What do J.J. Watt and Brett Rypien have in common?
When you see the NFL’s defensive MVP and Boise State’s starting QB you probably can’t see much they have in common.
But both J.J. and Brett grew up playing another sport other than football, hockey. Now simply playing the same sport isn’t why I mention it. Just about everyone knows that hockey is one of the roughest sports around. Football also being a sport that requires a high level of toughness.
So why is them both playing hockey as a youth worth mentioning? Because either they were born tough, or hockey made them that way. Or maybe a little of both. Houston Texans DE J.J. Watt has continually shown his toughness playing despite sickness, injury, or bloody noses. Rypien has shown his toughness this year getting right back up after taking multiple hits in the backfield. Whether he stands in the pocket after a throw, or is simply taken down, Brett has taken a lot of hits in his first year as starting quarterback. In his first start against Virginia Brett Rypien was sacked three times, and knocked down more. Coach Harsin said “the requirement of toughness is number one. He showed that in that game.” Later in the season taking the snaps against Utah State, the Aggies were able to sack him four times. Yet he continues to get right back up.
Photo courtesy Rick Bowmer/Associated Press
So how much has hockey played a role in developing this toughness? Doing a little research about Rypien’s prior involvement in the sport, The Idaho Statesman found that “he played youth hockey from ages 5 to 10” which they said attributed to Brett’s development through sports.
In the ESPN special E:60, J.J. Watt stated that he played hockey from ages 3 to 13 and recently started skating as part of his off-season workouts.
Both of these players have demonstrated toughness on the football field, and no matter how much green is on Brett Rypien’s jersey he will continue to show how tough he is. Boise State fans can thank hockey for helping to create a real tough quarterback.
Instead of wearing Kellen Moore’s #11, Brett chose #4 because it was his hockey number.
Brett Rypien’s cousin Rick was an NHL player, who was known for his hitting and fighting.