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Eli Manning named co-winner of Walter Payton Man of the Year Award

Posted Feb 4, 2017

Giants QB Eli Manning was named one of the NFL's Man of the Year winners at the 2017 NFL Honors Saturday night in Houston:


HOUSTON - Eli Manning set another precedent for the Giants franchise Saturday night.

Manning, the two-time Super Bowl champion and MVP who has set almost all of the team’s passing records in his 13 seasons as the team’s quarterback, was named a co-winner – with Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald - of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year at the Sixth Annual NFL Honors awards show here. Manning is the first Giants player to receive the award in its 47-year history.

The award, presented by Nationwide, recognizes NFL players for excellence on and off the field. It was established in 1970, and renamed in 1999 after the late Hall of Fame Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton.

“This is very special,” Manning said. “To be mentioned in the same sentence with Walter Payton and to see the amount of people that we’ve helped with the great work we’ve done over the years with my family, and for that to have grown as much as it has and be recognized for this award, is special.”

>> READ: TWO FORMER GIANTS TO HOF

“The Walter Payton Man of the Year Award is our highest honor,” NFL Commission Roger Goodell said.

The award was presented by Kurt Warner, a former teammate of both Manning and Fitzgerald. Warner is the 2008 Man of the Year and one of the seven new members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Manning and Fitzgerald were the first and third overall selections in the 2004 NFL Draft. Manning was drafted by the San Diego Chargers and quickly traded to the Giants. Both players have spent their entire careers with one team.

“I told Larry earlier this week, the last time we were up for up for an award together was the 2003 Heisman Trophy – and it didn’t go well for either us that night (because Oklahoma’s Jason White won the award),” Manning said. “To come up here 13 years later, and be up for an award, and for both of us to win it, is very special.”

Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen was the third finalist this year.

Manning was also named the Giants’ Man of the Year in 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015. He was one of the three finalists for the Man of the Year award in 2015, when the award went to wide receiver Anquan Boldin.

This is the third time the award has been split. It last happened in 2005, when, ironically, one of the recipients was Manning’s older brother Peyton, who shared the award with fellow quarterback Drew Brees. Peyton Manning retired after winning his second Super Bowl last year.

“I knew no Giants player had won this award,” Manning said. “I’m very happy to represent the New York Giants and (vice president of community and corporate relations) Allison Stangeby and all the people who have helped me in my charitable work to be recognized and be part of the fraternity of the Walter Payton Man of the Year winners is very special. To be up there with those 10 guys today – Kurt Warner, who’s going into the Hall of Fame and an old teammate, and my brother, I know how special it is to him when he won that. It all makes it that much more special.”

>> READ: GIANTS DRAFT NEEDS AND OPTIONS

In addition to Manning, Giants in attendance at NFL Honors included current players Landon Collins, Odell Beckham Jr. and Victor Cruz, and Hall of Fame linebacker Harry Carson. Collins was one of the three finalists for Defensive Player of the Year. The award went to Oakland's Khalil Mack. Beckham was one of the presenters for the Offensive Rookie of the Year, an award he won in 2014. The winner was Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott.

Because Manning was selected as the Walter Payton Man of the Year, a total of $1 million will be donated to worthy causes in his name, including $500,000 to a charity of his choice and $500,000 supporting the expansion of Character Playbook across all NFL markets. Donations are courtesy of the NFL Foundation, Nationwide and United Way Worldwide.

The Character Playbook, the NFL’s newest charitable initiative, was launched last spring and focuses on helping youth develop healthy relationships and great character.




Manning has been one of the Giants’ – and the NFL’s – most active players in the community since his rookie season in 2004. Winning the Man of the Year Award should help Manning do even more in the community, by inspiring others to participate in his good works.
 
“That’s the hope,” Manning said. “That’s why you don’t mind being recognized for your work. You don’t help people to get awards. But when it’s an opportunity to raise more awareness for your charities, and possibly raise more money, which will possibly lead to healing more kids, helping more people, that’s really why this award is so special. I definitely think because of it we’ll be able to help more people, and that’s a great thing.”
 
Championing causes that involve children has always been a priority for Manning, and that goal has intensified now that he is the father of three young daughters.

Manning is a fervent champion for causes involving children. He has served as the Chair of the New York March for Babies for the past eight years, joining thousands of New Yorkers in the walk in support of March of Dimes. Providing additional access for top sponsors, engaging donors and raising awareness of the organization's platform, Manning’s efforts with March for Babies helped raise more than $25 million over the past seven years.

When he realized the state of Mississippi – where he attended college and still owns a home – had only one children's hospital - Manning and his wife founded the Eli and Abby Manning Children's Clinics in 2007. They kicked off a five-year fundraising campaign that raised approximately $3 million. The clinics are located at the Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children in Jackson, Miss., the only hospital in the state devoted exclusively to the care and treatment of sick and injured youngsters. More than 150,000 children from the state's 82 counties come to Children's Hospital each year. Eli and Abby also created the Manning Family Fund for a Healthier Missisippi, which received close to $1.5 million in its first year in 2015.

