The NFL announced today the 32 nominees for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award presented by Nationwide. 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. First established in 1970, the national award was renamed in 1999 after the late Hall of FameChicago Bears running back Walter Payton.
"The Man of the Year Award gives us the opportunity to acknowledge 32 exemplary players whose commitment to excellence extends on and off the field," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. "This year's nominees have used their platforms to transform communities across the country. We are proud of their work and celebrate their dedication and impact through this award."
New this year, all 32 team winners will be highlighted as finalists and recognized for their important work during the weekend leading up to Super Bowl LIII. The 2018 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year will be announced during NFL Honors, a two-hour prime-time awards special to air nationally on Feb. 2, the eve of Super Bowl LIII, on CBS. NFL Honors will be at Fox Theatre in Atlanta.
$500,000 will be donated in the name of the 2018 winner. $250,000 will be donated in his name to expand Character Playbook, the NFL and United Way's digital character education program. An additional donation of $250,000 will be donated to the charity of his choice. All other 31 nominees will receive a donation of $50,000 in their name to expand Character Playbook, and an additional donation of up to $50,000 to their charity of choice. All donations are courtesy of the NFL Foundation, Nationwide and United Way Worldwide.
"Nationwide is honored to help highlight and support the incredible efforts of this year's team nominees," said Nationwide's Chief Marketing Officer Terrance Williams. "We hope others are inspired by these 32 men to make positive differences -- big and small -- in their own communities. Congratulations and thank you to each of the nominees for their leadership both on and off the field."
Fans are encouraged to participate in Nationwide's fourth annual Charity Challenge, a social media campaign designed to support and promote team nominees. Fans can vote by using #WPMOYChallenge on Twitter with their favorite nominee's last name somewhere in the post between Dec. 6 and Jan. 13. The player whose unique hashtag is used the most will receive a $25,000 contribution to their charity of choice, courtesy of Nationwide. Hashtag information and official rules can be found at nfl.com/manoftheyear.
Beginning in 2017, the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year trophy silhouette came to life 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 J.J. Watt -- continue to wear a Man of the Year patch on their jerseys to recognize their outstanding contributions to the game and to their communities. All 2018 nominees will wear a Man of the Year helmet decal beginning Week 14 and continuing through the end of the season in recognition of their accomplishments on and off the field.
The NFL will also continue to surprise fans across the country with invitations to attend Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta. A total of 500 free tickets will be distributed 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 LIII tickets to give away to community recipients of their choice.
Below is the list of the 2018 nominees: