The NFL announced the 32 nominees for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award presented by Nationwide on Thursday. 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.
Three of the nominees will be selected as finalists for the national award, renamed in 1999 after the late Hall of FameChicago Bears running back Walter Payton. Finalists will be announced in January 2018.
The winner will be announced during NFL Honors, a two-hour prime-time 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.
"NFL players are outstanding, generous men of character who give back to their communities," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. "Walter Payton represented the very best on and off the field and this year's Man of the Year nominees exemplify his legacy of philanthropy and leadership. We are proud to support players as they use their platforms to drive positive change."
$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.
Starting tonight in the Saints-Falcons Thursday Night Football game, the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year trophy silhouette will appear 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 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 will wear 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 Man of the Year nominee will receive two Super Bowl LII tickets to give away to fans and community heroes.
2017 WALTER PAYTON NFL MAN OF THE YEAR NOMINEES
Arizona Cardinals: Patrick Peterson
Atlanta Falcons: Ben Garland
Baltimore Ravens: Benjamin Watson
Buffalo Bills: Lorenzo Alexander
Carolina Panthers: Greg Olsen
Chicago Bears: Sam Acho
Cincinnati Bengals: Michael Johnson
Cleveland Browns: Randall Telfer
Dallas Cowboys: Travis Frederick
Detroit Lions: Haloti Ngata
Green Bay Packers: Clay Matthews
Houston Texans: J.J. Watt
Indianapolis Colts: Darius Butler
Jacksonville Jaguars: Malik Jackson
Kansas City Chiefs: Alex Smith
Los Angeles Chargers: Casey Hayward
Los Angeles Rams: Rodger Saffold
Miami Dolphins: Kenny Stills
Minnesota Vikings: Kyle Rudolph
New England Patriots: Nate Solder
New Orleans Saints: Cameron Jordan
New York Giants: Mark Herzlich
New York Jets: Quincy Enunwa
Oakland Raiders: Bruce Irvin
Philadelphia Eagles: Malcolm Jenkins
Pittsburgh Steelers: Cameron Heyward
San Francisco 49ers: Bradley Pinion
Seattle Seahawks: Michael Bennett
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Clinton McDonald
Tennessee Titans: Wesley Woodyard
Washington Redskins: Nick Sundberg