- Associated Press - Sunday, February 1, 2015

PHOENIX — Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers won his second MVP award Saturday night, and Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt swept away the voters the way he sweeps quarterbacks off their feet to take top defensive honors.

Rodgers, also the MVP in 2011, took this one in somewhat surprisingly easy fashion over Watt. The Packers quarterback received 31 votes for the 2014 award from a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the league. Houston’s Watt, seeking to become the first defensive player to win MVP since 1986, got 13 votes.

Rodgers threw for 38 touchdowns and a league-low five interceptions; he has thrown 512 passes at home without a pick. He led the Packers to two victories at season’s end despite playing with a severe calf injury.

“I feel so fortunate to live out my dreams, year after year,” Rodgers said Saturday night. “It can’t help but sink in when you play for the Packers. When you live in Green Bay you know about the Lombardi years, Bart Starr and all the guys who made those teams special. You like to be part of something special yourself.”

The ultra-energetic and versatile Watt is the first unanimous choice for an AP award since New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady won MVP in 2007, and the first for top defensive player under the current voting setup.

“I’m always trying to raise the bar,” he said. “The moment you get complacent is the moment you begin your decline. When you start to feel like you’ve made it, when you feel like you’re doing pretty good, that’s when you start to fall back.”

Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray was named Offensive Player of the Year, while Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski took the Comeback Player award.

Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians took his second Coach of the Year award in three seasons after leading his injury-ravaged Cardinals to an 11-5 record and a wild-card playoff berth. He was the top coach in 2012 as an interim, stepping in for the ill Chuck Pagano and leading the Indianapolis Colts to the postseason.

His defensive coordinator in Arizona, Todd Bowles, won the first Assistant Coach of the Year award. Bowles has parlayed his work with the Cardinals into a head coaching job with the New York Jets.

New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was voted top offensive rookie, while St. Louis Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald won top defensive rookie.

The AP awards were given out during the “NFL Honors” TV program. Also during the show, Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis won the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award for his philanthropy and Chicago Bears defensive end Jared Allen won the “Salute to Service Award” for his work with the military.


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