The NFL today announced Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver VINCENT JACKSON among the 32 players who have been named their team's Man of the Year. Representing the best of the NFL's commitment to philanthropy and community impact, these players are now eligible to win the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award presented by Nationwide. The Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award recognizes a player for his excellence on and off the field. The award, which was established in 1970 and renamed in 1999 after the late Hall of Fame Chicago Bears running back, Walter Payton, is among the league's most prestigious honors. Each team nominates one player who has had a significant positive impact on his community to be considered for the national award.
As one of the 32 team nominees, Jackson will receive a $50,000 donation to the Jackson In Action 83 Foundation and an additional $50,000 donation in his name to implement the league's Character Playbook initiative in the Tampa Bay market. Character Playbook, launched in April at the NFL Draft, is a national education initiative focused on youth character development and healthy relationships. This interactive digital program uses evidence-based strategies to educate students on how to cultivate and maintain healthy relationships during their critical middle school years with a focus on positive character development and social-emotional learning. Donations will be courtesy of the NFL Foundation, Nationwide and United Way Worldwide.
Three of the 32 nominees will be selected as finalists, and the winner will be announced in Houston at NFL Honors, a two-hour primetime awards special to air nationally on February 4, the night before Super Bowl LI, from 8-10 p.m. (ET and PT) on FOX.
A total of $1 million will be donated in the name of the 2016 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, with $500,000 going to a charity of his choice and $500,000 supporting the expansion of Character Playbook *across all NFL markets. The two finalists will each receive a $125,000 donation to the charity of their choice and a $125,000 donation in their names to expand *Character Playbook.
The finalists and overall winner will be selected by a panel of judges comprised of Connie Payton, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, national writers Christine Brennan and Peter King, former Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year winner LaDainian Tomlinson, 2015 award recipient, Anquan Boldin, and representatives from presenting sponsor Nationwide, United Way and the NFL's broadcast partners, including CBS, ESPN, FOX and NBC.
"We're proud to honor these outstanding men who represent the NFL's best on and off the field," said NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL. "Our players have a unique platform to make a difference far beyond the field of play. We salute these individuals who are exemplary in their commitment to making a positive impact in communities across the globe through their dedicated service and philanthropic efforts."
In addition, Nationwide will host the second annual* Charity Challenge*. Team nominees each have a unique hashtag and fans are encouraged to tweet using specific player hashtags. Buccaneers fans are encouraged to use the unique hashtags #JacksonWPMOYChallenge and #WPMOYChallenge. The player hashtag that generates the most mentions will win a $25,000 donation from Nationwide to the charity of Jackson's choice.
*ABOUT VINCENT JACKSON
*Since joining the Buccaneers in 2012, Jackson has become an unquestioned leader in Tampa Bay. Voted a team captain all five years, the three-time Pro Bowler quickly ascended the franchise receiving ranks and set the example for teammates to follow on the football field. Off the field, the now four-time Buccaneers Man of the Year, as well as a four-time nominee and 2016 winner of the NFL's Salute to Service Award, Jackson has not only embraced his role as a league ambassador for military appreciation, but he has continued to find new and innovative ways to connect with those whose path he's walked. Simply put, it has become part of his identity.
Over the last two years, he and his wife Lindsey have put pen to paper for a unique and impactful project that not only serves as an outlet for the challenges Vincent faced as a military child, but as a vehicle to support the lives of a younger generation enduring the same experiences. Vincent and Lindsey have now published two children's books that feature a character named "Danny Dogtags," a young boy whose father serves in the military. Danny Dogtags: Dealing with Deployment, officially hit bookshelves in 2014 to rave reviews from children and families in Tampa Bay and beyond. In July 2016, Danny Dogtags: Soccer Superhero was released and sold out during its online presale period. These books are two in a three-book series that center on the Jackson in Action 83 Foundation's principles of providing support for the emotional, educational, and physical health of military children. The third and final book will be published in 2017.
