Every year since 1970, the NFL has awarded one NFL player with a prestigious award known as the Man of the Year. Each team nominates one player, and then a panel of judges consisting of the NFL Commissioner, Connie Payton (Walter's widow), and NFL players, cast their votes to see who will be the winner.
In 1999, the name was changed from Man of the Year to Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, in honor of the man himself.
The award recognizes performance both on the field, as well as off the field, and this year, the Chicago Bears have nominated running back Matt Forte for this great honor.
You can read more about Forte's nomination HERE, but a quick excerpt:
Matt Forte founded The Matt Forte 'What's Your Forte?' Foundation in 2013 to empower at-risk Chicago-area youth striving to achieve their dreams of higher education by providing mentoring, counseling, tutoring and academic scholarships. It is Matt's mission to help youth meet their full potential.
This summer, Matt hosted his third annual Matt Forte Football ProCamp. Matt has also hosted various mentoring dinners and camps in prior years, both in Chicago and his hometown, Slidell, La. In preparation for the upcoming school year, the Matt Forte "What's Your Forte?" Foundation hosted its inaugural "Back to School 'Kicks' and Backpack Giveaway." Matt provided more than 200 kids with backpacks, school supplies, tennis shoes and other clothing items. Matt understands that the families of many Chicago-area youth are unable to provide their children with "back-to-school" clothing items. Filling this void helps remove the stigma that children face upon returning to school each year, allowing them to focus on academics and not individual appearances. The foundation additionally has a turkey giveaway planned for Thanksgiving.
Forte has also been selected as the team's Brian Piccolo Award winner both as a rookie, as well as this past year as the veteran recipient.
Previous Chicago Bears players to win the overall award include:
- 1977, Walter Payton
- 1987, Dave Duerson
- 1990, Mike Singletary
- 2000, Jim Flannigan
- 2013, Charles Tillman
The Bears are tied with the Chiefs for most MOY winners at five.
Congratulations to Matt on this award nomination, and good luck when the votes are cast!