Ron Wolfley says Cardinals will miss J.J. Watt ‘in a big, big way’

Jan 9, 2023, 8:00 PM

J.J. Watt of the Arizona Cardinals acknowledges the crowd after his final NFL game, a loss to the S...

J.J. Watt of the Arizona Cardinals acknowledges the crowd after his final NFL game, a loss to the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on Jan. 8, 2023, in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — The Arizona Cardinals are losing a potent force on and off the field with the retirement of J.J. Watt, team radio analyst and host Ron Wolfley said Monday.

“This is a guy that his achievements on the field are legendary and yet that may actually be overshadowed by his achievements as a leader off the field,” Wolfley told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show a day after the star defensive end played his final NFL game.

“The intangibles that he brings, he is a culture unto himself.”

Watt, 33, had two sacks in Sunday’s 38-13 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, bringing his total to 12.5 in his second season with the Cardinals. It was the fifth-highest sack total of an illustrious 12-year career that included three Defensive Player of the Year awards.

“The Arizona Cardinals are going to miss J.J. Watt in a big, big way,” Wolfley said. “What an incredible game by J.J. Watt, can I just say that? Watching it, I kind of geeked out.”

Watt, who played his first 10 seasons with the Houston Texans after starring at the University of Wisconsin, announced that this would be his final campaign with two games remaining.

The Cardinals finished the year with seven consecutive losses, dropping their record to a disappointing 4-13. The team fired head coach Kliff Kingsbury on Monday morning and announced that Steve Keim would not be returning as general manager.

Wolfley, who played as a fullback in 10 NFL seasons, said one influential player like Watt can have a bigger impact on a team’s culture than its coaches.

“It starts with an individual and then hopefully you get it to a second guy and then a third and fourth,” Wolfley said. “And before you know, it takes over your team.

“That’s what culture is, and it is the baseline to any professional sport you’re going to play in.”

General News

Jordan Rasmussen 
pictured on July 23, 1973, the day his first child, David, was born. Jordan was m...

Amy Donaldson/KSL Podcasts

The Letter podcast debuts second season on 1982 murders

The Letter podcast rolls out its unexpected second season Tuesday, highlighting generational questions about trauma and forgiveness stemming from the 1982 murders of two young fathers.

11 hours ago

Most Americans are sleepy new Gallup poll finds...

Associated Press

Most Americans say they don’t get enough sleep, according to new Gallup poll

A new Gallup poll found that most Americans are sleepy — or, at least, they say they are. Multiple factors play into this.

1 day ago

Near-total abortion ban in Arizona dates back to Civil War era...

Associated Press

Near-total abortion ban dates back to 1864, during the Civil War, before Arizona was a state

The near-total abortion ban resurrected last week by the Arizona Supreme Court dates to 1864, when settlers were encroaching on tribal lands.

2 days ago

Former President Donald Trump waves as he arrives at Manhattan criminal court with his legal team o...

Associated Press

Trump’s historic hush-money trial gets underway; 1st day ends without any jurors being picked

Donald Trump arrived Monday at a New York court for the start of jury selection in his hush money trial, marking a singular moment in U.S. history.

2 days ago

Tracy Toulou...

Associated Press

How to tackle crime in Indian Country? Empower tribal justice, ex-Justice Department official says

A recently retired director of the Justice Dept. says the federal government hasn't given tribal justice systems equal recognition.

2 days ago

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson...

Associated Press

House Speaker Mike Johnson says he will push for aid to Israel and Ukraine this week

House Speaker Mike Johnson said Sunday he will try to advance wartime aid for Israel this week, along with funding for Ukraine.

3 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.


Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

Ron Wolfley says Cardinals will miss J.J. Watt ‘in a big, big way’