After pioneering an all new form of immersive competitive entertainment in 2020, VERZUZ—the online series launched by Swizz Beatz and Timbaland—comes together for the first-of-its-kind partnership with the NFL to bring you “NFL Pro Bowl VERZUZ presented by Verizon”. Every night beginning January 26 – 29 at 8:00 PM ET on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and more, there will be four days of competitive career highlight battles between several of the most recognizable NFL superstars in the game, hosted by NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders and NFL Network host MJ Acosta-Ruiz. Pro Bowl players Deshaun Watson, Jamal Adams, Budda Baker, DeAndre Hopkins, Jalen Ramsey, Cameron Jordan, Myles Garrett and more will go head-to-head in real-time to determine the winners of several entertaining categories, showcasing their talents on and off the field. Full player matchups will be announced on Monday, January 25 via NFL and VERZUZ social media accounts.
VERZUZ has built a platform for artists to showcase their catalogs to a massive global audience, including celebrities, influencers, politicians, athletes and more. Through this collaboration, Pro Bowl players will be able to showcase their most impressive career highlights in a competitive nature, allowing fans to engage with their favorite players in real-time and support them during entertaining debates. The list of players participating in the battles, which will be comprised of some of the biggest talents and personalities in the NFL, will be announced soon. As always, it promises to be unlike anything else in sports and culture.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the players go head to head with their highlights!” says Swizz Beatz. “These guys are icons just like the artists, let’s give them their flowers.” Timbaland adds, “Verzuz partnering with the NFL made sense for us with culture, sports and music being so aligned.”
“Our Social and Influencer programs are centered around developing innovative concepts that help expand the reach of NFL players as well as our game to younger and more casual audiences. This opportunity to connect the NFL Pro Bowl with VERZUZ for the first time is a perfect continuation of our strategy and something we believe both the fans and players will enjoy,” said Tim Ellis, NFL EVP & Chief Marketing Officer. “Through this collaboration, elite Pro Bowl players will get an opportunity to directly engage with fans in real-time in a friendly debate of their career highlights, in an array of diverse categories that will show that our players’ personalities off the field are just as fun and entertaining as their extraordinary talents on the field.”
Elements of the “NFL Pro Bowl VERZUZ presented by Verizon” will also be featured during the ESPN/ABC simulcast of ‘2021 Pro Bowl Celebration presented by Verizon’ on Sunday, January 31, at 3 PM ET. This ESPN special will celebrate the amazing seasons of this year’s Pro Bowl players.
It had been rumored all week that Texans WR Will Fuller V was being shopped around the league before the trade deadline, but the deadline passed, and ultimately, Fuller remained in Houston.
Well, fortunately for the Texans, Fuller was on the field against the Jaguars on Sunday. The fifth-year wide receiver caught five balls for 100 yards, including a 77-yard touchdown reception, as the Texans(2-6) defeated Jacksonville(1-7) 27-25 at TIAA Bank Field.
After the game, Fuller reacted to being shopped around the league before the trade deadline.
“To be honest, it really sucked being shopped around like that,” Fuller said. “Giving this organization my all and coming to work every day, I’m a very unselfish player and do everything they asked. To be shopped around, I did feel a certain type of way. Like I said, I am happy to be here and to play with DeShaun(Watson) and to continue to try to get wins with this organization”
Texans QB Deshaun Watson added on Fuller: “Ain’t nobody going to do that. Would ‘ve been hell if they would ‘ve did that, for sure, honestly. But no, I ‘mm glad to continue to play with Will [Fuller V]. We’ve been making a lot of big, big plays since I came in this league together and are going to continue to do that as we continue to go the rest of this year and hopefully the rest of our career.”
Watson lost a marquee wide receiver in DeAndre Hopkins, who was traded away to the Cardinals in the offseason, so obviously, he does not want to lose Fuller.
The 26-year-old Fuller, who is having a productive season for Houston, is in the final year of his contract and can become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end. In eight games this season, Fuller has 36 receptions for 590 yards and six touchdowns. It should be interesting to see if Fuller does have a future in Houston beyond this season.
It was an interesting week for the Houston Texans. On Monday, the team fired its head coach Bill O’Brien after the team started the season 0-4, but with interim head coach Romeo Crennel at the helm, who at 73 years old is the oldest coach in NFL history, Houston’s fortunes changed on Sunday at NRG Stadium.
