For those who do not know about this award, we hardly believe that there is an NFL fan that doesn’t know, but anything is possible, the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year is presented annually to honor two things at a player – his volunteer and charity work as well as his excellence on the field. At first, this was simply called the NFL Man of the Year Award, and it remained like that until 1999. In 1999 the NFL lost a huge man and a player Walter Payton who was (besides the 1977 recipient of the award himself) a great humanitarian. To honor that fact, the awards name was changed in order to ensure that the legacy behind Payton remains.
The award works like this – each year a winner is selected from 32 nominees from the 32 different teams in the league, and the ruling is brought by a panel of judges. That includes the League’s Commissioner, Connie Payton (the widow), the previous year’s winner, and a number of former players. This year, as it was pointed out in the title, Cowboys’ center Travis Frederick made it as one of the 32 nominees for the 2017 award, and this was announced by the League on Thursday. Now there is a voting and elimination process which will lead to only three finalists that will be selected in January, while the award winner will be announced at NFL Honors on February 3rd, the eve of Super Bowl LII.
Dallas center Frederick who was a three-time Pro Bowl selection, and he made it to his first All-Pro team just last season. This guy is a true humanitarian, and his foundation called Blocking Out Hunger is responsible for enormous support to the low-income children in the Dallas area who struggle with hunger. If Frederick is voted as the winner, his reward will be a $250,000 donation that will go to the charity of his choice and another $250,000 which will be donated in his name to expand Character Playbook. The Character Playbook (sponsored by the NFL, United Way and Verizon), to those who haven’t been up to speed, is a digital learning initiative started by the NFL and United Way. It basically revolves around teaching students how to build character and maintain healthy relationships throughout their lives. All of these donations we mentioned are courtesy of the NFL Foundation, Nationwide and United Way Worldwide.