One of Jackson's most popular initiatives is one that showcases the softer side of the 6-5, 230-pound receiver. In July 2016, Jackson hosted the Third Annual Military Moms Baby Shower for 40 expecting or recently delivered military moms from MacDill Air Force Base and Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater. The event has grown exponentially over three years, and this year, Jackson and his wife surprised each military family with more than $2,100 in merchandise, including a stroller, car seat, playard, home security system, and more. Another almost five thousand dollars in additional gifts and prizes were raffled off or given away, leading to a total of approximately $90,000 in items provided to young military families to help them care for their baby. Many military families in Tampa are stationed far away from friends and loved ones who can throw them a baby shower and provide that support system that's so desperately needed during the birth of a baby. The foundation strives to be that support and provide not only necessary items, but also a way for young military families who are experiencing the same life changes to meet one another and become each other's support system while stationed in Tampa Bay.
Jackson and the Jackson in Action 83 Foundation host numerous other programs that take place throughout the year. This past June, Jackson once again welcomed 150 military children to One Buc Place for the Fourth Annual Youth in Action Camp. At the camp, children enjoyed playing games and meeting Vincent, but the highlight was Vincent's motivational talk to remind the children of ways they can help at home when a parent is deployed or another family move is on the horizon. The Salute to Reading Program launched year four in 2016, inspiring local youths to achieve reading goals with the prize of Buccaneers facility tours and a year-end celebration hosted by Jackson. The reading program motivates hundreds of students annually and runs through three Tampa elementary schools that house the largest population of military children. For the fifth year in a row, the Jackson in Action Front Row Fanssection at Raymond James Stadium has provided a special gameday experience for dozens of local military families at each Buccaneers home game. And through the Salute to Scholars program, two $2,500 scholarships, one at Jackson's alma mater in Colorado Springs and one in the Tampa Bay area, are awarded to a military dependent entering college.
Since 2012, Jackson and the foundation have supported military children and families in many other ways. The foundation hosted the Military Resource and Employment Symposium, presented by USAA, at the Florida State Fairgrounds in November 2015. The one-day event provided veterans and military families with career opportunities, educational assistance, and resources necessary to aid their transition from military to civilian life. The event included a career fair, a resource fair, and speaking sessions from professionals in their field related to topics important to veterans and military members, with the goal of providing at least 1,000 military members and their families with information on career opportunities and resources. The 2014 Back to School Supply Drop geared 150 children at MacDill Air Force Base with new backpacks full of school supplies. In 2014, the Military Family Home Makeoverprovided the home of Technical Sergeant Jessica Fleurimond with a beautiful interior redesign in time for Veterans' Day. Also in 2014, dozens of children with a deployed parent joined Jackson at his Fall Festival for a fun-filled day of hayrides, animal encounters, games, and lunch at Old McMicky's Farm. The Santa Socialevent, which debuted in 2014 and is taking place again in December 2016, offers a special holiday party for young military families, including an afternoon with Jackson and Santa, arts and crafts, holiday snacks, and entertainment.
Through the Jackson in Action 83 Foundation and its many programs for military children and families, there is no questioning Jackson's commitment to using his platform for a greater good. In fewer than four years after moving to Tampa, his impact has been felt in all corners of the Bay area community – a community that now proudly calls him one of their own.
For more information on all 32 team nominees and the award, visit www.NFL.com/manoftheyear.
Below is a list of recent Buccaneers Man of the Year winners, dating back to 2000:
2016 WR Vincent Jackson
2015 WR Vincent Jackson
2014 WR Vincent Jackson
2013 WR Vincent Jackson
2012 G Davin Joseph
2011 G Davin Joseph
2010 LB Adam Hayward
2009 RB Clifton Smith
2008 QB Jeff Garcia
2007 K Matt Bryant
2006 CB Ronde Barber
2005 LB Ryan Nece
2004 LB Shelton Quarles
2003 S John Lynch
2002 S John Lynch
2001 S John Lynch
2000 LB Derrick Brooks (NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year Award winner)