"It's an honor," Stafford said shortly after receiving the award. "There were a lot of guys up there that were deserving as well; you saw the candidates and some of the nominees, and you know how hard they worked to get back.
"It's just nice to be recognized that way and some of the hard work I put in and some of that belief that our coaching staff and players had in me didn't go unnoticed."
Stafford received 21 votes, six more than Cleveland linebacker D'Qwell Jackson. San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith finished third, followed by Carolina receiver Steve Smith, Denver defensive end Elvis Dumervil, New England defensive end Andre Carter and Giants quarterback Eli Manning.
Stafford is the first Lion to win the award and the ninth quarterback.
He became one of just four quarterbacks in the history of the NFL to throw for more than 5,000 yards (5,038) and 40 touchdowns (41) in a season this year.
He's also one of just seven quarterbacks in league history to record at least 4,500 yards, 35 touchdowns and 10 wins in a season.
Stafford's fantastic season came after missing 19 games over his first two seasons because of knee and shoulder injuries. He only played in three games in 2010 because of two separate shoulder injuries.
Starting every game for the Lions this season, Stafford set franchise records for yards, touchdowns, completions and attempts, leading the club to the playoffs for the first time in 12 years and to it's first 10-win season since 1995.
Stafford said he had a good time at the show but was hoping next year he'd be sequestered somewhere in a hotel in New Orleans, the site of the 2013 Super Bowl.
"You come here and see these festivities and they're fantastic and a bunch of fun, but, at the same time, two teams are still playing and it's every team's goal to be ending the season like these two teams," he said.