JJ Watt

J.J. Watt earned a reputation as one of the most colorful players around during his NFL career. Behind the scenes, he may have been even more colorful than anyone thought.

The recently retired defensive legend shared a tale Tuesday on the “Green Light with Chris Long” podcast about the time he tried to give every single student at Wisconsin’s graduation ceremony a cold beer.


As Watt explained it, when he gave the commencement speech in 2019 at Wisconsin, his alma mater, he pitched an idea to university officials.

“I was talking to the university and I was like, ‘This is what I want to do,’” Watt said on the podcast. “Spotted Cow is the best beer in Wisconsin. It’s incredible. I wanted to put a Spotted Cow under every single seat in the stadium.

I’ll pay for it all. I’ll pay for the labor to put it under the seats, but at the end of my commencement speech, I’m gonna say, ‘Now, to congratulate you, reach under your seat and have a cold one on me.’”

University officials, after possibly a nanosecond of thought, nixed the idea.

“They were like, ‘Yeah, we can’t do that, legally,’” Watt said. “So then I tried, ‘What if I tape under there a gift certificate for one beer down at The Terrace [the open-air lakefront bar on the UW campus], and they were just like, ‘We just can’t associate alcohol with our graduation.’

“It ruined my idea, but I thought that would’ve been such a bad-*** idea.”

The three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year has no hard feelings about UW’s decision, but he thinks it would have been an awesome graduation gift for everyone.

“I’m still convinced this would have been one of the greatest commencement speaker moves of all time if they’d have let me do it,” Watt tweeted Tuesday after the podcast dropped. “(On second thought, maybe it would be 2nd place to that guy who paid off all the student debt.)

“(Yeah, definitely probably 2nd place.)”


Watt retired after the 2022 season. Maybe he can celebrate with a Spotted Cow when he gets the inevitable call from Canton.

[J.J. Watt]

About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.