Chicago's turnaround from the bottom of the NFC North pack to 11-5 and division winner was paced by the defense, which yielded 202 points, 45 fewer than Indianapolis, the next-stingiest team. He had 121 tackles, six sacks and a fumble recovery, but stats don't define Urlacher.
Full-field coverage, intimidating hits and big plays do.
"People are realizing we have some good players here," Urlacher said. "Anytime you lose, nothing really matters except winning. ... People realize that when you win, you obviously have some good players on your team."
Chicago has enough of them on defense to draw votes for four. Urlacher's 34 votes from a nationwide panel of 50 sports writers and broadcasters who cover the NFL gave him a runaway victory. Teammates Alex Brown at end, Lance Briggs at outside linebacker, and Nathan Vasher at cornerback each received one vote.
"Best player on the best defense. He should be the defensive MVP," Pro Bowl safety Mike Brown said. "He makes a lot of impact plays, but just him being on the field, teams have to scheme against us. They have to do different things to stay away from him. He's the leader of our team."
A bit surprised from the list that Delth O'Neal didn't get a vote or two. He did lead the league in interceptions, that counts for something regardless of how Cincy's overall defense ranks.