Brian Urlacher and Jason Taylor are two of the greatest defensive players in NFL history. Not only are both guys in the Hall of Fame, but Urlacher and Taylor each won a Defensive Player of the Year Award.
However, while Brian Urlacher has a ton of respect for Jason Taylor, he believes the six-time Pro Bowler unjustly won the 2006 Defensive Player of the Year Award.
Brian Urlacher won DPOY in 2005
Brian Urlacher won the 2005 Defensive Player of the Year Award. He recorded 98 solo tackles, 17 tackles for loss, and 6.0 sacks for the Chicago Bears, who had the best scoring defense in the NFL.
Behind Urlacher, the Bears only allowed 12.6 points per game during the 2005 season. Chicago won the NFC North with a record of 11-5 and secured a first-round bye in the playoffs.
Unfortunately, the Bears lost to the Carolina Panthers at home in the Divisional Round by a final score of 29-21. Urlacher, though, had a stellar individual season. Along with winning DPOY, he made the Pro Bowl team and was named first-team all-pro.
Brian Urlacher was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2018. During the week of the ceremony, the Bears legend admitted to Vaughn McClure of ESPN that he could have won DPOY in 2006 over Jason Taylor had the best game of his NFL career taken place later in the season.
Brian Urlacher put on a show against the Cardinals in 2006
Jason Taylor won the 2006 Defensive Player of the Year Award. However, Brian Urlacher thinks he could have won the award had his monster game against the Arizona Cardinals not been in Week 6.
On Monday Night Football, the Bears trailed the Cardinals 20-0 at halftime and 23-3 late in the third quarter. Urlacher, a man on a mission to keep Chicago undefeated, turned into an alien that night by registering 19 tackles (Bears coaches credited him with 25), three quarterback hits, two passes defended, and a forced fumble.
Thanks to Urlacher and Devin Hester, the Bears came back to defeat the Cardinals by a final score of 24-23. Urlacher believes he would have won DPOY again over Taylor had the Arizona game been later in the season.
“If you go by pure tackles, yes, the Arizona game was my best, without a doubt,” Urlacher told ESPN. “The bad thing is it happened so early in the year. It was our sixth game. I think I got [fourth] in the Defensive Player of the Year voting. I think if I had that game in Week 16, Week 17, I win Defensive Player of the Year. Jason Taylor [of Miami] won it, and they were [6-10]. We were 13-3 and had the best defense in the league.”
For the Miami Dolphins, Taylor had 13.5 sacks, 42 solo tackles, and two interceptions during the 2006 season. He also forced nine fumbles and scored two touchdowns.
Meanwhile, Urlacher had 93 solo tackles and three interceptions for the Bears in 2006. Chicago once again had the best defense in the NFL and reached the Super Bowl after defeating the Seattle Seahawks and New Orleans Saints in the NFC playoffs.
Brian Urlacher’s best game of his NFL career may have taken place too early during the 2006 season. The Bears icon could have won DPOY over Jason Taylor had the NFL scheduled that Cardinals game later in the year.
Both guys had amazing careers
Brian Urlacher and Jason Taylor are in the Hall of Fame for a reason. Both guys had amazing careers.
In 182 games with the Bears, Brian Urlacher recorded 41.5 sacks and 1,046 solo tackles. He had 22 interceptions and scored four touchdowns as well.
Meanwhile, Jason Taylor played 233 games for the Dolphins, Washington Redskins, and New York Jets. He finished his career with 139.5 sacks and 536 solo tackles.
Stats courtesy of Football Reference.