National Football League Defensive Player of the Year Award

Several organizations give out NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards that are listed in the NFL Record and Fact Book and Total Football II: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League. The Associated Press (AP) has been giving the award since 1972; Pro Football Writers of America/Pro Football Weekly since 1970; and Sporting News has announced winners since 2008. The Newspaper Enterprise Association was the originator of the award in 1966. However, it became defunct after 1997. Also going defunct was the United Press International (UPI) AFC-NFC Defensive Player of the Year Awards that began in 1975.

Associated Press

The AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award is given by the Associated Press to the league's most outstanding defensive player at the end of every NFL season since 1971.


YearPlayer nameNFL teamPosition
1971Alan PageMinnesota VikingsDefensive tackle
1972Joe GreenePittsburgh SteelersDefensive tackle
1973Dick AndersonMiami DolphinsSafety
1974Joe Greene (2)Pittsburgh Steelers (2)Defensive tackle
1975Mel BlountPittsburgh Steelers (3)Cornerback
1976Jack LambertPittsburgh Steelers (4)Linebacker
1977Harvey MartinDallas CowboysDefensive end
1978Randy GradisharDenver BroncosLinebacker
1979Lee Roy SelmonTampa Bay BuccaneersDefensive end
1980Lester HayesOakland RaidersCornerback
1981Lawrence Taylor-RNew York GiantsLinebacker
1982Lawrence Taylor (2)New York Giants (2)Linebacker
1983Doug BettersMiami Dolphins (2)Defensive end
1984Kenny EasleySeattle SeahawksSafety
1985Mike SingletaryChicago BearsLinebacker
1986Lawrence Taylor (3)New York Giants (3)Linebacker
1987Reggie WhitePhiladelphia EaglesDefensive end
1988Mike Singletary (2)Chicago Bears (2)Linebacker
1989Keith MillardMinnesota Vikings (2)Defensive tackle
1990Bruce SmithBuffalo BillsDefensive end
1991Pat SwillingNew Orleans SaintsLinebacker
1992Cortez KennedySeattle Seahawks (2)Defensive tackle
1993Rod WoodsonPittsburgh Steelers (5)Cornerback
1994Deion SandersSan Francisco 49ersCornerback
1995Bryce PaupBuffalo Bills (2)Linebacker
1996Bruce Smith (2)Buffalo Bills (3)Defensive end
1997Dana StubblefieldSan Francisco 49ers (2)Defensive tackle
1998Reggie White (2)Green Bay PackersDefensive end
1999Warren SappTampa Bay Buccaneers (2)Defensive tackle
2000Ray LewisBaltimore RavensLinebacker
2001Michael StrahanNew York Giants (4)Defensive end
2002Derrick BrooksTampa Bay Buccaneers (3)Linebacker
2003Ray Lewis[1] (2)Baltimore Ravens (2)Linebacker
2004Ed Reed[2]Baltimore Ravens (3)Safety
2005Brian Urlacher[3]Chicago Bears (3)Linebacker
2006Jason Taylor[4]Miami Dolphins (3)Defensive end
2007Bob Sanders[5]Indianapolis ColtsSafety
2008James Harrison[6]Pittsburgh Steelers (6)Linebacker
2009Charles Woodson[7]Green Bay Packers (2)Cornerback
2010Troy Polamalu Pittsburgh Steelers (7)Safety
2011Terrell Suggs Baltimore Ravens (4)Linebacker
2012J. J. Watt Houston TexansDefensive end
2013Luke Kuechly Carolina PanthersLinebacker
2014J. J. Watt (2) Houston Texans (2)Defensive end
2015J. J. Watt (3) Houston Texans (3)Defensive end
2016Khalil Mack Oakland Raiders (2)Linebacker
2017Aaron Donald Los Angeles RamsDefensive tackle

Pro Football Writers of America

The Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA) is made up of sportswriters who cover the NFL and the 32 teams on a daily basis.

From 1969 to 1991, the Pro Football Writers Association NFL Defensive Player of the Year was presented by Pro Football Weekly only. PFW and the Professional Football Writers of America combined their awards in 1992. In 2013, the award was presented by PFWA alone.

