|Walter Payton Man of the Year|
|Awarded for||Excellence off the field regarding an NFL player's charity work|
|Presented by||National Football League|
|First award||1970 to Johnny Unitas|
|Most recent||Russell Wilson|
The Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award is presented annually by the National Football League (NFL) honoring a player's volunteer and charity work, as well as his excellence on the field. Prior to 1999, it was called simply the NFL Man of the Year Award. Shortly after Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton died (having been the 1977 recipient himself), the award was renamed to honor his legacy as a humanitarian.
The Man of the Year trophy was created in 1969 by artist Daniel Bennett Schwartz, depicting a caped lineman modeled after offensive tackle Steve Wright, who had played for the Green Bay Packers during their Super Bowl I and Super Bowl II championships. Despite the award being renamed in 1999, the trophy has never been modified to depict Payton instead of Wright.
Each year, a winner is selected from 32 nominees from the 32 different teams. A panel of judges, which includes the Commissioner of the NFL, the previous year's winner, and a number of former players select the winner of the award. The Man of the Year winner receives a $250,000 donation in his name to a charity of his choice. The other 31 finalists also receive donations in their name of $50,000 each to charities of their choice. The Kansas City Chiefs and Chicago Bears have had more winners of the award than any other teams, with 5 winners each. The Steelers and Chargers franchise are the next highest teams with 4 winners each.
Since 2017, previous winners who are currently active in the league wear a patch depicting the trophy on their uniforms for the rest of their NFL careers. The current active winners (in chronological order) are Larry Fitzgerald, J.J. Watt, Calais Campbell, and Russell Wilson. Once announced, the nominees of each team are given a helmet decal, also depicting the trophy, to wear for the remainder of the season. The winner is also acknowledged during the Super Bowl pre-game ceremony before "America the Beautiful" and "The Star-Spangled Banner".
The NFL describes the award as its "most prestigious accolade".
|Player is still active in the NFL|
- Walter Camp Man of the Year
- Walter Camp Distinguished American Award
- Walter Camp Alumni of the Year
- Amos Alonzo Stagg Award
- National Football Foundation Distinguished American Award
- National Football Foundation Gold Medal Winners
- Theodore Roosevelt Award
- "Whizzer" White NFL Man of the Year Award
- Athletes in Action/Bart Starr Award
- Laureus Sport for Good Award
- "Previous Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year winners" (PDF). National Football League. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
- Callahan, Sean (February 1, 2013). "The Model for a Tribute to Model Players". The New York Times. Retrieved December 13, 2020.
- "NFL reveals nominees for Walter Payton Man of the Year Award". NFL.com. December 7, 2017.
- "Seahawks QB Russell Wilson named 2020 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year". NFL.com. Retrieved February 9, 2021.
- "Johnny Unitas NFL & AFL Statistics". Pro Football Reference. Sports Reference, LLC. Retrieved February 7, 2011.
- "John Hadl NFL & AFL Statistics". Pro Football Reference. Sports Reference, LLC. Retrieved February 7, 2011.
- "Warner named Payton award winner". United Press International. February 1, 2009. Retrieved February 7, 2011.
- "Brian Waters named NFL Man of the Year". United Press International. February 7, 2010. Retrieved February 7, 2011.
- Gardner, Tim (February 6, 2011). "Vikings' Madieu Williams named Walter Payton Man of the Year". USA Today. Retrieved February 7, 2011.
- Hagemann, Andie (February 6, 2016). "Anquan Boldin named Walter Payton Man of the Year". NFL.com. Retrieved February 7, 2016.
- "Fitzgerald, Eli both named Walter Payton Man of Year". NFL.com. February 4, 2017.
- Bergman, Jeremy (February 2, 2019). "Chris Long named Walter Payton Man of the Year". NFL.com. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
- "Calais Campbell named 2019 Walter Payton NFL Man of Year". NFL.com. February 12, 2020. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
- Gordon, Grant (February 6, 2021). "Seahawks QB Russell Wilson named 2020 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year". NFL.com. Retrieved February 6, 2021.