Manning serves as a member of the American Red Cross' Celebrity Cabinet, urging people to perform extraordinary life-saving acts in dire circumstances through the assistance of the Red Cross. He has long supported Guiding Eyes for the Blind, an internationally accredited, nonprofit guide dog school with a 50-plus year legacy of providing the blind and visually impaired with superior Guiding Eyes dogs, training, and lifetime support services. He annually attends their golf classic and dinner fundraiser. Eli serves as an ambassador of reading, along with his father Archie and brother Peyton, for Scholastic's ClassroomsCare program, a reading initiative that gets kids to read to help kids in need and ultimately will lead to 1 million donated books.

He supports the Make A Wish Foundation and has granted wishes on a yearly basis, hosting wish kids and their families at practices and games. Eli has  been a leader in supporting the National Football League and American Heart Association's campaign, PLAY60, a national youth movement and awareness initiative designed to promote physical fitness and healthy living to an increasingly inactive generation of children

His most significant new endeavor is spearheading “Tackle Kids' Cancer,” an initiative with Hackensack University Medical Center. Prior to kicking off an extensive media campaign to raise awareness of this cause, Manning spent time with patients and doctors at the hospital's pediatric cancer center, learning more about the greatest needs in cancer research.

In accepting the Man of the Year award , Manning said:

“As a player in the NFL, we have a global platform to play a game we love and influence an untold number of people. We have a unique opportunity to make a difference. However, the public doesn’t often hear our response to that call. So I’m really proud of the NFL, and Nationwide, for highlighting the great work that so many players are doing in their communities for people in need.

“Because of the example of Walter Payton, and how (his widow) Connie, (children) Jarrett and Brittney have perpetuated his legacy, 32 players were nominated by their teams for their efforts to better their respective communities and impact vulnerable people. Thank you to the Payton family for your consistent leadership. I want to thank the New York Giants, Allison Stangeby, and the Mara and Tisch families for their support and encouragement in reaching my charitable goals.

“My commitment is to help sick kids. Their struggle isn’t easy, but their spirit, their laugh, their smile, and their belief that everything will be okay continually amazes me, and hurts me at the same time.  If we and the NFL and others in our communities commit to step in, we can lessen that struggle, ease that hurt, spark that hope. I challenge everyone here to help some person in need. You choose. But go out of your way to make a difference in someone’s life. I promise you, it’s worth it.”


By Michael Eisen

HOUSTON - Eli Manning set another precedent for the Giants franchise Saturday night.

Manning, the two-time Super Bowl who has set almost all of the team’s passing records in his 13 seasons as the team’s quarterback, was named a co-winner – with Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald - of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year at the Sixth Annual NFL Honors awards show here. He is the first Giants player to receive the award in its 47-year history.

The award, presented by Nationwide, recognizes an NFL player for excellence on and off the field. It was established in 1970, and renamed in 1999 after the late Hall of Fame Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton.

“This is very special,” Manning said. “To be mentioned in the same sentence with Walter Payton and to see the amount of people that we’ve helped with the great work we’ve done over the years with my family, and for that to have grown as much as it has and be recognized for this award, is special.”

“The Walter Payton Man of the Year Award is our highest honor,” NFL Commission Roger Goodell said.

The award was presented by Kurt Warner, a former teammate of both Manning and Fitzgerald, the 2008 Man of the Year, and one of the seven new members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Manning and Fitzgerald were the first and third overall selections in the 2004 NFL Draft. Manning was drafted by the San Diego Chargers and quickly traded to the Giants. Both players have spent their entire careers with one team.

“I told Larry earlier this week, he last time we were up for up for an award together was the 2003 Heisman Trophy – and it didn’t go well for either us that night (because Oklahoma’s Jason White won the award),” Manning said. “To come up here 13 years later, and be up for an award, and for both of us to win it, is very special.”

Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen was the third finalist this year.

Manning was also named the Giants’ Man of the Year in 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2014, and 2015. He was one of the three finalists for the NFL Man of the Year in 2015, when the award went to wide receiver Anquan Boldin.

This is the third time the award has been split. It last happened in 2005, when, ironically, one of the recipients was Manning’s older brother Peyton, who shared the award with fellow quarterback Drew Brees. Peyton Manning retired after winning his second Super Bowl last year.

“I knew no Giants player had won this award,” Manning said. “I’m very happy to represent the New York Giants and (vice president of community and corporate relations) Allison Stangeby and all the people who have helped me in my charitable work to be recognized, and be part of the fraternity of the Walter Payton Man of the Year winners, is very special. To be up there with those 10 guys today – Kurt Warner, who’s going into the Hall of Fame and an old teammate, and my brother, I know how special it is to him when he won that. It all makes it that much more special.”