Pro Football Writers of America Defensive Player of the Year winners

SeasonPlayerTeamPosition College
1969Bobby BellKansas City ChiefsOutside linebackerMinnesota
1970Dick ButkusChicago BearsMiddle linebackerIllinois
1971Alan PageMinnesota VikingsDefensive tackleNotre Dame
1972Joe GreenePittsburgh SteelersDefensive tackleNorth Texas State
1973Alan PageMinnesota VikingsDefensive TackleNotre Dame
1974Joe GreenePittsburgh SteelersDefensive tackleNorth Texas Stats
1975Jack HamPittsburgh SteelersOutside LinebackerPenn State
1976Jack LambertPittsburgh SteelersMiddle LinebackerKent State
1977Harvey MartinDallas CowboysDefensive EndNorth Texas Stats
1978Randy GradisharDenver BroncosInside LinebackerOhio State
1979Lee Roy SelmonTampa Bay BuccaneersDefensive endOklahoma
1980Lester HayesOakland RaidersCornerbackTexas A&M
1981Joe KleckoNew York JetsDefensive endTemple
1982Dan HamptonChicago BearsDefensive tackleArkansas
1983Bob BaumhowerMiami DolphinsDefensive tackleAlabama
1984Kenny EasleySeattle SeahawksSafetyUCLA
1985No Award
1986Lawrence TaylorNew York GiantsOutside LinebackerNorth Carolina
1987Reggie WhitePhiladelphia EaglesDefensive EndTennessee
1988Mike SingletaryChicago BearsMiddle linebackerBaylor
1989Keith MillardMinnesota VikingsDefensive tackleWashington State
1990Bruce SmithBuffalo BillsDefensive EndVirginia Tech
1991Reggie WhitePhiladelphia EaglesDefensive EndTennessee
1992Cortez KennedySeattle SeahawksDefensive TackleMiami
1993Bruce SmithBuffalo BillsDefensive EndVirginia Tech
1994Deion SandersSan Francisco 49ersCornerbackFlorida State
1995Bryce PaupBuffalo BillsOutside LinebackerNorthern Iowa
1996Bruce SmithBuffalo BillsDefensive EndVirginia Tech
1997Dana StubblefieldSan Francisco 49ersDefensive tackleKansas
1998Reggie WhiteGreen Bay PackersDefensive endTennessee
1999Warren SappTampa Bay BuccaneersDefensive TackleMiami
2000Ray LewisBaltimore RavensMiddle LinebackerMiami
2001Michael StrahanNew York GiantsDefensive EndTexas Southern
2002Derrick BrooksTampa Bay BuccaneersOutside linebackerFlorida St
2003Ray LewisBaltimore RavensMiddle LinebackerMiami
2004Ed ReedBaltimore RavensSafetyMiami, FL
2005Brian UrlacherChicago BearsMiddle linebackerNew Mexico
2006Jason TaylorMiami DolphinsDefensive EndAkron
2007Bob SandersIndianapolis ColtsSafetyIowa
2008James HarrisonPittsburgh SteelersOutside LinebackerKent State
2009Charles WoodsonGreen Bay PackersCornerbackMichigan
2010Clay Matthews IIIGreen Bay PackersOutside linebackerUSC
2011Terrell SuggsBaltimore RavensOutside linebackerArizona State
2012J. J. WattHouston TexansDefensive EndWisconsin
2013Robert QuinnSt. Louis RamsDefensive EndNorth Carolina
2014J. J. WattHouston TexansDefensive EndWisconsin
2015J. J. WattHouston TexansDefensive EndWisconsin
2016Khalil MackOakland RaidersDefensive EndBuffalo
2017Calais CampbellJacksonville JaguarsDefensive EndMiami

Newspaper Enterprise Association

Beginning in 1966, the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA) annually awarded the George S. Halas Trophy to the NFL's outstanding defensive player (Newspaper Enterprise Association Defensive Player of the Year Award). (The George S. Halas Trophy should not be confused with the Pro Football Writers Association's George S. Halas Courage Award or the National Football League's George Halas Trophy that is awarded to the NFC champion.) The winner was released via the NEA news service and also appeared in the World Almanac, which was an NEA publication. The award ran through 1996. It was considered one of the major awards and as included in the NFL Record and Fact Book and its winners still appear in the NFL's Official Encyclopedia, Total Football II. In his book, A Thinking Man's Guide to Pro Football, sportwriter Paul Zimmerman touted the NEA for its All-Pro team and its awards, since they involved polling the players, rather than being a sportswriter's poll like the AP, UPI, and the PFWA.