Behind Deshaun Watson’s 359 yards passing and three touchdowns and WR Brandin Cook’s eight catches for 161 yards and one touchdown, the Texans(1-4) defeated the Jaguars(1-4) 30-14 to get their first win of the season.
“That was huge. The win was huge,” Crennel said after the game. “You know, particularly the way that we started the season, not winning a game out of four, and then being able to come here at home and play a tough game, hang in there. All phases made a contribution to the victory, and then we had several players who stepped up and did very well. The quarterback played well. The receivers played well. The runners were able to run. The line blocked defensively. I think we were under 100 yards rushing for the first time this season and got some turnovers, which we hadn’t been getting. So all of those things combined help us win the game.”
Texans DE J.J. Watt added: “We had a lot of fun today. We had a lot of fun on offense, defense, special teams. Everybody pitching in. Whenever something went wrong, the other group was ready to step up and make a play to make it right. Nobody hung their heads. Everybody was ready to roll, had great energy. I thought the fans were great, had a great vibe from the fans. It was just a lot of fun. For Romeo (Crennel), seeing his dance moves in the locker room after the game were a real treat, so that was enjoyable.”
At 1-4, the Texans have some work to do if they want to get back into contention, but according to Watson, the Texans can build on this win against Jacksonville.
“We’ve just got to continue to have fun and continue to build the momentum, continue to keep guys healthy, continue to prepare and just be loose,” Watson said. “Not too loose, but at the same time, just have fun. Regardless of what happens, good or bad, because each team is very, very good, and each team is going to make plays. It’s hard to score points in this league.
“It’s hard to stop people in this league. For us, just to keep building and just take it one week at a time, that’s our mentality. We’re not looking four to six weeks down the road or anything. We expect to win each and every week, and we’re going to go into each game, and you’re going to get our best, and you’re going to get everything we got. We have nothing to lose. That’s the mentality we have to have, and just keep stacking them each and every week. We’ve got to continue to ride this wave and build on it, you know.”
When you’re winless, any win is good. Now, with a new voice, maybe the Texans can find a way to turn things around in 2020.
Even in a loss, Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson showed the league that he is special. Against the Saints on Monday night, the third-year quarterback accounted for four touchdowns, including one on the ground, and he put the Texans in position to win before Saints K Wil Lutz made a 58-yard FG at the buzzer as New Orleans defeated the Texans 30-28 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
In his short time in the league, the 23-year-old Watson has proven to be a play-maker, and as he demonstrated on Monday night, has shown the ability to be clutch. In 2018, Watson had five game-winning drives.
According to Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone, whose Jaguars travel to Houston to face Watson and the Texans on Sunday, Watson could win MVP in 2019.
“(Watson)Probably competes for the MVP. I can’t say anything more than that,” Marrone said on Wednesday. “Last week, we saw the 2018 MVP in Patrick Mahomes who played like an MVP. We are going in and playing against another quarterback who has the same amount of skill, the same amount of ability, and I think it’ll be between those two guys who’s going to be the MVP. I’m sure someone else will start playing well down the road, but right now those guys just took it Week 1, but those two guys are playing really well.”
Last season, Watson threw for 4165 yards and 26 touchdowns, and he rushed for 551 yards and scored five touchdowns on the ground, and If Watson continues to play as well as he did on Monday, he would be in the running for MVP. However, Watson does take a lot of hits, and he was sacked six times against the Saints. All that must change if he wants to finish the season healthy, but for now, Watson is definitely off to a great start.
Texans QB Deshaun Watson has rebounded nicely after tearing his ACL last season. The second-year quarterback has the Texans one game away from clinching the AFC South, and if few things work in their favor, Watson and the Texans could clinch a first-round bye on Sunday as they battle the Jacksonville Jaguars.
In 2018, Watson has proven that he can do things with his arm(3931, 26 TD, 9 INT), and with his legs(485 yards, 4 TD), and he has also proven that he’s more than a runner, something that Jaguars CB Jalen Ramsey has noticed.
“People try to pigeon-hole some guys in the league who are mobile quarterbacks, and they try to lean on that all the time, but he is not one of those guys who can only run and not really pass like some other guys,” Ramsey said on Thursday. “He’s a guy who can truly pass the ball very well. He has good connections with not only D-Hop but his tight ends, his [running] backs and other receivers. He’s a really good quarterback before he’s an athlete.”
