The NFL revealed the nominees for this year’s edition of the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.
32 nominees were announced, and every single one deserves to take home one of the most prestigious — and honorable — awards in the NFL.
This award revolves around a commitment to philanthropy and community impact. Surely, all 32 players have done exactly that.
According to NFL.com, “Three of the nominees will be selected as finalists for the national award, renamed in 1999 after the late Hall of Fame Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton. Finalists will be announced in January 2018.”
The winner will be announced during NFL Honors, a two-hour prime-time awards special to air nationally on Feb. 3, the eve of Super Bowl LII, at 9 PM (ET and PT) on NBC. NFL Honors will be taped earlier that evening at the Cyrus Northrop Memorial Auditorium at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.
This is an award that honors players for not only their contributions on the field but, and most importantly, off the field as well. Certainly, the 32 players who made the cut fit that bill.
More from the NFL.com article mentioned above:
“NFL players are outstanding, generous men of character who give back to their communities,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “Walter Payton represented the very best on and off the field and this year’s Man of the Year nominees exemplify his legacy of philanthropy and leadership. We are proud to support players as they use their platforms to drive positive change.”
$500,000 dollars will be donated in the name of the 2017 winner. $250,000 will be donated to the winner’s charity of choice and $250,000 will be donated in his name to expand Character Playbook across the country. The two other finalists will each receive a $100,000 donation to their charity of choice and a $100,000 donation in their names to expand Character Playbook. All other 29 nominees will receive a $50,000 donation to their charity of choice and an additional $50,000 donation in their names to expand Character Playbook. All donations are courtesy of the NFL Foundation, Nationwide and United Way Worldwide.
As profootballtalk.nbcsports.com pointed out, “As the league has attempted to add to the prestige of the Man of the Year Award, it has shined an increasing spotlight on the nominees and the winners. The latest example of that comes with a new Man of the Year uniform patch that players who have received the award will wear on their jerseys. Saints quarterback Drew Brees is wearing the patch tonight, and Giants quarterback Eli Manning, Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald, Cowboys tight end Jason Witten and Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis will all wear the patch on their jerseys going forward.”
New tradition starting tonite: Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year winners to wear special patch on their jerseys to recognize their contributions to their communities. @saints @drewbrees among the 5 current winners pic.twitter.com/A1gP4HPffe
— Brian McCarthy (@NFLprguy) December 8, 2017
— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) December 8, 2017
New tradition starting this week: active players who have won Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year will wear special jersey patch for rest of career.
— Mark Dalton (@CardsMarkD) December 8, 2017
— Matt Harris (@Matt____Harris) December 8, 2017
As the NFL.com article pointed out, here are the nominees for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award:
Arizona Cardinals: Patrick Peterson
Atlanta Falcons: Ben Garland
Baltimore Ravens: Benjamin Watson
Buffalo Bills: Lorenzo Alexander
Carolina Panthers: Greg Olsen
Chicago Bears: Sam Acho
Cincinnati Bengals: Michael Johnson
Cleveland Browns: Randall Telfer
Dallas Cowboys: Travis Frederick
Denver Broncos: Chris Harris Jr.
Detroit Lions: Haloti Ngata
Green Bay Packers: Clay Matthews
Houston Texans: J.J. Watt
Indianapolis Colts: Darius Butler
Jacksonville Jaguars: Malik Jackson
Kansas City Chiefs: Alex Smith
Los Angeles Chargers: Casey Hayward
Los Angeles Rams: Rodger Saffold
Miami Dolphins: Kenny Stills
Minnesota Vikings: Kyle Rudolph
New England Patriots: Nate Solder
New Orleans Saints: Cameron Jordan
New York Giants: Mark Herzlich
New York Jets: Quincy Enunwa
Oakland Raiders: Bruce Irvin
Philadelphia Eagles: Malcolm Jenkins
Pittsburgh Steelers: Cameron Heyward
San Francisco 49ers: Bradley Pinion
Seattle Seahawks: Michael Bennett
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Clinton McDonald
Tennessee Titans: Wesley Woodyard
Washington Redskins: Nick Sundberg
The winner of this award will, once again, be announced on the night before the Super Bowl.