Newspaper Enterprise Association DPOY winners

Winners are awarded George S. Halas Trophy
1966Larry Wilson, S, St. Louis Cardinals
1967Deacon Jones, DE, Los Angeles Rams
1968— Deacon Jones, DE, Los Angeles Rams
1969Dick Butkus, MLB, Chicago Bears
1970— Dick Butkus, MLB, Chicago Bears
1971Carl Eller, DE, Minnesota Vikings
1972Joe Greene, DT, Pittsburgh Steelers
1973Alan Page, DT, Minnesota Vikings
1974— Joe Greene, DT, Pittsburgh Steelers
1975Curley Culp, DT, Houston Oilers
1976Jerry Sherk, DT, Cleveland Browns
1977Harvey Martin, DE, Dallas Cowboys
1978Randy Gradishar, ILB, Denver Broncos
1979Lee Roy Selmon, DE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
1980Lester Hayes, CB, Oakland Raiders
1981Joe Klecko, DE, New York Jets
1982Mark Gastineau, DE, New York Jets
1983Jack Lambert, MLB, Pittsburgh Steelers
1984Mike Haynes, CB, Los Angeles Raiders
1985Howie Long, DE, Los Angeles Raiders/ Andre Tippett, OLB, New England Patriots (tie)
1986Lawrence Taylor, OLB, New York Giants
1987Reggie White, DE, Philadelphia Eagles
1988Mike Singletary, MLB, Chicago Bears
1989Tim Harris, OLB, Green Bay Packers
1990Bruce Smith, DE, Buffalo Bills
1991Pat Swilling, OLB, New Orleans Saints
1992Junior Seau, LB, San Diego Chargers
1993Bruce Smith, DE, Buffalo Bills
1994Deion Sanders, CB, San Francisco 49ers
1995Bryce Paup, OLB, Buffalo Bills
1996Kevin Greene, OLB, Carolina Panthers
1997Dana Stubblefield, DT, San Francisco 49ers


The Newspaper Enterprise Association also awarded the Bert Bell Memorial Trophy to the Rookie of the Year and the Jim Thorpe Award to the NFL MVP. The driving force behind these awards was Murray Olderman who began the NEA All-pro team in 1954 and added more awards, including the Third Down Trophy that symbolized each team's MVP.

United Press International

NFC Defensive Player of the Year Winners

Season PlayerTeamPosition
1975 Jack YoungbloodLos Angeles RamsDefensive End
1976 Wally ChambersChicago BearsDefensive Tackle
1977 Harvey MartinDallas CowboysDefensive Tackle
1978 Randy WhiteDallas CowboysDefensive Tackle
1979 Lee Roy SelmonTampa Bay BuccaneersDefensive End
1980 Nolan CromwellLos Angeles RamsSafety
1981 Fred DeanSan Francisco 49ersDefensive End
1982 No Award
1983 Lawrence TaylorNew York GiantsLinebacker
1984 Mike SingletaryChicago BearsLinebacker
1985 Mike SingletaryChicago BearsLinebacker
1986 Lawrence TaylorNew York GiantsLinebacker
1987 Reggie WhitePhiladelphia EaglesDefensive End
1988 Mike SingletaryChicago BearsLinebacker
1989 Keith MillardMinnesota VikingsDefensive Tackle
1990 Charles HaleySan Francisco 49ersLinebacker
1991 Reggie WhitePhiladelphia EaglesDefensive End
1992 Chris DolemanMinnesota VikingsDefensive End
1993 Eric AllenPhiladelphia EaglesCornerback
1994 Charles HaleyDallas CowboysDefensive End
1995 Reggie WhiteGreen Bay PackersDefensive End
1996 Kevin GreeneCarolina PanthersLinebacker