In addition to Manning, Giants in attendance at NFL Honors included current players Landon Collins, Odell Beckham Jr., and Victor Cruz, and Hall of Fame linebacker Harry Carson. Collins was one of the three finalists for Defensive Player of the Year. The award went to Oakland’s Khalil Mack. Beckham was one of the presenters for the Offensive Rookie of the Year, an award he won in 2014. The winner was Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott.
Because Manning was selected as the Walter Payton Man of the Year, a total of $1 million will be donated to worthy causes in his name, including $500,000 to a charity of his choice and $500,000 supporting the expansion of Character Playbook across all NFL markets. The two runners-up – Fitzgerald and Olsen - 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 other 29 team finalists received a $50,000 donation to both a charity of their choice and to expand Character Playbook. Donations are courtesy of the NFL Foundation, Nationwide and United Way Worldwide.
The Character Playbook, the NFL’s newest charitable initiative, was launched last spring and focuses on helping youth develop healthy relationships and great character.

Manning has been one of the Giants’ – and the NFL’s – most active players in the community since his rookie season in 2004. Winning the Man of the Year Award should help Manning do even more in the community, by inspiring others to participate in his good works.
 
“That’s the hope,” Manning said. “That’s why you don’t mind being recognized for your work. You don’t help people to get awards. But when it’s an opportunity to raise more awareness for your charities, and possibly raise more money, which will possibly lead to healing more kids, helping more people, that’s really why this award is so special. I definitely think because of it we’ll be able to help more people, and that’s a great thing.”
 
Championing causes that involve children has always been a priority for Manning, and that goal has intensified now that he is the father of three young daughters.

A father of three daughters, Manning is a fervent champion for causes involving children. He has served as the Chair of the New York March for Babies for the past eight years, joining thousands of New Yorkers in the walk in support of March of Dimes. Providing additional access for top sponsors, engaging donors and raising awareness of the organization's platform, Manning’s efforts with March for Babies helped raise more than $25 million over the past seven years.

When he realized the state of Mississippi – where he attended college and still owns a home – had only one children's hospital - Manning and his wife founded the Eli and Abby Manning Children's Clinics in 2007. They kicked off a five-year fundraising campaign that raised approximately $3 million in five years. The clinics are located at the Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children in Jackson, Miss., the only hospital in the state devoted exclusively to the care and treatment of sick and injured youngsters. More than 150,000 children from the state's 82 counties come to Children's Hospital each year. Eli and Abby also created the Manning Family Fund for a Healthier Missisippi, which received close to $1.5 million in its first year in 2015.

Manning serves as a member of the American Red Cross' Celebrity Cabinet, urging people to perform extraordinary life-saving acts in dire circumstances through the assistance of the Red Cross…Has long supported Guiding Eyes for the Blind, an internationally accredited, nonprofit guide dog school with a 50-plus year legacy of providing the blind and visually impaired with superior Guiding Eyes dogs, training, and lifetime support services. He annually attends their golf classic and dinner fundraiser…Serves as an ambassador of reading, along with his father Archie and brother Peyton, for Scholastic's ClassroomsCare program, a reading initiative that gets kids to read to help kids in need and ultimately, will lead to 1 million donated books…Every summer, along with his father Archie and brothers Cooper and Peyton, Eli helps operate the Manning Passing Academy, a summer camp for high school quarterbacks and receivers…Supports the Make A Wish Foundation and has granted wishes on a yearly basis, hosting wish kids and their families at practices and games…Eli has  been a leader in supporting the National Football League and American Heart Association's campaign, PLAY60, a national youth movement and awareness initiative designed to promote physical fitness and healthy living to an increasingly inactive generation of children

His most significant new endeavor is spearheading “Tackle Kids' Cancer,” an initiative with Hackensack University Medical Center. Prior to kicking off an extensive media campaign to raise awareness of this cause, Manning spent time with patients and doctors at the hospital's pediatric cancer center, learning more about the greatest needs in cancer research.

What follows is Manning’s acceptance speech at the Wortham Theater Center here:

“As a player in the NFL, we have a global platform to play a game we love, and influence an untold number of people. We have a unique opportunity to make a difference. However, the public doesn’t often hear our response to that call. So I’m really proud of the NFL, and Nationwide, for highlighting the great that so many players are doing in their communities for people in need.

“Because of the example of Walter Payton, and how (his widow) Connie, (children) Jarrett and Brittney have perpetuated his legacy, 32 players were nominated by their teams for their efforts to better their respective communities and impact vulnerable people. Thank you to the Payton family for your consistent leadership. I want to thank the New York Giants, Allison Stangeby, and the Mara and Tisch families for their support and encouragement in reaching my charitable goals.”

“My commitment is to help sick kids. Their struggle isn’t easy, but their spirit, their laugh, their smile, and their belief that everything will be okay continually amazes me, and hurts me at the same time.  If we and the NFL, and others in our communities, commit to step in, we can lessen that struggle, ease that hurt, spark that hope. I challenge everyone here to help some person in need. You choose. But go out of your way to make a difference in someone’s life. I promise you, it’s worth it.”