ICYMI: J.J. Watt is heading to Phoenix and the Arizona Cardinals to continue, possibly finish his career.
Smart move, climate-wise and otherwise.
Football is primarily a September to December sport, at least in Houston these days. Of course, in other cities successful teams continue playing into January. It's called the post-season. If your quarterback is Tom Brady, don't make any plans until after the Super Bowl in February.
Rookies don't have a choice, they go where they're drafted. They have no control over whether it's bright, cool, and sunny San Diego — or gloomy, cold, and cloudy Pittsburgh or Buffalo or Cleveland or, worst, Detroit.
J.J. Watt couldn't have picked a better place to spend his fall and winter than Phoenix. I can tell you.
I lived in Phoenix before coming to Houston. And I lived in Detroit for a year before going to Phoenix. My hobby in Detroit was getting out of Detroit. It had nothing to do with the city or its people. It's actually a very pretty city, especially downtown.
I just couldn't deal with the cold weather. Winter highs barely touch freezing. Sleeping is a three dog night plus a comforter, plus the thermostat cranked up to $500 electric bills.
The playwright George S. Kaufmann, who wrote several of the Marx Brothers' movies and won a Tony for directing Guys and Dolls, said, "I've been rich and I've been poor. Believe me, rich is better."
Believe me, Phoenix in winter is better.
Plus it's not like Watt will be a stranger in Arizona. One of his teammates will be DeAndre Hopkins, another great Texans player and fan favorite who was banished from Houston for practically nothing in return. In Watt's case, absolutely nothing in return. This is how you conduct business in the Bizarro World.
Houston is a relatively young city, Although it was founded in 1836, Houston really didn't get going until the mid-20th century. While Chicago had 2 million residents in 1910, Houston had only 78,000 people, and most of them lived "inside the Loop."
Houston boomed in the '50s, had a blip with the decline in oil prices in the '80s and is back as one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S.
Compared to Houston, Phoenix is a spec house by appointments only. The city shimmers. Traffic is bad, sure, but it's bad everywhere and not nearly the brain-bursting nightmare as Houston's.
State Farm Stadium in Glendale, home of the Arizona Cardinals, is in the Super Bowl rotation. So if Watt's dream comes true, he may get to do a "Tom Brady," win a title in his home stadium.
Watt's decision to pick the Arizona Cardinals came as a surprise because the favorite landing spots seemed to be Green Bay, Cleveland, and Buffalo, — all frozen tundra open-air stadiums. Given a choice, c'mon, it's 70 with a crystal blue sky in Arizona in January. Watt is not a dummy.
If you're looking for a terrific pizza place in Phoenix, try the Red Devil Italian Restaurant on McDowell and 32nd Street. I used to eat there about three times a week on my way home from work. They have a double-crust pie that will make your knees shake.
We don't know how much other teams may have offered Watt, but at this stage in his career, money isn't the No. 1 priority.
Here are three reasons why Watt left: lifestyle, winning, and personal happiness.
Bonus: Watt still will be able to watch a dynamic young quarterback throw touchdowns to Hopkins. Kyler Murray is super fast and has a big time arm and the offense has faith in him.
You know, like the Texans players trust Deshaun Watson to bail out their sorry butts. Except Murray has an imaginative head coach who knows how to take advantage of his supreme skills.
And the Cardinals owner isn't an inarticulate buffoon who's mesmerized by Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show. Not saying any names here, but how much more can Texans fans take?
All things considered, not considering childhood memories and college allegiance, it was a natural selection for J.J. Watt to accept the Arizona Cardinals' offer.