Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award

AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award
Given forDefensive player of the year in the National Football League
Presented byAssociated Press
History
First award1971
Most winsLawrence Taylor
J. J. Watt
(3 awards)
Most recentStephon Gilmore

The Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award (DPOY) is given by the Associated Press (AP) to the most outstanding defensive player in the National Football League (NFL) at the end of every season. It has been awarded since 1971. The winner is decided by votes from a panel of 50 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, AP NFL Most Valuable Player Award, and AP NFL Rookie of the Year 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, Ray Lewis, and Aaron Donald 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 2019 NFL season, linebackers have won the award 16 times, more than any other position. A defensive end has won thirteen times, followed by nine defensive tackles, six 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] Stephon Gilmore is the incumbent holder of the award, winning it for the 2019 NFL season.[8]

Winners

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.
SeasonPlayerPositionTeamRef
1971Alan PageDefensive tackleMinnesota Vikings[9]
1972Joe GreeneDefensive tacklePittsburgh Steelers[10]
1973Dick AndersonSafetyMiami Dolphins[11]
1974Joe Greene (2)Defensive tacklePittsburgh Steelers[12]
1975Mel BlountCornerbackPittsburgh Steelers[13]
1976Jack LambertLinebackerPittsburgh Steelers[14]
1977Harvey MartinDefensive endDallas Cowboys[15]
1978Randy GradisharLinebackerDenver Broncos[16]
1979Lee Roy SelmonDefensive endTampa Bay Buccaneers[17]
1980Lester HayesCornerbackOakland Raiders[18]
1981Lawrence TaylorLinebackerNew York Giants[19]
1982Lawrence Taylor (2)LinebackerNew York Giants[20]
1983Doug BettersDefensive endMiami Dolphins[21]
1984Kenny EasleySafetySeattle Seahawks[22]
1985Mike SingletaryLinebackerChicago Bears[23]
1986Lawrence Taylor (3)LinebackerNew York Giants[24]
1987Reggie WhiteDefensive endPhiladelphia Eagles[25]
1988Mike Singletary (2)LinebackerChicago Bears[26]
1989Keith MillardDefensive tackleMinnesota Vikings[27]
1990Bruce SmithDefensive endBuffalo Bills[28]
1991Pat SwillingLinebackerNew Orleans Saints[29]
1992Cortez KennedyDefensive tackleSeattle Seahawks[30]
1993Rod WoodsonCornerbackPittsburgh Steelers[31]
1994Deion SandersCornerbackSan Francisco 49ers[32]
1995Bryce PaupLinebackerBuffalo Bills[33]
1996Bruce Smith (2)Defensive endBuffalo Bills[34]
1997Dana StubblefieldDefensive tackleSan Francisco 49ers[35]
1998Reggie White (2)Defensive endGreen Bay Packers[5]
1999Warren SappDefensive tackleTampa Bay Buccaneers[36]
2000Ray LewisLinebackerBaltimore Ravens[37]
2001Michael StrahanDefensive endNew York Giants[38]
2002Derrick BrooksLinebackerTampa Bay Buccaneers[39]
2003Ray Lewis (2)LinebackerBaltimore Ravens[40]
2004Ed ReedSafetyBaltimore Ravens[41]
2005Brian UrlacherLinebackerChicago Bears[42]
2006Jason TaylorDefensive endMiami Dolphins[43]
2007Bob SandersSafetyIndianapolis Colts[44]
2008James HarrisonLinebackerPittsburgh Steelers[45]
2009Charles WoodsonCornerbackGreen Bay Packers[46]
2010Troy PolamaluSafetyPittsburgh Steelers[47]
2011Terrell SuggsLinebackerBaltimore Ravens[48]
2012J. J. WattDefensive endHouston Texans[1]
2013Luke KuechlyLinebackerCarolina Panthers[49]
2014J. J. Watt (2)Defensive endHouston Texans[6]
2015J. J. Watt (3)Defensive endHouston Texans[50]
2016Khalil MackDefensive endOakland Raiders[8]
2017Aaron DonaldDefensive tackleLos Angeles Rams[51]
2018Aaron Donald (2)Defensive tackleLos Angeles Rams[52]
2019Stephon GilmoreCornerbackNew England Patriots[53]

