Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award

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AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award
Given for Defensive player of the year in the National Football League
Presented by Associated Press
History
First award 1971
Most wins Lawrence Taylor &
J. J. Watt (3)
Most recent Aaron Donald

The Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award is given by the Associated Press (AP) to the league's most outstanding defensive player at the end of every National Football League (NFL) season. It has been awarded since 1971. The winner is decided by votes from a panel of fifty AP sportswriters who regularly cover the NFL.[1] Since 2011, the award has been presented at the annual NFL Honors ceremony the day before the Super Bowl, along with other AP awards, such as the AP NFL Offensive Player of the Year Award and AP NFL Most Valuable Player Award.

Lawrence Taylor and J. J. Watt are the only three-time winners of the award.[2] Joe Greene, Mike Singletary, Bruce Smith, Reggie White, and Ray Lewis have each won it twice. Taylor is the only player to win the award as a rookie, doing so in 1981.[3] In 2008, James Harrison became the only undrafted free agent to win the award.[4] White is the only player to win the award with two different teams, winning in 1987 with the Philadelphia Eagles and again with the Green Bay Packers in 1998.[5] Watt is the only player to win the award unanimously, receiving 50 out of 50 first place votes in 2014.[6] He was also a near-unanimous winner in 2012 as he earned 49 out of 50 votes.[6]

As of the end of the 2017 NFL season, linebackers have won the award 16 times, more than any other position. A defensive end has won thirteen times, followed by eight defensive tackles, five cornerbacks, and five safeties. Only two winners of the AP Defensive Player of the Year Award have also won the AP's Most Valuable Player Award for the same season: defensive tackle Alan Page in 1971 for the Minnesota Vikings and linebacker Lawrence Taylor in 1986 for the New York Giants.[7] Aaron Donald is the incumbent holder of the award after winning it for the 2017 NFL season.[8]

Winners[edit]

Ray Lewis (No. 52) and Terrell Suggs (No. 55) each won the award playing for the Baltimore Ravens.
Brian Urlacher won the award in 2005 with the Chicago Bears.
Key
^ Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame (includes electees awaiting induction)[9]
* Denotes player who is still active in the NFL[10]
Player (X) Denotes the number of times the player has received the award
AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award winners
Season Player Position Team Ref
1971 Alan Page^ Defensive tackle Minnesota Vikings [11]
1972 Joe Greene^ Defensive tackle Pittsburgh Steelers [12]
1973 Dick Anderson Safety Miami Dolphins [13]
1974 Joe Greene^ (2) Defensive tackle Pittsburgh Steelers [14]
1975 Mel Blount^ Cornerback Pittsburgh Steelers [15]
1976 Jack Lambert^ Linebacker Pittsburgh Steelers [16]
1977 Harvey Martin Defensive end Dallas Cowboys [17]
1978 Randy Gradishar Linebacker Denver Broncos [18]
1979 Lee Roy Selmon^ Defensive end Tampa Bay Buccaneers [19]
1980 Lester Hayes Cornerback Oakland Raiders [20]
1981 Lawrence Taylor^ Linebacker New York Giants [21]
1982 Lawrence Taylor^ (2) Linebacker New York Giants [22]
1983 Doug Betters Defensive end Miami Dolphins [23]
1984 Kenny Easley^ Safety Seattle Seahawks [24]
1985 Mike Singletary^ Linebacker Chicago Bears [25]
1986 Lawrence Taylor^ (3) Linebacker New York Giants [26]
1987 Reggie White^ Defensive end Philadelphia Eagles [27]
1988 Mike Singletary^ (2) Linebacker Chicago Bears [28]
1989 Keith Millard Defensive tackle Minnesota Vikings [29]
1990 Bruce Smith^ Defensive end Buffalo Bills [30]
1991 Pat Swilling Linebacker New Orleans Saints [31]
1992 Cortez Kennedy^ Defensive tackle Seattle Seahawks [32]
1993 Rod Woodson^ Cornerback Pittsburgh Steelers [33]
1994 Deion Sanders^ Cornerback San Francisco 49ers [34]
1995 Bryce Paup Linebacker Buffalo Bills [35]
1996 Bruce Smith^ (2) Defensive end Buffalo Bills [36]
1997 Dana Stubblefield Defensive tackle San Francisco 49ers [37]
1998 Reggie White^ (2) Defensive end Green Bay Packers [5]
1999 Warren Sapp^ Defensive tackle Tampa Bay Buccaneers [38]
2000 Ray Lewis^ Linebacker Baltimore Ravens [39]
2001 Michael Strahan^ Defensive end New York Giants [40]
2002 Derrick Brooks^ Linebacker Tampa Bay Buccaneers [41]
2003 Ray Lewis^ (2) Linebacker Baltimore Ravens [42]
2004 Ed Reed Safety Baltimore Ravens [43]
2005 Brian Urlacher^ Linebacker Chicago Bears [44]
2006 Jason Taylor^ Defensive end Miami Dolphins [45]
2007 Bob Sanders Safety Indianapolis Colts [46]
2008 James Harrison* Linebacker Pittsburgh Steelers [47]
2009 Charles Woodson Cornerback Green Bay Packers [48]
2010 Troy Polamalu Safety Pittsburgh Steelers [49]
2011 Terrell Suggs* Linebacker Baltimore Ravens [50]
2012 J. J. Watt* Defensive end Houston Texans [1]
2013 Luke Kuechly* Linebacker Carolina Panthers [51]
2014 J. J. Watt* (2) Defensive end Houston Texans [6]
2015 J. J. Watt* (3) Defensive end Houston Texans [52]
2016 Khalil Mack* Defensive end Oakland Raiders [8]
2017 Aaron Donald* Defensive tackle Los Angeles Rams [53]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

