NFL announces nominees for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award

The NFL announced today the 32 nominees for the WALTER PAYTON NFL MAN OF THE YEAR AWARD PRESENTED BY NATIONWIDE. Representing the best of the NFL’s commitment to philanthropy and community impact, each of these players was selected as his team’s Man of the Year and is now eligible to win the national award. Considered one of the league’s most prestigious honors, the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award presented by Nationwide recognizes an NFL player for outstanding community service activities off the field, as well as excellence on the field. First established in 1970, the national award was renamed in 1999 after the late Hall of Fame Chicago Bears running back WALTER PAYTON.

“The Man of the Year Award gives us the opportunity to acknowledge 32 exemplary players whose commitment to excellence extends on and off the field,” said NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL. “This year’s nominees have used their platforms to transform communities across the country. We are proud of their work and celebrate their dedication and impact through this award.”

New this year, all 32 team winners will be highlighted as finalists and recognized for their important work during the weekend leading up to Super Bowl LIII. The 2018 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year will be announced during NFL Honors, a two-hour primetime awards special to air nationally on February 2, the eve of Super Bowl LIII, on CBS. NFL Honors will be at Fox Theatre in Atlanta.

Five hundred thousand dollars will be donated in the name of the 2018 winner. $250,000 will be donated in his name to expand Character Playbook, the NFL and United Way’s digital character education program. An additional donation of $250,000 will be donated to the charity of his choice. All other 31 nominees will receive a donation of $50,000 in their name to expand Character Playbook, and an additional donation of up to $50,000 to their charity of choice. All donations are courtesy of the NFL Foundation, Nationwide and United Way Worldwide.

“Nationwide is honored to help highlight and support the incredible efforts of this year’s team nominees,” said Nationwide’s Chief Marketing Officer TERRANCE WILLIAMS. “We hope others are inspired by these 32 men to make positive differences—big and small—in their own communities. Congratulations and thank you to each of the nominees for their leadership both on and off the field.”

Fans are encouraged to participate in Nationwide’s 4th annual Charity Challenge, a social media campaign designed to support and promote team nominees. Fans can vote by using #WPMOYChallenge on Twitter with their favorite nominee’s last name somewhere in the post between December 6 and January 13. The player whose unique hashtag is used the most will receive a $25,000 contribution to their charity of choice, courtesy of Nationwide. Hashtag information and official rules can be found at nfl.com/manoftheyear.

Beginning in 2017, the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year trophy silhouette came to life in uniform elements to further recognize past award winners and current nominees. The five current players who have won the award—DREW BREES, THOMAS DAVIS, LARRY FITZGERALD, ELI MANNING and J.J. WATT—continue to wear a Man of the Year patch on their jerseys to recognize their outstanding contributions to the game and to their communities. All 2018 nominees will wear a Man of the Year helmet decal beginning Week 14 and continuing through the end of the season in recognition of their accomplishments on and off the field.

The NFL will also continue to surprise fans across the country with invitations to attend Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta. A total of 500 free tickets will be distributed as a way to give back to dedicated NFL fans and provide them with a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Each Man of the Year nominee will receive two Super Bowl LIII tickets to give away to community recipients of their choice.

For more information on the nominees and the award, visit NFL.com/manoftheyear.

Below is a list of the 2018 nominees:

TEAM NOMINEE
Arizona Cardinals Antoine Bethea
Atlanta Falcons Grady Jarrett
Baltimore Ravens Brandon Carr
Buffalo Bills Lorenzo Alexander
Carolina Panthers Julius Peppers
Chicago Bears Trey Burton
Cincinnati Bengals Carlos Dunlap
Cleveland Browns Christian Kirksey
Dallas Cowboys Dak Prescott
Denver Broncos Von Miller
Detroit Lions Matthew Stafford
Green Bay Packers Kenny Clark
Houston Texans Whitney Mercilus
Indianapolis Colts Jabaal Sheard
Jacksonville Jaguars Blake Bortles
Kansas City Chiefs Dustin Colquitt
Los Angeles Chargers Corey Liuget
Los Angeles Rams Andrew Whitworth
Miami Dolphins Kenny Stills
Minnesota Vikings Kyle Rudolph
New England Patriots Devin McCourty
New Orleans Saints Mark Ingram
New York Giants Michael Thomas
New York Jets Kelvin Beachum
Oakland Raiders Marshawn Lynch
Philadelphia Eagles Chris Long
Pittsburgh Steelers Cameron Heyward
San Francisco 49ers Robbie Gould
Seattle Seahawks K.J. Wright
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Gerald McCoy
Tennessee Titans Jurrell Casey
Washington Redskins Vernon Davis
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J.J. Watts wins 2017 NFL Man of the Year

Houston Texans defensive end  J.J. WATT was named the 2017 WALTER PAYTON NFL MAN OF THE YEAR PRESENTED BY NATIONWIDE, the NFL announced today. Considered the league’s most prestigious honor, the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award recognizes a player for his excellence on and off the field.

The announcement was made during NFL Honors, a two-hour primetime awards special that will air nationally at 9 PM (ET and PT) on NBC tonight.

Prior to kickoff of Super Bowl LII, past Man of the Year winners will be recognized on-field, as a testament to their contributions to the game and to their communities. The Man of the Year Legacy Pregame Moment will culminate with the introduction of Watt as the 2017 recipient, welcoming him into the exceptional fraternity.

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, J.J. Watt solidified his importance to the city of Houston by being an unwavering fixture of hope. While watching the events unfold from a hotel room in Dallas, J.J. posted a video on social media announcing a fundraising campaign with a very reasonable goal of $200,000, to which he matched the first $100,000. In 19 days, he raised more than $37 million. J.J. has dedicated himself to finding organizations that will apply the funds in the way he has promised the donors and victims of Harvey. He recently announced a plan with strategic partners, making good on his promise to ensure that every dollar goes directly to the people of Houston and its surrounding areas that are in need.

J.J.’s dedication to charitable service began at a young age when the thought of being in the NFL was still just a dream. He started the Justin J. Watt Foundation in Wisconsin in 2010 out of a desire to help underserved kids. His personal motto of “Dream Big, Work Hard” culminated into a mission that he continues to use to impact communities nationwide. The foundation has provided over $3.4 million in funding to middle schools and organizations that have insufficient funding for after-school athletic programs or no after-school athletics whatsoever for 6th – 8th grade children.

In his 7th NFL season, J.J. has been named to the Pro Bowl 4 times and is a 4-time first-team All-Pro. Leading the league in sacks in 2012 and 2015, J.J. was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in both those years and in 2014 as well. J.J. has played in 88 games for the Texans and recorded a total of 394 tackles and 76 sacks.

Watt will receive $500,000, half of which will go to a charity of his choice and half of which will support the expansion of Character Playbook across the country.  Character Playbook is the NFL and United Way’s digital education program that teaches middle school students how to cultivate and maintain healthy relationships. As the runners-up, Olsen and Watson 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 received 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.