The Texans defensive end was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Year by the NFL 101 Awards, a football awards event dedicated exclusively to the National Football League.
Watt recorded an NFL-best 20.5 sacks for 139 yards lost in 2012. He also broke up 16 passes -- five of which ended up as interceptions -- and forced four fumbles. He is a first-time 101 Award winner and Pro Bowl selection and has started every game for the Texans after being drafted with the 11th overall pick two years ago.
Other winners include: Denver QB Peyton Manning for AFC Offensive Player of the Year; Minnesota RB Adrian Peterson for NFC Offensive Player of the Year; San Francisco LB Aldon Smith for NFC Defensive Player of the Year; Seattle head coach Pete Carroll for NFC Coach of the Year; and Colts head coach Chuck Pagano and offensive coordinator Bruce Arians are co-winners of the AFC Coach of the Year award.
In addition to these award winners, the Committee of 101 also selects the Lamar Hunt Award for Professional Football, which was created in 2007 to honor the life and legacy of the founder of the Kansas City Chiefs and given in recognition of visionary leadership that has helped the NFL become the preeminent pro sports league in America.
A national media committee, comprised of 101 sportswriters and broadcasters who cover the NFL, selected the winners in each award category in a nationwide vote at the conclusion of the regular season.
The 2012 season award winners will be presented with trophies at the 43rd Annual NFL 101 Awards gala in Kansas City on Saturday, March 2.