General
Footnotes
  1. ^ a b Rosenthal, Gregg (February 2, 2013). "J.J. Watt near unanimous Defensive Player of the Year". NFL.com. National Football League. Retrieved July 11, 2016. 
  2. ^ Wesseling, Chris (February 6, 2016). "J.J Watt wins third Defensive Player of Year award". NFL.com. NFL. Retrieved July 11, 2016. 
  3. ^ Lewis, Michael (2007). The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game. W. W. Norton & Company. p. 17. ISBN 0393066223. Retrieved July 6, 2017. 
  4. ^ Kremer, Andrea (January 8, 2017). "Ageless Steelers star James Harrison strives to be like his father". NFL.com. Retrieved October 23, 2017. 
  5. ^ a b Wilner, Barry (January 7, 1999). "White named defensive player of year". Herald-Journal. Associated Press. p. D1. Retrieved July 11, 2016. 
  6. ^ a b c Brinson, Will (January 31, 2015). "J.J. Watt is first-ever unanimous NFL Defensive Player of the Year". CBS Sports. Retrieved July 11, 2016. 
  7. ^ Corry, Joel (December 30, 2014). "Who deserves the NFL MVP award?". National Football Post. Archived from the original on February 1, 2015. Retrieved July 6, 2017. 
  8. ^ a b Reyes, Lorenzo (February 4, 2017). "Raiders' Khalil Mack named NFL defensive player of the year". USA Today. Retrieved April 24, 2017. 
  9. ^ "Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductees". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference. Retrieved October 14, 2017. 
  10. ^ "Football Encyclopedia of Players". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference. Retrieved October 14, 2017. 
  11. ^ "Alan Page 'Hurrys' To Defensive Award". Daytona Beach Morning Journal. Associated Press. January 7, 1972. p. 14. Retrieved July 11, 2016. 
  12. ^ Mihoces, Gary (January 5, 1973). "Joe Greene Defensive Player of the Year". The Evening News. Associated Press. p. 6B. Retrieved July 11, 2016. 
  13. ^ "Buffalo's Simpson, Dolphins' Anderson Named Top Gridders". Herald-Journal. Associated Press. January 4, 1974. p. B4. Retrieved July 11, 2016. 
  14. ^ "Defensive Honor Goes To 'Mean' Joe Greene". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Associated Press. January 8, 1975. p. 1C. Retrieved July 11, 2016. 
  15. ^ "Pittsburgh's Mel Blount Is Top Player". Gettysburg Times. Associated Press. January 9, 1976. p. 11. Retrieved July 11, 2016. 
  16. ^ "Lambert defense winner". The Tuscaloosa News. Associated Press. December 29, 1976. p. 15. Retrieved July 11, 2016. 
  17. ^ "Martin Named As Top Defensive Player". The Times-News. Associated Press. January 5, 1978. p. 16. Retrieved July 11, 2016. 
  18. ^ "Broncos' Gradishar Wins Award". Lakeland Ledger. Associated Press. January 12, 1979. p. 1D. Retrieved July 11, 2016. 
  19. ^ "Lee Roy Selmon of Tampa defensive player of year". The Day. Associated Press. December 21, 1979. p. 34. Retrieved July 11, 2016. 
  20. ^ Lowitt, Bruce (January 8, 1981). "Lester Hayes picks off defensive player award". Beaver County Times. Associated Press. p. B-1. Retrieved July 11, 2016. 
  21. ^ "Taylor 1st rookie to be Defensive Player of Year". The Evening Independent. Associated Press. January 8, 1982. p. 4-C. Retrieved July 11, 2016. 
  22. ^ "Defensive player honors go to Taylor once more". The Spokesman-Review. Associated Press. January 8, 1983. p. 15. Retrieved July 11, 2016. 
  23. ^ "Miami's Betters Named Defensive Player Of Year". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Associated Press. December 23, 1983. p. 14B. Retrieved July 11, 2016. 
  24. ^ "Seahawks' Easley top defender". The Sumter Daily Item. Associated Press. December 19, 1984. p. 2C. Retrieved July 11, 2016. 
  25. ^ "Chicago's Singletary gets defensive honor". The Free Lance-Star. Associated Press. December 31, 1985. p. 9. Retrieved July 11, 2016. 
  26. ^ "Taylor sweeps post-season honors". The Free Lance-Star. Associated Press. December 31, 1986. p. 14. Retrieved July 11, 2016. 
