Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who led a prolific Packers offense with 38 touchdown passes and 4,381 passing yards, was selected as the 2014 NFL Most Valuable Player, chosen in voting conducted by the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA).
Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray, who led the league in rushing yards with 1,845, was selected as the 2014 Offensive Player of the Year, and Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, who had 20.5 sacks and led the league in tackles for loss, quarterback hits and fumble recoveries, was named the 2014 Defensive Player of the Year.
Rodgers, in his 10th NFL season, is the 40th MVP honored by the PFWA. This the second MVP award for Rodgers, who also was selected in 2011. This is the fourth PFWA MVP award for the Packers franchise (Rodgers 2011 and 2014 and QB Brett Favre in 1995 and 1996). Rodgers is the seventh player in NFL history to earn two or more MVP honors by the PFWA, joining Tom Brady, Earl Campbell, Marshall Faulk, Favre, Peyton Manning and Steve Young.
Rodgers started all 16 games in 2014 and completed 340 of 520 passes (65.6 completion percentage) for 4,381 yards, 38 touchdowns and a 112.2 passer rating with a career-low five interceptions as the Packers went 12-4 in the regular season. He tied the NFL record for most three-TD/zero-interception games in a single season in NFL history with eight (including a streak of four straight games at one point), and tied a franchise record with eight 300-yard passing games. He led the league in interception percentage (1.0), was second in passer rating (112.2) and touchdown percentage (7.3) and third in TD passes. Rodgers tied a NFL record for most touchdown passes in one half when he tossed six TDs in the first half against Chicago in Week 10. He was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week four times and the NFC’s Offensive Player of the Month in November.
Murray, in his fourth season, led the NFL and broke Emmitt Smith’s franchise record (1,773 in 1995) for rushing yards with 1,845 on a club-record 392 carries, tied for the NFL lead with 13 touchdowns and averaged 115.3 yards per game. He had 12 100-yard rushing games to set a Cowboys record, including a NFL-record eight straight games of 100 yards or more to start a season. He was also a major factor in the Dallas passing game with career highs in receptions (57) and receiving yards (416). His 2,261 scrimmage yards led the NFL and were the most in franchise history. He rushed for a season-high 179 yards against Chicago in Week 14 and had a pair of games with two rushing TDs. He earned back-to-back NFC Offensive Player of the Month awards for September and October.
Watt, in his fourth season, had 78 total tackles and 20.5 sacks. He led the NFL with 50 quarterback hits, 29 tackles for loss and five fumble recoveries. He ranked second in the league in sacks, tied for second in defensive touchdowns (two) and tied for third in forced fumbles (four). He posted a sack in 12 games, including each of the Texans’ final five contests and had a pair of three-sack games. Watt also had one of the most-unique seasons in NFL history as he scored 32 points on three receiving touchdowns, a fumble return touchdown, an interception return touchdown and a safety. Watt was the first defensive lineman since Chicago Bears DE Connie Mack Berry in 1944 to have at least five touchdowns in a season and the first player since Chicago Bears DB J.C. Caroline in 1956 to score multiple touchdowns on offense and defense in the same season. Watt was the AFC Defensive Player of the Month in September and December and was the AFC Defensive Player of the Week in Weeks 4 and 11.
This is the second PFWA Defensive Player of the Year award for Watt, who was also selected in 2012.
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.
ABOUT THE PFWA: The Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA) is the official voice of pro football writers, promoting and fighting for access to NFL personnel to best serve the public. The PFWA is made up of accredited writers who cover the NFL and the 32 teams on a daily basis. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s D. Orlando Ledbetter, who covers the Atlanta Falcons, is the organization’s president for 2013-15, while ESPN.com’s Jeff Legwold, who covers the Denver Broncos, is the PFWA’s first vice-president and long-time national writer Dan Pompei is the organization’s second vice-president. Follow the PFWA at ProFootballWriters.org and on Twitter at @PFWAwriters.