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Keep it that way as you head East, Astros. Quoting someone from a different sport, “All gas, no brakes.”

That’s it for J.J. in 2021. Part of me truly hopes that’s it for J.J.’s NFL career. I awoke to the news that the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year and certain first-ballot Hall of Famer needs season-ending shoulder surgery. This is now the fourth time in six years his season has been cut short by a major injury.

2016—Back surgery (two, actually). Missed final 13 games.

2017—Broken tibia. I was there. I wanted to hurl. Missed last eleven games.

2019—Torn pec. (It hurts just to write that term.) Missed last eight.

2021—Shoulder surgery. Will be out for the Cards’ remaining ten regular season games, and for what could be a very deep playoff run.

Keep in mind that Watt, in his first five years with the Texans, played all 80 games. Didn’t miss one.

I’m old enough and jaded enough that I don’t do the sports hero thing very well anymore. But J.J. has always brought out the remaining kid in me. An all-time great player, and if this is possible, an even better person. Watt is the Truth. He is not a phony.

If it’s over, he can take solace in this. After getting off to a slow start with his new team (and trying to recover from an off-season hamstring injury), J.J. has been a holy terror for the Cardinals since the start of October.

If this is his exit, that man went out looking suspiciously like J.J. Effing Watt.

So, much of the shine has been rubbed off what looked like the best NFL Thursday Night matchup ever. Tonight in the desert the 7-0 Cards host the 6-1 Packers. The two teams have a combined season winning percentage of .929. I said .929.

Since the Super Bowl era began in 1970, this is the first time that two teams with at least 13 combined wins have met in Week Eight or earlier. Then there’s the Rodgers vs. Murray thing, which doesn’t suck. The Cardinals are trying to get to 8-0 for the first time in franchise history, a history that spans stints in Chicago, St. Louis and Arizona.

This is a big deal tonight. I’ll watch. Of course, I’ll watch. But I know where my mind will be. Quoting from a haunting Toto song, “Ninety-Nine, I love you…”

Damn, I love this sport. Except for those times when I hate this sport.

Hey, has anyone else noticed that NFL players, including offensive and defensive linemen, now wear shoulder pads that are about the size and thickness of a single saltine cracker (and about as protective) balanced on each shoulder? All in the name of “speed.” I realize that football at the LOS is now played almost exclusively with your hands, but I sometimes wonder if “taking the Express” is destroying shoulders.

You didn’t really think this WFT scandal was just going to go away, did you? The Jolly Roger says the NFL will not release a written report on the WFT’s “toxic culture” that resulted in 40 women making sexual harassment claims while working for the team.

Goodell says the report will not be released in order to protect the anonymity of the women who came forward. The women—and their attorneys—say whoa, we want our identity protected, but we also want that report publicly released. Had we known the report would never see the light of day, we would not have participated and cooperated.

You know who else wants to receive a written report? Raiders owner Mark Davis. Yeah, those 650,000 emails that were reviewed contained the racist, homophobic and misogynist quotes that forced Davis to fire Jon Gruden. So, yeah, I would say Davis has a legitimate vested interest in learning the truth.

I’ve seldom if ever enjoyed watching a quarterback play more than I enjoyed Brett Favre. But can somebody tell me why he’s not facing criminal charges? He essentially embezzled $600,000 in welfare funds.

Finally, apparently Will Rogers never met Rams’ owner Stan Kroenke. Le Pew. More tomorrow.

Looks like a lot of those NFL owners Super Bowl parties in L.A. are gonna be a little…awkward.

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Paul's Bio

I clearly have the attention span of your median fruit fly.Look! Airplane!

Sorry. I’m back.

It’s both a curse and a blessing. I’ve never bought this stuff about, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” But I do think that a wide range of life experiences helps us grow as people, and helps us better relate to other people. I’ve been fortunate. And I am beyond grateful.

I show up on time. I go like hell. I’m a good listener. I hold myself accountable. I own my mistakes. And I have a natural and an insatiable curiosity. I’m never afraid to say, “I don’t know,” when I don’t. But then I try to find out.

The flip side is I’m a lousy ballroom dancer and my clothes sometimes fit me funny.

Stuff matters to me. I care. But while I take that stuff seriously, I try hard to never take myself seriously. As a result, I have sometimes been told, “Paul, it’s hard to tell when you’re serious and when you’re just having some fun. Which is it? Serious or fun?”

My answer is “yes.” But I think that is a legitimate criticism. I promise I’m going to work on that.

This has been the quickest and strangest half-century I’ve ever experienced. During that period, I’ve been afforded amazing opportunities in news and sports journalism across all platforms. I have taught wonderful students at the high school and collegiate level. Always, I learned more from them than they did from me. I’ve been a high school administrator. I spent ten seasons as a high school varsity football coach. I’ve been an advertising executive. I’ve hosted nationally syndicated television entertainment shows. In maybe the biggest honor I ever received, I was selected by NASA to be “Chet The Astronaut” for the “Land The Shuttle” simulator at Space Center Houston. (All I can say there, is “Do as I say, not as I do.” I put that thing in the Everglades more often than not.) Most recently, I just wrapped up a decade as a television news director, during which time our teams distinguished themselves in holding the powerful accountable, achieving both critical and ratings success.

What does all that mean? It means I am profoundly grateful. It also means I’m ready for “next.” So here we are. Radically Rational. It’s an idea I woke up with in 2017. I scribbled “Radically Rational” on a piece of notebook paper and used a magnet to stick it on our refrigerator. I saw it every day, and it just would not leave me alone.

I am second in charge at Radically Rational, LLC. My wife, Jo (also known as BB), is the president. Clearly, I have failed in my attempt to sleep my way to the top of this organization.

I hope you will learn that I’m loyal as a Labrador. But I will admit that this doggie can bite every now and then. My promise to you? I will show up on time. I will go like hell. I will listen to you earnestly and attentively. I will hold myself accountable. I will never be the least bit hesitant to say, “I don’t know,” when I don’t.

But then I’ll try to find out. Let’s do it.