Texans star J.J. Watt wants to thank Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk before Houston’s game with Tennessee for being one of the first big donors to his Hurricane Harvey relief fund.
Their conversation will also include an apology because the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year can’t take it easier on her Titans in exchange for her donation.
Watt has 15 ½ sacks in 10 career games against Tennessee.
“It’s tough,” Watt said. “I’m going to tell her beforehand I apologize for whatever happens on the field, but I appreciate the donation nonetheless, and I hope the check still clears.”
Strunk, a Houston native who lives in Waller, Texas, announced a $1 million donation Aug. 29 to Watt’s relief fund. Watt said Strunk was the first to donate such a big sum of money, and that’s why he wants to thank her personally. Watt added it was hard to describe his feelings at the time with Strunk the owner of an AFC South rival with ties to Houston, where her late father founded the then-Houston Oilers.
“For her to stand up and show that type of support, that type of commitment, it was incredible,” Watt said. “There really weren’t words to describe it and I still don’t have the proper words to say thank you, but I think it was such an incredible gesture and I’ll forever be thankful to her for that.”
VIRTUAL CLASSROOM EXPERIENCE: The American Heart Association has teamed with the NFL and Discovery Education on a classroom virtual experience to promote healthier lifestyles.
Entitled NFL Play 60 Challenge Virtual Experience: Your Roadmap to a Healthy Heart , the program will allow students to “get up and get moving” with Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen and tight end Kyle Rudolph, and AHA volunteer and cardiologist Dr. Courtney Baechler. Students will learn how the heart works and how physical activity helps to keep it strong.
Available for free to classrooms nationwide, the program includes a virtual viewing party guide and a classroom activity designed to get the entire classroom active.
After a successful virtual field trip debuted at the Super Bowl in February, the NFL and its partners took this next step.
“As we celebrate 10 years of NFL PLAY 60, we look forward to advancing progress and building healthier generations of youth through fun and innovative platforms such as the Virtual Experience,” said NFL senior vice president of social responsibility Anna Isaacson.
WAKING UP AT THE BIG GAME: Here’s a good way to get into Super Bowl week: sleeping at the stadium.
Courtyard is inviting a fan and a guest not to its hotel in Minneapolis for the lead-up to February’s game, but to a field-level suite it is creating for its “Super Bowl Sleepover” contest. Tickets to the game come with the package.
It’s the third straight year of the contest, but this one came with an innovation. In Manhattan, former New York Giants players Justin Tuck, a Super Bowl winner himself, and Rashad Jennings unveiled a custom, state-of-the-art four-dimensional dome to bring the sights and sounds of a Super Bowl experience to a 360-degree wrap-around screen.
“I’m often asked to describe what it feels like to play in a Super Bowl and it’s really tough to articulate the experience,” Tuck said. “But it’s amazing how close the technology inside Courtyard’s 4-D dome helped to recreate some of the incredible excitement that I felt while playing.”
Fans can enter the contest by sharing their most unique NFL photos via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag CourtyardSuperBowlContest through November 3. Sleepless nights guaranteed until you hear if you won.
MAN OF HIS WORD: A mic’d up Carson Wentz promised to give kicker Jake Elliott his game check if the rookie made a 61-yard field goal to give the Eagles a 27-24 win over the Giants. Elliott nailed it, and the video of Wentz making that vow on the sideline before rushing onto the field to mob Elliott was released two days later. Wentz kept his word and plans to donate money to a charity of Elliott’s choice. Wentz earns about $31,764 before taxes for each game.
“It was really cool how we captured that whole moment,” Wentz said. “You don’t see 61-yard game-winners very often, and I just happened to be mic’d up and saying some random things, but it was all funny. I talked to Jake afterward, and I kind of wanted to donate some of it to a charity of his choice, so that’s what we’re going to do.”
GREASED LIGHTNING: The 62-minute weather delay at the Cowboys-Broncos game in Denver earlier this season came about thanks to a lightning prediction system called “Thor Guard.” It uses a different method than other lightning warning systems that detect lightning strikes and forecasts where the next ones will occur.
“What Thor Guard does is it actually receives and analyzes the electrostatic changes in the atmosphere and provides a warning prior to lightning,” said company president Bob Dugan.
Dugan said it predicts lightning strikes 5 to 20 minutes before they occur and can foreshadow the proverbial bolt out of the blue where there are no associated storms or even cloud cover.
The system is used by the Broncos and several other NFL teams, including the Bears, Panthers, Jets, Browns and Texans.
AP Pro Football Writers Barry Wilner, Arnie Stapleton, Rob Maaddi and Teresa M. Walker contributed.