See also

References

General
  • Gellerman, Jacob; Drexler, Sam; Marini, Matt; Cocchiaro, Nicolas; Zerkel, Alex, eds. (2016). 2018 Official NFL Record and Fact Book (PDF). National Football League. pp. 524–525. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  • "AP Defensive Player of the Year Winners". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  • "NFL Defensive Player of the Year". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Associated Press. February 6, 2016. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
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. ^ "Alan Page 'Hurrys' To Defensive Award". Daytona Beach Morning Journal. Associated Press. January 7, 1972. p. 14. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  10. ^ Mihoces, Gary (January 5, 1973). "Joe Greene Defensive Player of the Year". The Evening News. Associated Press. p. 6B. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  11. ^ "Buffalo's Simpson, Dolphins' Anderson Named Top Gridders". Herald-Journal. Associated Press. January 4, 1974. p. B4. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  12. ^ "Defensive Honor Goes To 'Mean' Joe Greene". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Associated Press. January 8, 1975. p. 1C. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  13. ^ "Pittsburgh's Mel Blount Is Top Player". Gettysburg Times. Associated Press. January 9, 1976. p. 11. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  14. ^ "Lambert defense winner". The Tuscaloosa News. Associated Press. December 29, 1976. p. 15. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  15. ^ "Martin Named As Top Defensive Player". The Times-News. Associated Press. January 5, 1978. p. 16. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  16. ^ "Broncos' Gradishar Wins Award". Lakeland Ledger. Associated Press. January 12, 1979. p. 1D. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  17. ^ "Lee Roy Selmon of Tampa defensive player of year". The Day. Associated Press. December 21, 1979. p. 34. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  18. ^ Lowitt, Bruce (January 8, 1981). "Lester Hayes picks off defensive player award". Beaver County Times. Associated Press. p. B-1. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  19. ^ "Taylor 1st rookie to be Defensive Player of Year". The Evening Independent. Associated Press. January 8, 1982. p. 4-C. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  20. ^ "Defensive player honors go to Taylor once more". The Spokesman-Review. Associated Press. January 8, 1983. p. 15. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  21. ^ "Miami's Betters Named Defensive Player Of Year". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Associated Press. December 23, 1983. p. 14B. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  22. ^ "Seahawks' Easley top defender". The Sumter Daily Item. Associated Press. December 19, 1984. p. 2C. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  23. ^ "Chicago's Singletary gets defensive honor". The Free Lance-Star. Associated Press. December 31, 1985. p. 9. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  24. ^ "Taylor sweeps post-season honors". The Free Lance-Star. Associated Press. December 31, 1986. p. 14. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  25. ^ "White named top defensive player". The Hour. Associated Press. December 31, 1987. p. 25. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  26. ^ "Top defensive player: Singletary". Gettysburg Times. Associated Press. December 29, 1988. p. 2B. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  27. ^ "Millard defensive player of year". The Times-News. Associated Press. December 30, 1989. p. 15. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  28. ^ "Buffalo's Bruce Smith honored". Ellensburg Daily Record. Associated Press. January 10, 1991. p. 11. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  29. ^ "Saints' Swilling Defensive Player of the Year". Kingman Daily Miner. Associated Press. December 30, 1991. p. 6. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  30. ^ "Seattle tackle named defensive player of year". The Times-News. Associated Press. January 6, 1993. p. 1B. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  31. ^ "Steelers' Woodson top defensive player". The Southeast Missourian. Associated Press. January 7, 1994. p. 2B. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  32. ^ "Sanders are players of the year". The Tuscaloosa News. Associated Press. December 29, 1994. p. 3C. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  33. ^ "Bills' Paup garners defensive player of year award". The Victoria Advocate. Associated Press. December 29, 1995. p. 3B. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  34. ^ "Consolation for Smith: Bills star voted Defensive Player of Year". Sun Journal. Associated Press. December 30, 1996. p. 1C. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  35. ^ "Stubblefield is defensive player of year". Lodi News-Sentinel. Associated Press. December 26, 1997. p. 17. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  36. ^ "Bucs' Sapp named NFL's top defensive player". The Southeast Missourian. Associated Press. January 14, 2000. p. 1B. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  37. ^ 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.
  38. ^ Wilner, Barry (January 17, 2002). "Sackmaster Strahan wins Defensive Player award". Kingman Daily Miner. Associated Press. p. 7. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  39. ^ 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.
  40. ^ "Ravens Lewis' win player of the year awards". Boca Raton News. Associated Press. January 1, 2004. p. 24. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  41. ^ "First safety in 20 years to win defensive award". ESPN.com. Associated Press. January 7, 2005. Retrieved January 5, 2009.
  42. ^ "Urlacher named AP Defensive Player of the Year". ESPN.com. Associated Press. January 6, 2006. Retrieved January 5, 2009.
  43. ^ Wilner, Barry (January 5, 2007). "Taylor takes home AP Defensive Player of the Year honor". USA Today. Associated Press. Retrieved January 5, 2009.
  44. ^ "AP picks Colts' Sanders as top defensive player". ESPN.com. Associated Press. January 7, 2008. Retrieved January 5, 2009.
  45. ^ "Harrison has death grip on defensive award". ESPN.com. Associated Press. January 5, 2009. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  46. ^ "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.
  47. ^ "Steelers' Polamalu voted AP's NFL Defensive Player of the Year". NFL.com. National Football League. January 31, 2011. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  48. ^ Zrebiec, Jeff (February 4, 2012). "Terrell Suggs selected AP Defensive Player of the Year". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  49. ^ Brinson, Will (February 1, 2014). "Luke Kuechly wins 2013 Defensive Player of the Year". CBS Sports. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  50. ^ "J.J. Watt wins third Defensive Player of the Year award, calls out doubters". CBS Sports. February 7, 2016. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  51. ^ Shook, Nick (February 3, 2018). "Aaron Donald named NFL Defensive Player of the Year". NFL.com. Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  52. ^ Patra, Kevin (February 2, 2019). "Aaron Donald named 2018 Defensive Player of Year". Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  53. ^ Shook, Nick (February 1, 2020). "Nick Bosa named 2019 Defensive Player of Year". NFL.com. Retrieved February 1, 2020.

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