Watson is a proven winner. He won a National Championship in college at Clemson, and he is 13-8 as a starter in the NFL. At this point, I think it’s safe to say that Watson is a good quarterback before he’s an athlete.
Texans QB Deshaun Watson had a longer than usual trip to Jacksonville. Due to a bruised lung and injured ribs, the team had concerns about Watson flying, so he had to take a private bus from Houston to Jacksonville, and after what happened today, Watson should have a great bus trip back as the Texans defeated the Jaguars 20-7 on Sunday.
With the victory, Houston is in sole possession of first place in the AFC South.
After the game, Watson(12/24, 139 yards, 1 TD) discussed his bus ride to Jacksonville:
(On J.J. Watt wanting to travel back with him by bus)
“I have plenty of room. I have a little studio in the back. We’ll make an album or something. Tell him, ‘All good.’”
(On what the trip from Houston to Jacksonville by bus was like)
“It was smooth. We just kind of hung out, watched the film, recovery stuff, played a game, watched TV, slept, stopped and got something to eat. That was pretty much it.”
(On who traveled by bus with him)
“Just me, [Senior Director of Sports Performance] Luke [Richesson], [Assistant Athletic Trainer] Uriah [Myrie] and [inaudible].”
(On his reaction to traveling by bus)
“I was cool with it, you know. Whatever it takes to get me down here to be able to be with my teammates and be able to play and do what I do and help this team win, I’m up for it.”
The injury bug continues to hit the Texans. According to the NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, promising rookie QB Deshaun Watson has a torn ACL. He will miss the rest of the season.
Watson tore his ACL during a non-contact play in practice today, according to the report.
Watson, who threw four touchdowns against the Seahawks last Sunday, is tied for the NFL lead in passing touchdowns with 19.
Just awful news for the Texans who are already without J.J. Watt, and awful news for the NFL!
Texans QB DeShaun Watson has a confirmed torn ACL, source says. So the team's fears that @RapSheet reported are confirmed.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) November 2, 2017
Day 1 of the NFL Draft featured a lot of moves and surprises. Here are some news and notes, courtesy of the NFL, from the day 1 of the draft.
2017 NFL DRAFT ROUND 1 NOTES
GREAT GARRETT: The Cleveland Browns selected DE MYLES GARRETT with the No. 1 overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft, marking the first time in Texas A&M history that a player was chosen first overall.
Garrett became the sixth Texas A&M player to be selected in the top 10 since 2011, joining T JAKE MATTHEWS (sixth overall, 2014), WR MIKE EVANS (seventh overall, 2014), T LUKE JOECKEL (second overall, 2013), QB RYAN TANNEHILL (eighth overall, 2012) and LB VON MILLER (second overall, 2011).
— 2017 NFL DRAFT —
FIRST TIME QBs: North Carolina QB MITCHELL TRUBISKY was selected by the Chicago Bears with the second overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft and Texas Tech QB PATRICK MAHOMES was chosen with the tenth overall pick by Kansas City, both becoming the first quarterback from their respective schools selected in the first round.
Trubisky joins T.J. YATES (2011, fifth round) and RONALD CURRY (2002, seventh round) as the only North Carolina quarterbacks to be selected in the NFL Draft.
Mahomes is the fourth Texas Tech player and the first Red Raider quarterback selected in the first round since 1967.
TEXAS TECH PLAYERS SELECTED IN THE FIRST ROUND OF THE DRAFT
|2017||Patrick Mahomes||QB||10||Kansas City|
|2009||Michael Crabtree||WR||10||San Francisco|
Clemson QB DESHAUN WATSON, who was selected by the Houston Texans with the 12th overall pick, became the second first-round quarterback in school history. He joins STEVE FULLER (23rd overall by Kansas City in 1979) as the only Tiger quarterbacks to be selected in the first round since 1967.
— 2017 NFL DRAFT —
MAKING HISTORY: The Tennessee Titans selected Western Michigan WR COREY DAVIS with the fifth overall pick, the highest draft pick in school history.
Davis became the second player and first wide receiver out of Western Michigan to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft, joining LB JASON BABIN, who was selected by the Houston Texans with the 27th overall pick of the 2004 Draft.
