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J.J. Watt is undoubtedly one of the most likable players in the NFL, but even he isn’t immune to some beef.
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton is nicknamed the Red Rifle because of bright red hair that could get him cast as a Weasley in a Harry Potter reboot.
After the Houston Texans pulled out an ugly 10-6 win over the Bengals to end their eight-game win streak in 2015, Watt said the defense’s goal was to “to come out here and make the Red Rifle look like a Red Ryder BB gun.”
Yes, a Red Ryder BB Gun. Like the toy Ralphie Parker begs his mother for in A Christmas Story. I wonder how long it took him to come up with that one. Even ESPN sideline reporter Lisa Salters seemed perplexed by Watt’s comment.
Made the Red Rifle look like a Red Rider BB Gun pic.twitter.com/F4uNqbRdFc— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) November 17, 2015
It was a bad joke. As somebody who is an avid participant in bad jokes and great puns, there’s no denying that.
But Dalton wasn’t pleased. The Red Rifle acted offended by Watt’s postgame comments, saying that it affected the “integrity of the game” — which seems a little dramatic to me.
“I have a lot of respect for him,” Dalton said during his own postgame press conference. “He’s a really good player. There’s a lot of kids and lot of people that look up to him, and for him to make comments like that, he’s just showing that that’s acceptable to do that kind of stuff, to say that kind of stuff.
“It’s disappointing for one of the best players in this league to come out and say something like that. That’s all I’m going to say about that. I think J.J.’s a good player. But for him to be one of the best in this league and to show that integrity, it shows what he’s about, which is disappointing.”
Dalton obviously took the comment to heart. But to be fair, Watt wasn’t totally wrong in his brief analysis of Dalton and Cincinnati’s offense that evening.
The Bengals entered the game undefeated and had a pretty great offense that season, but you wouldn’t know it from watching them face Watt and the Houston defense. The Texans limited Dalton to just 197 yards with no touchdowns and an interception. Watt also sacked Dalton.
The two would go on to insist that they weren’t feuding and Dalton hadn’t even seen Watt’s interview when he initially responded, but that doesn’t change the fact he overreacted to what was a playful and harmless jab.
It was a dumb, cheesy joke that made me chuckle when it happened and still makes me chuckle four years later. It’s no doubt one of the dumbest NFL “beefs” ever — and I would love if we got more of them.