J.J. Watt received an emotional and fitting tribute from San Francisco 49ers fans on Sunday afternoon.
Watt walked off the field at Levi’s Stadium on Sunday to a standing ovation, one that brought him to tears as he hugged Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury near the end of his final NFL game.
Watt's wife, Kealia, was in tears from her seat in the stadium. Niners tight end George Kittle was jumping up and down on the sideline, celebrating Watt at one point, too.
Watt announced last month that he would retire after the season, ending an impressive 12-year career that is sure to land him in the Hall of Fame. The 33-year-old finished his career with 586 total tackles, 114.5 sacks and two interceptions in 151 games. The five-time Pro Bowler and Walter Payton Man of the Year award winner will undoubtedly go down as one of the best defenders in league history.
Sometime in the coming days I’ll find the right words.
But for right now, all I can say is thank you.
You’ve changed my life forever and I am perpetually grateful.
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) January 9, 2023
The tribute in Santa Clara, Calif., wasn't all Watt received Sunday. His two brothers, who both play for the Pittsburgh Steelers, arrived at Acrisure Stadium for their game against the Cleveland Browns in J.J. Watt jerseys.
Man oh man, I wasn’t ready for this this morning.
Genuinely could not ask for two better brothers.
This means the world to me.
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) January 8, 2023
Plenty were there to thank Watt on the field after the game.
The 49ers had little issue getting past the Cardinals on Sunday afternoon. They rolled to a 38-13 win behind three touchdowns from quarterback Brock Purdy and two more on the ground from Elijah Mitchell to take their 10th straight win. The Cardinals, on the other hand, finished the season 4-13.
While his final season wasn’t great on the field from a team standpoint, Watt certainly got the farewell he deserved.