The new dad is soaking up every moment with his toddler
JJ Watt has enjoyed family time since retiring at the end of the 2022-2023 season
Watt and wife Kealia, 31, welcomed son Koa in October 2022
The couple, both athletes, are having a blast watching their little boy explore different sports
JJ Watt is loving the quality time he gets with his little boy.
Speaking with PEOPLE about his partnership with Dawn to tackle the Super Bowl's toughest messes, the retired Arizona Cardinal, 34, talked about loving the chaos and the messes involved in life at home with his wife, Kealia, and son Koa, 15 months.
"I did not realize how exponentially messy our house would get. It is like a constant cycle of make a mess, clean up, make a mess, clean up," Watt laughs. "But it's the most fascinating thing in the world — if it's my mess or if like one of my friends or my brothers makes a mess, I'm furious. But if Koa makes a mess, I'll clean it up all day long."
Watt says he loves that "every day, there's something new," with his little boy.
"He's really loving sports. He's got his own little basketball hoop and he loves to put the ball in the hoop. He's got some mini hockey sticks and he's finally learning how to use two hands on the hockey stick, which is great."
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For Watt and Kealia, both athletes, it's been fun to watch the toddler's different skills develop and see where his interests lead him.
"We obviously love sports because of everything that they teach kids. They teach discipline, they teach hard work, they teach teamwork. They teach how to deal with winning and losing, how to deal with adversity," he shares.
"We've experienced that our whole lives, so we're really looking forward to him participating, as long as he wants to, and it seems so far like he's interested."
The couple is often asked if they favor Koa getting involved in their respective sports.
"People always ask us, 'Is he going to be a soccer player? Is he going to be a football player?' Unfortunately, I think he's probably going to be a little too big for — he's a big boy right now, so I don't know if his endurance and stamina are going to be there for soccer. But I can only hope that he gets his mom's quickness and speed because she's a hell of an athlete."
Koa also has fun being a big help to mom and dad. "He actually does like to clean up, which is cool. My wife literally just sent me a text that she started singing the cleanup song and he started putting his toys away, so that's a big milestone."
Watt's Dawn partnership will send the former Arizona Cardinal to wash one lucky fan’s dishes, calling the special event "JJ's Wash Party." and is giving away $1 million worth of Dawn Platinum to tackle everyone else’s Super Bowl messes in no time.
Starting today, fans can go to JJWashParty.com to claim their free bottle of Dawn Platinum EZ-Squeeze and enter for a chance to win a trip to the ultimate wash party, where Watt will handle the dishes. One grand prize winner and up to nine guests will receive an all-expenses paid trip to visit JJ in Arizona, watch a big game or show, and let one of football's toughest players tackle the greasiest messes from some great gameday grub.
"I'm very excited to partner with Dawn. For me, like a lot of my partnerships, this is really organic and natural, since I've literally been using Dawn dish soap in my house since I was a little kid. I've used it my whole life and now I have a son of my own and we're very, very big fans of Dawn in this house," Watt shares.
"So when they came to me with this idea of hosting a watch party and giving away a million dollars with Dawn Platinum products and also helping save the wildlife as obviously, Dawn Platinum is the only thing trusted by Wildlife Rescuers, this was a perfect little match. Not that I'm always eager to be watching the dishes, but I do look forward to making some fans' day is I know there'll be one lucky winner, and then they get to bring nine to their friends. So it should be a great day and if I have to wash the dishes to make their day, so good. I'm looking forward to it."
Watt is still adjusting to life after the NFL but says it's been "the greatest" to have the added time with Koa and Kealia.
"Having so much time to spend with my wife and son and being able to just hang out with him every morning and take him to the park and go on walks and just see him grow and to help him figure this world out and to watch him you know, learn how this whole thing works, it's special and it's the whole reason that you retire, for me anyway." he says.
"It was for this exact experience and I've loved every minute of it," he continues. "I got to go watch TJ's games and see him play. I've got to spend time with Derek and his kids. It really has been awesome and a nice added perk to it all.
Laughing, he adds, "My body feels fantastic too, because I don't get beat up every Sunday, so it's great."
As the year moves on and Watt settles into this next chapter, his son continues to be his first priority.
"I'm very much looking forward to seeing what Koa does next because every single day, every single week, there's something new with him," he says.
"I'm looking forward to spending a lot of time with family. TJ was just in season and we spent Christmas up in Wisconsin when my parents went with Derek. So more family time, definitely in the off-season.
"This new year is a brand new year for me too, honestly," he acknowledges. "I don't know what it's going to look like. Last year, having just retired and trying to figure out my way through that world, now this year is a whole other new world I'm trying to figure it out. So, I'm excited for the unknown and I look forward to new opportunities that come my way."
"Including this wash party," he laughs. "Should be fascinating. I've never washed dishes for a party of 10 people before, so this will be this will be new for me."
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