The summer-long countdown concluded Wednesday night in a two-hour finale, with Watt being unveiled as the best among the league's elite with his record-breaking 2014 performance. He became not only the first defensive player to top the list, but the first to ever crack the top three in the five-year history of the countdown. Watt's highest appearance was at No. 5 just two years ago.
The 2014 unanimous Defensive Player of the Year adds this latest accolade after a historic season. Watt became the first player in NFL history to record two seasons with more than 20 sacks (20.5 in 2012 and again in 2014). He also joined Jason Taylor as the only player to record 10 sacks and 10 passes defensed in two different seasons since 1991.
After signing a 6-year contract extension in September, Watt proved his worth, leading the league with 50 quarterback hits (the most since the NFL began tracking the statistic), 29 tackles for loss, and five fumble recoveries.
The three-time All-Pro didn't limit his accomplishments to the defensive side of the ball, catching three touchdown receptions. He became the first defensive lineman since Chicago Bears DE Connie Mack Berry in 1944 to have at least five touchdowns in a season. Watt is just the fourth player in NFL history and the first in more than 50 years to have a touchdown reception, interception returned for a touchdown, and fumble recovery for a score in the same season.
Defensive end J.J. Watt's 2014 was one to remember. Game-by-game, a Texans' opponent shared his thoughts on the Defensive Player of the Year.