Just give J.J. Watt the NFL’s humanitarian award already

I think we can now close the nominations for the NFL’s annual Walter Payton Man of the Year award.

J.J. Watt is likely to be a lock for the award – won the last three years by Eli Manning, Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin – after showing that the power of celebrity can produce positive results.

As you probably know, the Houston Texans’ defensive star started a fund for the victims of the flooding in Houston last week with a modest goal of $200,000.

He quickly reached that goal, got to $500,000 in 24 hours and kept and kept raising the goal. It’s now up to a whopping $14 million and counting at YouCaring.com/JJWatt.

One-fifth of that came from the Titans’ controlling owner, Amy Adams Strunk, who lives in Houston and donated $1 million. And new Houston Rockets point guard Chris Paul gave $50,000, but many of the contributions were obviously much smaller. Over 50,000 people have contributed.

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Bowlen wouldn’t even be sniffing the HOF if he hadn’t inherited Elway

When the contributors’ committee met last week to select a candidate to be voted on at the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame selection meeting next February, they were looking at a strong field.

It included Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen, former general managers Bobby Beathard and George Young and scouting pioneer Gil Brandt of the Dallas Cowboys.

They could have easily just picked a name out of a hat.

Since there aren’t a lot of other slam-dunk contributor candidates at the moment, all four figure to be selected in the next three years.

There will be two nominated in 2019, then one a year after that.

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Like his Trump endorsement, Khan still making all the wrong on-field moves

In his five years as an owner, Shad Khan has transformed the Jacksonville Jaguars franchise off the field.

He updated the stadium with a lot of bells and whistles, including the world’s largest video boards and two swimming pools. He also built the Daily’s Place concert venue and has boosted the team’s revenue by playing a game in London every year.

Most of all, Khan ended all the talk about the Jaguars moving.

Off the field, though, Khan has yet to find a winning formula and has had five straight losing seasons.

He hired Dave Caldwell as the general manager in 2013 after firing Gene Smith, and Caldwell came in with the idea of starting over and even getting rid of players like Daryl Smith (who could still play). Oh, and not spending big on free agency in the first year or two.

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Elway was a great QB but stinks at scouting them

Judging quarterbacks is one of the toughest jobs in sports.

It’s so difficult that even John Elway can’t seem to get the hang of it.

A first-ballot Hall of Famer who took the Broncos to five Super Bowls and won the last two, Elway would seem to know a good quarterback when he sees one.

The evidence, though, is that the Denver Broncos boss makes just as many mistakes as scouts who never played the position.

Just look at his record in trying to find a quarterback to replace Peyton Manning.

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When will the NFL realize the Kaepernick issue isn’t going away?

Most of my younger readers have probably never heard of Frank Serpico.

He was a New York City police officer whose campaign against police corruption was chronicled in the 1973 movie “Serpico.’’ He was played by Al Pacino. It’s a very good movie, by the way.

Anyway, it turns out Serpico is now 81 and still an idealist.

He turned out at a rally Saturday of about 75 mostly minority police officers who gathered in Brooklyn wearing black shirts reading “imwithkap.’’

Kap, of course, is Colin Kaepernick, the quarterback who remains unsigned after refusing to stand for the national anthem last year.

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Despite the rhetoric, don’t count on an NFL lockout or strike

The saber-rattling between the NFLPA and NFL has already started, even though the current labor deal runs until 2020.

Some players have already starting tweeting about their salaries not matching NBA salaries.

And NFLPA head De Smith told The MMQB that a lockout or strike is a virtual certainty in 2021.

The rhetoric, though, doesn’t match the reality.

I doubt there will be a lockout or strike.

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Bortles’ garbage-time stats are another damning indictment

“Blake Bortles is the Tom Brady of Garbage Time,’’ blared the headline on the fivethirtyeight.com website.

The site is noted for crunching the numbers on political issues, but also covers sports. And Michael Salvino studied the numbers on Blake Bortles, the fourth-year Jaguars quarterback, for the past two seasons.

It turns out he was the best quarterback in the league in garbage time the past two years. Garbage time is defined on being down by nine or more points with four minutes or fewer left.

There has been a perception that Bortles tends to put up meaningless numbers in garbage time and Salvino’s research shows it is true.

Bortles completed 78 of 118 passes for 964 yards and 12 touchdowns and just four picks with a passer rating of 111 in garbage time. Tom Brady, who barely even knows what garbage time in a loss feels like, had a 112 passer rating for the season last year.

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