— 2017 NFL DRAFT —
RISING RBs: Louisiana State RB LEONARD FOURNETTE (fourth overall, Jacksonville) and Stanford RB CHRISTIAN MC CAFFREY (eighth overall, Carolina) were both selected within the first ten picks of the 2017 NFL Draft, the first time two running backs were selected in the top 10 since 2005 (RONNIE BROWN, CEDRIC BENSON and CADILLAC WILLIAMS).
Fournette became the fourth LSU running back selected in the opening round since 1967, while McCaffrey became the third Stanford running back chosen in the first round.
LSU RUNNING BACKS SELECTED IN THE FIRST ROUND OF THE DRAFT
|1991||Harvey Williams||21||Kansas City|
STANFORD RUNNING BACKS SELECTED IN THE FIRST ROUND OF THE DRAFT
— 2017 NFL DRAFT –
TERRIFIC TIGHT ENDS: Alabama TE O.J. HOWARD (19th overall, Tampa Bay), Mississippi TE EVAN ENGRAM (23rd overall, New York Giants) and Miami TE DAVID NJOKU (29th overall, Cleveland) were all selected in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. The three first-round selections tied for the most tight ends chosen in the first round (2002, 1978 and 1973).
— 2017 NFL DRAFT —
ROLL TIDE: Alabama CB MARLON HUMPHREY (16th overall, Baltimore), DT JONATHAN ALLEN (17th overall, Washington), TE O.J. HOWARD (19th overall, Tampa Bay) and LB REUBEN FOSTER (31st overall, San Francisco) were all selected in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Alabama now has a current streak of nine consecutive drafts with at least one first-round pick. The Crimson Tide tied Florida (1983-1991) for the second-longest consecutive streak with at least one player drafted in the first round since the advent of the common draft in 1967.
LONGEST STREAK OF CONSECUTIVE SEASONS WITH A FIRST-ROUND PICK
|YEARS||SCHOOL||CONSECUTIVE SEASONS WITH A FIRST-ROUND PICK|
— 2017 NFL DRAFT —
BOUNTIFUL BUCKEYES: Three Ohio State players heard their names called in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft – CB MARSHON LATTIMORE (11th overall, New Orleans), S MALIK HOOKER (15th overall, Indianapolis) and CB GAREON CONLEY (24th overall, Oakland). In 2016, the Buckeyes had a draft-high five players selected in the first round.
With a total of eight first-rounders in the last two Drafts, Ohio State tied Alabama (2011-12) for the fourth-most first-round picks over any two-year span since 1967. Miami is the only school with more first-round choices over any two-year span, with nine players selected from both 2001-02 and 2002-03 and 10 players drafted from 2003-04.
SCHOOLS WITH THE MOST FIRST-ROUND PICKS OVER ANY TWO-YEAR SPAN
|YEARS||SCHOOL||FIRST-ROUND PICKS OVER TWO-YEAR SPAN|
— 2017 NFL DRAFT —
QUICK HITS: Other items of note from tonight’s first round…
- TE EVAN ENGRAM (No. 23; New York Giants) was the first Mississippi tight end selected in the first round since 1967. He was the fifth tight end in school history to be drafted since 1967.
- Wisconsin LB T.J. WATT was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 30th overall pick. Watt and his brother J.J., who was the 11th overall selection in 2011, became the eighth pair of brothers since 1990 to be selected in the first round of their respective NFL Drafts.
- Louisiana State S JAMAL ADAMS was selected sixth overall by the New York Jets, joining his father GEORGE ADAMS (1985, New York Giants) as the eighth father-son combination to be drafted in the first round in the common draft era.
Deshaun Watson is a winner, and hopefully for Houston, he’ll bring that winning mentality to the NFL. Watson goes number 12 to the Texans. The Texans give up their 2017 first-round pick(25), and their 2018 first-round pick to get the 12th pick in this year’s draft.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 28, 2017
Coming into the draft, Watson felt he was better than former UNC QB Mitchell Trubisky, who went to the Bears at number two.
Earlier, Watson told ESPN that it would be “a slap in the face” if Trubisky goes before him in the draft:
“It’s like a slap in the face, to be honest,” Watson told Josina Anderson of ESPN. “You see all the things I’ve accomplished, it’s a long list, and they want to talk about the little negatives I have and bring somebody else up? It’s a little disrespectful.”
For the Texans’ sake, hopefully Watson plays with a huge “chip on his shoulder.”