The NFL announced its 32 finalists for this year’s NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year. Every team has a player honored. This year for the Cardinals it's cornerback Patrick Peterson.
It is the second time Peterson has been honored with the award at the team level. He also received the honors in 2015.
The award recognizes an NFL player for outstanding community service activities off the field as well as excellence on the field. Peterson will receive a $50,000 donation to the charity of his choice and an additional $50,000 donation in his name to expand the United Way Character Playbook program in Arizona. As a nominee, Peterson also received two Super Bowl XLII tickets to give away to community heroes.
Peterson is one of 32 NFL “Man of the Year” recipients to qualify for the league’s national 2017 “Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year” award. Three of the nominees will be selected as finalists and the winner will be announced in Minneapolis at NFL Honors, a two-hour primetime awards special to air nationally on NBC on February 3, the night before Super Bowl LII. The winner will receive a $250,000 donation to the charity of his choice and a $250,000 donation in their name to expand Character Playbook across the country.
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As part of a new element implemented this year, Peterson and all of the other “Man of the Year” nominees will receive a helmet decal to wear beginning this weekend through the end of the season to recognize their accomplishments on and off the field. Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and the other four current players (Drew Brees, Thomas Davis, Eli Manning and Jason Witten) who have previously been named the national “Man of the Year” will wear a “Man of the Year” patch on their jerseys in perpetuity to recognize their outstanding contributions to the game and community.
Peterson created his “Foundation for Success” in 2013 which aims to provide low-income and inner city youth with opportunities and resources to reach their full potential. He hosts an annual “Shop with a Jock” event each year at Walmart for 50 low-income and at-risk inner city families. Peterson has also hosted “Celebrity Golf Challenge” events at Topgolf in Arizona and has his annual “Show and Tell” car shows each April to benefit his foundation. He also hosts an annual “Celebs and Steaks” fundraising event and his annual “Patrick Peterson Celebrity Golf Tournament” each spring to benefit his foundation.
This past Thanksgiving, Peterson hosted his first “Thanksgiving Giveaway” where he partnered with the United Food Bank of Arizona to provide Thanksgiving meals to 221 Arizona families.
Last May, Peterson along with his wife, Antonique, visited Haiti as guests of Mission of Hope. They visited schools, helped children read and write, and played soccer and kickball. The pair visited villages without clean water, so they took part in trips to local spring wells to collect fresh water for the affected areas.
In January of 2015, Peterson unveiled the first “Patrick’s Corner” of his foundation for students and families at Nevitt Elementary School in Phoenix. “Patrick’s Corner” provides access to books and a safe environment to read with friends and family for at-risk students. Peterson has already opened 12 ‘Patrick’s Corners” in Arizona with plans to open more in the future.
In collaboration with “Patrick’s Corner,” Peterson also launched the “Pick Up a Book” initiative within the Phoenix community which is designed to bring families, schools and communities together to support children’s literacy development. The program works to help families foster the skills, attitudes and behaviors that support children’s literacy development while helping schools engage families through fun, literacy-based events and better preparing children for reading and learning.
His commitment to helping people doesn’t exist only in Arizona. When devastating floods ravaged Baton Rouge, LA last year, Peterson and his fellow LSU and current Cardinals teammate Tyrann Mathieu stepped up to help out. They joined forces and purchased school supplies and clothing for 700 children, including 100 kids from the Boys & Girls Club of Baton Rouge. In addition, Peterson helped raise over $40,000 for the Baton Rouge Area Foundation through a fantasy football-based charity tournament with the winners getting the opportunity to attend the LSU-Alabama game as Peterson’s guests.
In addition to his foundation work, Peterson is also very active at Cardinals team community events. He visited Boys Hope Girls Hope for the team’s annual Christmas party last December. Boys Hope Girls Hope helps academically capable and motivated children by providing family like homes, opportunities and education through college. This past week, he also visited families at the Chandler Regional Hospital birth center to congratulate new parents and hand out Cardinals teddy bears.