What is the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award?

Published 12/08/2021, 8:12 AM EST

Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award is given by the NFL to honor the die-hard philanthropists of the league. It gives recognition to those players who have made noteworthy charitable efforts and have also excelled in leading his team through the season.

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Before 1999, it was simply known as the NFL Man of the Year Award. The award was renamed to commemorate Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton’s humanitarian impact shortly after his death. The trophy depicts a caped lineman, Steve Wright, who had played with the Green Bay Packers during their Super Bowl I and Super Bowl II championships.

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How is a winner selected?

Every year 32 players are nominated each from a different team, out of which a winner is selected by a panel of judges. The panel comprises the Commissioner of the NFL, the previous year’s winner, and a number of former players. The winner of Man of the Year who is also acknowledged during the Super Bowl pre-game gets a $250,000 gift to a charity of his choice.

The other 31 finalists receive a $50,000 contribution each, to a charity of their choosing in their names. With five wins apiece, the Kansas City Chiefs and Chicago Bears have the most award winners of any team. And the Steelers and Chargers remain the next highest teams with 4 winners each.

Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year active winners

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Following 2017 players who win the Man of the Year award gets to wear a patch portraying the trophy on their jerseys for the duration of their NFL careers. Larry Fitzgerald, J. J. Watt, Calais Campbell, and Russell Wilson are the current active winners adorning their jerseys with the patch. Furthermore, since the announcement, each team’s nominees are given a helmet sticker displaying the trophy to wear for the rest of the season.

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Winning the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year trophy is no less than a Super Bowl. As the Lombardi Trophy rewards the excellence of a team on the field. But it takes a lot of commitment on and off the field for any player to win the NFL Man of the Year title.

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Sauvik Banerjee

932 articles

Sauvik Banerjee is currently an NFL writer at EssentiallySports. After completing his Bachelor’s degree in English and Economics from Lucknow University, Sauvik combined his love for NFL and passion for writing to work for team ES. Sauvik has functioned as a content marketing intern at Kyari Innovations and had a brief stint with Knocksense Lucknow.

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