For the second consecutive year, the nation's sports media pundits have decided that J.J. Watt is the best defensive player in all the land. Here is the PWFA's official release in its full glory, which congratulates both Watt and his offensive equal, Carolina quarterback Cam Newton, on their respective MVP awards.
Carolina quarterback Cam Newton, who led a prolific Panthers offense with 35 touchdown passes, 10 rushing TDs and 3,837 passing yards, was selected as the 2015 NFL Most Valuable Player and Offensive Player of the Year, chosen in voting conducted by the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA).
Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, who led the NFL with 17.5 sacks, was named the 2015 Defensive Player of the Year, the second-consecutive season Watt has received the honor from the PFWA.
Newton, in his fifth NFL season, is the 41st MVP honored by the PFWA. He is the first Carolina Panthers player to earn the honor and the third consecutive quarterback to be selected MVP.
Newton started all 16 games in 2015 and completed 296 of 495 passes (59.8 completion percentage) for 3,837 yards, 35 touchdowns and a 99.4 passer rating as the Panthers went a NFL-best 15-1 in the regular season on the way to the NFC No. 1 seed. Newton also rushed 132 times for 636 yards and a team-leading 10 touchdowns. The dual-threat quarterback led the NFL in total touchdowns with 45 (35 passing, 10 rushing), and he is the only player in NFL history with at least 30 passing TDs and 10 rushing TDs in a single season. Newton tied the Panthers’ single-game record for touchdown passes with five on three separate occasions. He also tied a league mark for most Offensive Player of the Week awards with five NFC honors in 2015 (Weeks 9, 11, 13, 15 and 17).
Watt, in his fifth season, had 76 total tackles (57 solo) and a league-leading 17.5 sacks for 117.5 yards. He also led the NFL with 50 quarterback hits and 29 tackles for loss. He posted a sack in 10 games, including a five-game streak, and he finished the regular season with a season-high three-sack game against Jacksonville. Watt was the AFC Defensive Player of the Month in November and the AFC Defensive Player of the Week in Week 11. He set career highs with 10 quarterback hits vs. Tennessee on Nov. 1, and tied a career high with six tackles for loss vs. Kansas City on Sept. 13.
This is the third PFWA Defensive Player of the Year award for Watt, who was also selected in 2012 and 2014.
PFWA NFL MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: 1975 – QB Fran Tarkenton, Minnesota Vikings; 1976 – QB Bert Jones, Baltimore Colts; 1977 – RB Walter Payton, Chicago Bears; 1978 – RB Earl Campbell, Houston Oilers; 1979 – RB Earl Campbell, Houston Oilers; 1980 – QB Brian Sipe, Cleveland Browns; 1981 – QB Ken Anderson, Cincinnati Bengals; 1982 – QB Dan Fouts, San Diego Chargers; 1983 – QB Joe Theismann, Washington Redskins; 1984 – QB Dan Marino, Miami Dolphins; 1985 – RB Marcus Allen, Los Angeles Raiders; 1986 – LB Lawrence Taylor, New York Giants; 1987 – WR Jerry Rice, San Francisco 49ers; 1988 – QB Boomer Esiason, Cincinnati Bengals; 1989 – QB Joe Montana, San Francisco 49ers; 1990 – QB Randall Cunningham, Philadelphia Eagles; 1991 – RB Thurman Thomas, Buffalo Bills; 1992 – QB Steve Young, San Francisco 49ers; 1993 – RB Emmitt Smith, Dallas Cowboys; 1994 – QB Steve Young, San Francisco 49ers; 1995 – QB Brett Favre, Green Bay Packers; 1996 – QB Brett Favre, Green Bay Packers; 1997 – RB Barry Sanders, Detroit Lions; 1998 – RB Terrell Davis, Denver Broncos; 1999 – QB Kurt Warner, St. Louis Rams; 2000 – RB Marshall Faulk, St. Louis Rams; 2001 – RB Marshall Faulk, St. Louis Rams; 2002 – QB Rich Gannon, Oakland Raiders; 2003 – RB Jamal Lewis, Baltimore Ravens; 2004 – QB Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts; 2005 – RB Shaun Alexander, Seattle Seahawks; 2006 – RB LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego Chargers; 2007 – QB Tom Brady, New England Patriots; 2008 – QB Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts; 2009 – QB Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts; 2010 – QB Tom Brady, New England Patriots; 2011 – QB Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers; 2012 – RB Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings; 2013 – QB Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos; 2014 – QB Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers; 2015 – QB Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers.
For the math majors in the room, J.J. Watt has now been the PFWA defensive MVP for 60% of his entire career. It's almost unheard of to see a football player so good that they virtually lock up a Hall of Fame nomination by their fifth season, and yet here we are.
Mr. Watt, you are incredible.