  27. ^ "White named top defensive player". The Hour. Associated Press. December 31, 1987. p. 25. Retrieved July 11, 2016. 
  28. ^ "Top defensive player: Singletary". Gettysburg Times. Associated Press. December 29, 1988. p. 2B. Retrieved July 11, 2016. 
  29. ^ "Millard defensive player of year". The Times-News. Associated Press. December 30, 1989. p. 15. Retrieved July 11, 2016. 
  30. ^ "Buffalo's Bruce Smith honored". Ellensburg Daily Record. Associated Press. January 10, 1991. p. 11. Retrieved July 11, 2016. 
  31. ^ "Saints' Swilling Defensive Player of the Year". Kingman Daily Miner. Associated Press. December 30, 1991. p. 6. Retrieved July 11, 2016. 
  32. ^ "Seattle tackle named defensive player of year". The Times-News. Associated Press. January 6, 1993. p. 1B. Retrieved July 11, 2016. 
  33. ^ "Steelers' Woodson top defensive player". The Southeast Missourian. Associated Press. January 7, 1994. p. 2B. Retrieved July 11, 2016. 
  34. ^ "Sanders are players of the year". The Tuscaloosa News. Associated Press. December 29, 1994. p. 3C. Retrieved July 11, 2016. 
  35. ^ "Bills' Paup garners defensive player of year award". The Victoria Advocate. Associated Press. December 29, 1995. p. 3B. Retrieved July 11, 2016. 
  36. ^ "Consolation for Smith: Bills star voted Defensive Player of Year". Sun Journal. Associated Press. December 30, 1996. p. 1C. Retrieved July 11, 2016. 
  37. ^ "Stubblefield is defensive player of year". Lodi News-Sentinel. Associated Press. December 26, 1997. p. 17. Retrieved July 11, 2016. 
  38. ^ "Bucs' Sapp named NFL's top defensive player". The Southeast Missourian. Associated Press. January 14, 2000. p. 1B. Retrieved July 11, 2016. 
  39. ^ Ginsburg, David (January 3, 2001). "Ravens' Lewis named defensive player of the year". Moscow-Pullman Daily News. Associated Press. p. 1B. Retrieved July 11, 2016. 
  40. ^ Wilner, Barry (January 17, 2002). "Sackmaster Strahan wins Defensive Player award". Kingman Daily Miner. Associated Press. p. 7. Retrieved July 11, 2016. 
  41. ^ Wilner, Barry (January 9, 2003). "Bucs' linebacker is NFL Defensive Player of the Year". The Argus-Press. Associated Press. p. 15. Retrieved July 11, 2016. 
  42. ^ "Ravens Lewis' win player of the year awards". Boca Raton News. Associated Press. January 1, 2004. p. 24. Retrieved July 11, 2016. 
  43. ^ "First safety in 20 years to win defensive award". ESPN.com. Associated Press. January 7, 2005. Retrieved January 5, 2009. 
  44. ^ "Urlacher named AP Defensive Player of the Year". ESPN.com. Associated Press. January 6, 2006. Retrieved January 5, 2009. 
  45. ^ Wilner, Barry (January 5, 2007). "Taylor takes home AP Defensive Player of the Year honor". USA Today. Associated Press. Retrieved January 5, 2009. 
  46. ^ "AP picks Colts' Sanders as top defensive player". ESPN.com. Associated Press. January 7, 2008. Retrieved January 5, 2009. 
  47. ^ "Harrison has death grip on defensive award". ESPN.com. Associated Press. January 5, 2009. Retrieved July 11, 2016. 
  48. ^ "CB Woodson voted AP's top defensive player". NFL.com. Associated Press. January 12, 2010. Archived from the original on March 26, 2010. Retrieved October 27, 2010. 
  49. ^ "Steelers' Polamalu voted AP's NFL Defensive Player of the Year". NFL.com. National Football League. January 31, 2011. Retrieved July 11, 2016. 
  50. ^ Zrebiec, Jeff (February 4, 2012). "Terrell Suggs selected AP Defensive Player of the Year". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved July 11, 2016. 
  51. ^ Brinson, Will (February 1, 2014). "Luke Kuechly wins 2013 Defensive Player of the Year". CBS Sports. Retrieved July 11, 2016. 
  52. ^ "J.J. Watt wins third Defensive Player of the Year award, calls out doubters". CBS Sports. February 7, 2016. Retrieved July 11, 2016. 
  53. ^ Shook, Nick (February 3, 2018). "Aaron Donald named NFL Defensive Player of the Year". NFL.com. Retrieved February 3, 2018.