Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award

Walter Payton Man of the Year
Given for Excellence off the field regarding an NFL player's charity work.
Location Varies
Presented by National Football League
First award 1970 to Johnny Unitas
Most recent J.J. Watt

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. 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, Connie Payton (widow of Walter Payton), 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 $50,000 donation in his name to a charity of his choice. The other 31 finalists also receive donations in their name of $5,000 each to charities of their choice. The Chicago Bears and Kansas City Chiefs have had more winners of the award than any other team, with 5 winners each.

Each winner who is currently active in the league, beginning in Week 14 of the 2017 season, has a patch on their uniforms. The currently active winners are: Drew Brees, Thomas Davis, Larry Fitzgerald, Eli Manning, and J.J. Watt. The nominees of each team are given a helmet decal to wear for the remainder of the season.[1]


YearPlayerPositionTeam Ref
1970Johnny UnitasQuarterbackBaltimore Colts[2]
1971John HadlQuarterbackSan Diego Chargers[3]
1972Willie LanierLinebackerKansas City Chiefs
1973Len DawsonQuarterbackKansas City Chiefs
1974George BlandaQuarterbackOakland Raiders
1975Ken AndersonQuarterbackCincinnati Bengals
1976Franco HarrisRunning backPittsburgh Steelers
1977Walter PaytonRunning backChicago Bears
1978Roger StaubachQuarterbackDallas Cowboys
1979Joe GreeneDefensive TacklePittsburgh Steelers
1980Harold CarmichaelWide receiverPhiladelphia Eagles
1981Lynn SwannWide receiverPittsburgh Steelers
1982Joe TheismannQuarterbackWashington Redskins
1983Rolf BenirschkePlacekickerSan Diego Chargers
1984Marty LyonsDefensive tackleNew York Jets
1985Dwight StephensonCenterMiami Dolphins
1986Reggie WilliamsLinebackerCincinnati Bengals
1987Dave DuersonSafetyChicago Bears
1988Steve LargentWide receiverSeattle Seahawks
1989Warren MoonQuarterbackHouston Oilers
1990Mike SingletaryLinebackerChicago Bears
1991Anthony MuñozOffensive tackleCincinnati Bengals
1992John ElwayQuarterbackDenver Broncos
1993Derrick ThomasLinebackerKansas City Chiefs
1994Junior SeauLinebackerSan Diego Chargers
1995Boomer EsiasonQuarterbackNew York Jets
1996Darrell GreenCornerbackWashington Redskins
1997Troy AikmanQuarterbackDallas Cowboys
1998Dan MarinoQuarterbackMiami Dolphins
1999Cris CarterWide receiverMinnesota Vikings
2000Derrick BrooksLinebackerTampa Bay Buccaneers
Jim FlaniganDefensive tackleChicago Bears
2001Jerome BettisRunning backPittsburgh Steelers
2002Troy VincentCornerbackPhiladelphia Eagles
2003Will ShieldsGuardKansas City Chiefs
2004Warrick DunnRunning backAtlanta Falcons
2005Peyton ManningQuarterbackIndianapolis Colts
2006Drew BreesQuarterbackNew Orleans Saints
LaDainian TomlinsonRunning backSan Diego Chargers
2007Jason TaylorDefensive endMiami Dolphins
2008Kurt WarnerQuarterbackArizona Cardinals[4]
2009Brian WatersGuardKansas City Chiefs[5]
2010Madieu WilliamsSafetyMinnesota Vikings[6]
2011Matt BirkCenterBaltimore Ravens
2012Jason WittenTight endDallas Cowboys
2013Charles TillmanCornerbackChicago Bears
2014Thomas DavisLinebackerCarolina Panthers
2015Anquan BoldinWide receiverSan Francisco 49ers[7]
2016Larry FitzgeraldWide receiverArizona Cardinals[8]
Eli ManningQuarterbackNew York Giants[8]
2017J. J. WattDefensive endHouston Texans

See also


  2. "Johnny Unitas NFL & AFL Statistics". Pro Football Reference. Sports Reference, LLC. Retrieved February 7, 2011.
  3. "John Hadl NFL & AFL Statistics". Pro Football Reference. Sports Reference, LLC. Retrieved February 7, 2011.
  4. "Warner named Payton award winner". United Press International. February 1, 2009. Retrieved February 7, 2011.
  5. "Brian Waters named NFL Man of the Year". United Press International. February 7, 2010. Retrieved February 7, 2011.
  6. Gardner, Tim (February 6, 2011). "Vikings' Madieu Williams named Walter Payton Man of the Year". USA Today. Retrieved February 7, 2011.
  7. Hagemann, Andie (February 6, 2016). "Anquan Boldin named Walter Payton Man of the Year". Retrieved February 7, 2016.
  8. 1 2 "Fitzgerald, Eli both named Walter Payton Man of Year". February 4, 2017.
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