Tuesday 20 March 2018 / 03:13 AM


Via NFL Media

The legacy of former Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year winners will be recognized at Super Bowl LII in Minnesota, the NFL announced today. In honor of their excellence on and off the field, former Man of the Year winners – and family representatives of those who are no longer with us – will come together during Super Bowl weekend for a series of special events and programs. Prior to kickoff of Super Bowl LII, former 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 the 2017 recipient.

Players spanning generations who belong to the exceptional Man of the Year fraternity will be honored in Minnesota, including the family of the late Hall of Fame Chicago Bears running back WALTER PAYTON, Pro Football Hall of Famer and Pittsburgh Steelers Legend FRANCO HARRIS, Super Bowl Champions ELI and PEYTON MANNING, Pro Football Hall of Famer and Dallas Cowboys Legend ROGER STAUBACH (pictured top) and Pro Football Hall of Famer and San Diego Chargers Legend LADAINIAN TOMLINSON. A full list of past winners, which includes 28 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, can be found below.

“For the first time in NFL history, Man of the Year winners will come together on the NFL’s biggest stage,” said NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL. “The NFL is proud to host these remarkable leaders and recognize their impact on the community. From the family of the late Johnny Unitas to 2016 co-winners Larry Fitzgerald and Eli Manning, the most distinguished players on and off the field will share a platform in honor of their accomplishments.”

An exclusive event for past winners and their families will kick off the weekend on Thursday, Feb. 1 and celebrate the legacy that Man of the Year winners have left on the game and in their communities. To further advance the legacy of Man of the Year winners and create impact in their communities, the event will also serve as a fundraiser for the NFL Foundation. Funds raised will be distributed among both the NFL Foundation and the nonprofit organizations supported by the Men of the Year.

Considered the League’s most prestigious honor, 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. The 32 nominees for the 2017 award were announced last month. Three of the nominees will be selected as finalists for the national award, renamed in 1999 after Walter Payton. Finalists will be announced later this month.

The winner will be announced during NFL Honors, a two-hour primetime 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.

$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.

The Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year trophy silhouette began appearing in uniform elements this season 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 JASON WITTEN – will wear a Man of the Year patch on their jerseys in perpetuity to recognize their outstanding contributions to the game and to their communities. All 2017 nominees wore a Man of the Year helmet decal through the end of the season, in recognition of their accomplishments on and off the field. This tradition will continue for future nominees and winners of the award.

Earlier this season, the NFL announced the Super Bowl Ticket Giveaway, a new initiative to surprise fans across the country with an invitation to attend Super Bowl LII in Minnesota. A total of 500 free tickets will be distributed under the program as a way to give back to dedicated NFL fans and provide them with a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Each of the 2017 Man of the Year nominees received two Super Bowl LII tickets to give away to fans and community heroes.

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


2016Larry Fitzgerald

Eli Manning

Arizona Cardinals

New York Giants

2015Anquan BoldinSan Francisco 49ers
2014Thomas DavisCarolina Panthers
2013Charles TillmanChicago Bears
2012Jason WittenDallas Cowboys
2011Matt BirkBaltimore Ravens
2010Madieu WilliamsMinnesota Vikings
2009Brian WatersKansas City Chiefs
2008Kurt WarnerArizona Cardinals
2007Jason TaylorMiami Dolphins
2006LaDainian Tomlinson

Drew Brees

San Diego Chargers

New Orleans Saints

2005Peyton ManningIndianapolis Colts
2004Warrick DunnAtlanta Falcons
2003Will ShieldsKansas City Chiefs
2002Troy VincentPhiladelphia Eagles
2001Jerome BettisPittsburgh Steelers
2000Derrick Brooks

Jim Flanigan

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Green Bay Packers

1999Cris CarterMinnesota Vikings
1998Dan MarinoMiami Dolphins
1997Troy AikmanDallas Cowboys
1996Darrell GreenWashington Redskins
1995Boomer EsiasonNew York Jets
1994Junior SeauSan Diego Chargers
1993Derrick ThomasKansas City Chiefs
1992John ElwayDenver Broncos
1991Anthony MunozCincinnati Bengals
1990Mike SingletaryChicago Bears
1989Warren MoonHouston Oilers
1988Steve LargentSeattle Seahawks
1987Dave DuersonChicago Bears
1986Reggie WilliamsCincinnati Bengals
1985Dwight StephensonMiami Dolphins
1984Marty LyonsNew York Jets
1983Rolf BenirschkeSan Diego Chargers
1982Joe TheismannWashington Redskins
1981Lynn SwannPittsburgh Steelers
1980Harold CarmichaelPhiladelphia Eagles
1979Joe GreenePittsburgh Steelers
1978Roger StaubachDallas Cowboys
1977Walter PaytonChicago Bears
1976Franco HarrisPittsburgh Steelers
1975Ken AndersonCincinnati Bengals
1974George BlandaOakland Raiders
1973Len DawsonKansas City Chiefs
1972Willie LanierKansas City Chiefs
1971John HadlSan Diego Chargers
1970Johnny UnitasBaltimore Colts
1969 – Gladiator AwardBart StarrGreen Bay Packers


*The Gladiator Award was the precursor to the Man of the Year Award, which was established in 1970.

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Will Evans

CBS’s Editor-in-Chief and lead rugby league, union and cricket writer, Will is a Christchurch-based freelancer, also writing for Big League and Rugby League Review magazines, and The New Daily website. Will has written four rugby league books.

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