In a season where he recorded 20 or more sacks for the second time in his career, Houston Texans star J.J. has been named the Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Year for 2014.
The 25-year-old was a unanimous selection, the first for an AP award since Tom Brady won Most Valuable Player in 2007, and the first for top defensive player under the current voting setup. He earned all 50 votes from a nationwide panel of media members who regular cover the NFL.
“It’s special,” Watt said. “It’s a testament to my coaches and teammates and everything they did throughout the year. There are so many people who helped make this possible.”
In his fourth NFL season, Watt racked up 20.5 sacks, 78 tackles (29 for losses), 50 quarterback hits, four forced fumbles and 10 blocked passes. He is the first NFL player with multiple 20-sack seasons. In 2012, he also recorded 20.5 sacks.
Watt had a shot at winning MVP as well, but finished second behind Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who received 31 votes to Watt’s 13 votes.
For 2014’s Offensive Player of the Year, the honor went to Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray, who led the league in rushing with 1,845 yards (nearly 500 more than any other player) and recorded 13 touchdowns.
Murray earned 26 of 50 votes to win the honor.