Gatorade Gave J.J. Watt A Firefighter’s Workout, Just Like His Retired Dad

Spoiler: Apparently even J.J. Watt gets tired.

WHAT: A three-minute documentary in which J.J. Watt puts on the firefighter’s gear for a sweaty summer workout.


WHO: J.J. Watt, his dad Jon Watt, the Pewaukee, Wisconsin, Fire Department, as part of Gatorade’s “Beat The Heat” program for young athletes.

WHY WE CARE: Watt is probably the NFL’s marquee pitchman, in this post-Peyton Manning era, and most of his ads frame the beefy defensive end as the ultimate man’s man–his Verizon spot is literally just him chopping wood in the forest–so it’s interesting to see him struggle in firefighter training. He’s used to performing in pads, but the 50-75 pound firefighter’s gear pretty effectively wears him out. “I don’t think anybody understands what this gear does to intensify a workout,” Watt says as he breathes heavy and declares his respect for the men in uniform. He carries hoses up multiple flights of stairs, he does cone drills, he swings an axe (of course he does), and pays tribute to the high-stakes work of firefighters, humbling himself as a guy who makes his living playing a game. It’d be corny if Watt’s father weren’t a retired firefighter himself, but because he knows that business firsthand, it just comes off as sincere.

About the author

Dan Solomon lives in Austin with his wife and his dog. He's written about music for MTV and Spin, sports for Sports Illustrated, and pop culture for Vulture and the AV Club.