AFC Player of the Year winners

1975Mel BlountPittsburgh SteelersCornerback
1976Jack LambertPittsburgh SteelersLinebacker
1977Lyle AlzadoDenver BroncosDefensive End
1978Randy GradisharDenver BroncosLinebacker
1979Jack LambertPittsburgh SteelersLinbebacker
1980Lester HayesOakland RaidersCornerback
1981Joe KleckoNew York JetsDefensive End
1982No Award
1983Rod MartinLos Angeles RaidersLinebacker
1984Mark GastineauNew York JetsDefensive End
1985Andre TippettNew England PatriotsLinebacker
1986Rulon JonesDenver BroncosDefensive End
1987Bruce SmithBuffalo BillsDefensive End
1988 (tie)Bruce SmithBuffalo BillsDefensive End
Cornelius BennettBuffalo BillsLinebacker
1989Michael Dean PerryCleveland BrownsNose Tackle
1990Bruce SmithBuffalo BillsDefensive End
1991Cornelius BennettBuffalo BillsLinebacker
1992Junior SeauSan Diego ChargersLinebacker
1993Rod WoodsonPittsburgh SteelersCornerback
1994Greg LloydPittsburgh SteelersLinebacker
1995Bryce PaupBuffalo BillsLinebacker
1996Bruce SmithBuffalo BillsDefensive End

Football Digest

1992 - Junior Seau, MLB, San Diego Chargers
1993 - Deion Sanders, CB, Atlanta Falcons
1994 - Charles Haley, DE, Dallas Cowboys
1995 - Merton Hanks, S, San Francisco 49ers
1996 - Bruce Smith, DE, Buffalo Bills
1997 - Dana Stubblefield, DT, San Francisco 49ers
1998 - Junior Seau, MLB, San Diego Chargers
1999 - Warren Sapp, DT, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2000 - Ray Lewis, MLB, Baltimore Ravens
2001 - Brian Urlacher, MLB, Chicago Bears
2002 - Derrick Brooks, OLB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2003 - Ray Lewis, ILB, Baltimore Ravens
2004 - Ed Reed, S, Baltimore Ravens

Sporting News

2008 - Albert Haynesworth, DT, Tennessee Titans
2009 - Charles Woodson, CB, Green Bay Packers
2010 - Clay Matthews, LB, Green Bay Packers
2011 - Jared Allen, DE, Minnesota Vikings
2012 - J. J. Watt, DE, Houston Texans
2013 - Luke Kuechly, LB, Carolina Panthers
2014 - J. J. Watt, DE, Houston Texans
2015 - J. J. Watt, DE, Houston Texans
2016 - Khalil Mack, DE, Oakland Raiders

Sports Illustrated

2008 - DeMarcus Ware, OLB, Dallas Cowboys
2009 - Darrelle Revis, CB, New York Jets
2010 - Julius Peppers, DE, Chicago Bears
2011 - Justin Smith, DE, San Francisco 49ers
2012 - J. J. Watt, DE, Houston Texans
2013 - Robert Quinn, DE, St. Louis Rams
2014 - J. J. Watt, DE, Houston Texans

Pro Football Focus

2011 - Justin Smith, DE, San Francisco 49ers
2012 - J. J. Watt, DE, Houston Texans
2013 - J. J. Watt, DE, Houston Texans
2014 - J. J. Watt, DE, Houston Texans
2015 - Aaron Donald, DT, St. Louis Rams
2016 - Aaron Donald, DT, Los Angeles Rams
2017 - Aaron Donald, DT, Los Angeles Rams

Kansas City Committee of 101

Began in 1969, the "101" is 101 of the top NFL sportwriters who have been voting on awards, such as the Defensive Player of each Conference since 1969.

KC Committee of 101 Defensive Player of the Year Award winners

See also


  1. "Ray Lewis goes from murder suspect to NFL's Defensive Player of Year". Batesville Daily Guard website. Associated Press. January 3, 2001. Retrieved January 5, 2009.
  2. "First safety in 20 years to win defensive award". Associated Press. January 7, 2005. Retrieved January 5, 2009.
  3. "Urlacher named AP Defensive Player of the Year". Associated Press. January 6, 2006. Retrieved January 5, 2009.
  4. Wilner, Barry (January 5, 2007). "Taylor takes home AP Defensive Player of the Year honor". Associated Press. Retrieved January 5, 2009.
  5. "AP picks Colts' Sanders as top defensive player". Associated Press. January 7, 2008. Retrieved January 5, 2009.
  6. Wilner, Barry (January 5, 2009). "Steelers' Harrison is AP Defensive Player of Year". Associated Press. Retrieved January 5, 2009.
  7. "CB Woodson voted AP's top defensive player". Associated Press. January 12, 2010. Retrieved October 27, 2010.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.