at the end after advocating for the Green Bay quarterback over Watt almost all season.

This type of attitude is why Watt almost assuredly will not win league MVP as he should Saturday night (the votes have long been in). Even the most amazing weeks still have limits when you're a defensive player.