The league honored the 10-year veteran on the field at Sun Life Stadium and live on CBS Sports before the kickoff of the Indianapolis-New Orleans title tilt.
"I am so appreciative of my wife, family, the National Football League, the Kansas City Chiefs and my teammates for their support," Waters said.
He heads the Brian Waters 54 Foundation, which gives college scholarships to low-income students, conducts a back-to-school program, and works with Special Olympics.
Waters beat out Washington linebacker London Fletcher and Cleveland wide receiver Mike Furrey for the honor.
Past winners include Miami defensive end Jason Taylor, just-retired Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner, and San Diego running back LaDainian Tomlinson.
The award is named after the late Walter Payton, the former Chicago Bears all-pro running back.
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]