The NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year Award is one of the most prestigious awards in the league.
What is the Man of the Year Award?
Established in 1970, the award aims to recognize an NFL player who displayed outstanding service to his respective community, aside from his on-field excellence.
Each team nominates one football player who had a significant positive impact on the community.
Who is Walter Payton?
Although the award is already in its 50th year, it was renamed after Walter Payton in 1999. Payton was a Hall of Famer running back for Chicago Bears.
Mike Ditka described him as one of the greatest football players but even greater as a human being.
His legacy lies in leaving a lasting impact when it comes to organ donations. Payton himself, and subsequently his charity, called for greater awareness about its importance, at the national level.
Payton also spearheaded toy donation drives when he was still alive. The collected toys are donated to various institutions housing underprivileged children in Chicago on Christmas day.
Chicago Tribune named him the greatest Bears of all time.
Who selects the Man of the Year awardee?
A special committee composed of the NFL Commissioner, the last year’s winner (who will be Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long), and former football players who have also won the said award.
There could only be one winner.
Did Drew Brees win the Walter Payton Award?
Yes, Brees did win the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 2006.
Brees was one of the six active football players who have won the award. The others are Jason Witten (2012), Thomas Davis (2014), Larry Fitzgerald (2016), Eli Manning (2016), and J.J. Watt (2017).
What patch is on Drew Brees and Eli Manning’s jersey?
The patch, which is a trophy silhouette, was introduced in 2017, and Brees was the first to play wearing the new jersey design.
Past winners who are still actively playing continue to wear jerseys with the Man of the Year patch. This is to recognize their contributions to the league and their respective communities.
In 2019, it will be different because all the nominees wear a helmet with the Man of the Year decal. They will wear it from Week 15 onwards until the season ends. This is to recognize their on and off-field accomplishments.
What is the WPMOY Challenge?
NFL’s partner, Nationwide, has a separate Charity Challenge, which is now on its fifth year. It is a Twitter campaign that allows fans to support and promote the nominees.
The #WPMOYChallenge should be used, followed by the last name of the chosen nominee. The player with the most number of tweets from December 12 to January 12 will win.
The three winners will receive $25,000, $10,000, and $5,000 donations for their chosen charities.
Based on the leaderboard found in the NFL’s website, the top five contenders of the Charity Challenge are:
- Kyle Rudolph (Minnesota Vikings TE)
- Bobby Wagner (Seattle Seahawks LB)
- Kyle Van Noy (New England Patriots DL)
- Nick Sundberg (Washington Redskins LS)
- Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers QB)
Now that you know the basics about NFL’s Man of the Year Award, who do you think will win the 2019 Walter Payton statuette?