MINNEAPOLIS -- Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt said his celebration following his second sack in Arizona's 34-26 loss to Minnesota on Sunday was a tribute to former Vikings pass-rusher Jared Allen -- who was inducted into the team's Ring of Honor at halftime -- and not an insult.
Watt broke out Allen's roping-a-calf routine after his second sack of Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins, which came around the 5:15 mark of the fourth quarter. Watt started with his own touch: rocking the baby, which was a tribute to his newborn son, Koa. Then Watt mimicked Allen's post-sack celebration, in which he pretends like he's roping a calf and puts his hands in the air like a cowboy does after throwing the lasso.
As soon as Watt finished, the fans booed.
"I also want to clear up -- clearly the fans here misinterpreted my Jared Allen tribute," Watt said in front of his locker after the game. "Jared Allen's one of my favorite players of all time, and that was absolutely a way to honor him on his night here. Zero disrespect. I would never disrespect him.
"I have a lot of respect for Jared Allen, so I hope that clears that up."
Watt reiterated that the celebration "was a tribute, not a slight" in a tweet posted later Sunday evening, which he concluded, "Don't get it twisted. #Legend"
The Jared Allen sack celebration was a tribute, not a slight.— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) October 30, 2022
Don't get it twisted.#Legend
Like Allen, Watt has made a career of bringing down quarterbacks. Allen had 136 sacks in 12 seasons; Watt, currently in his 12th season, has 106.5 sacks.
"He's one of the best of all time," Watt said of Allen. "He's a great player. I loved watching him. I met him a couple of times. I have a massive amount of respect for him. So, it was great to see him go into their Ring of Honor. It's very well-deserved. And I hope he took it as a tribute and understood that it was a sign of respect."
Watt said the two had dinner when he was coming out of Wisconsin in 2011 but that they have never worked together. Watt, 33, said he appreciated how Allen, 40, who entered the field at U.S. Bank Stadium on horseback for his Ring of Honor ceremony, went about his career his own way.
"It's awesome," Watt said. "I mean, the mullet, the horses, the cowboy hats. I mean, the guy did it the right way, and it was a lot of fun to watch and a lot of fun to just to see the way he did it, and I think today he deserved to be in the Ring of Honor. Absolutely."