While Peyton Manning will spend the night of February 7, gearing up for the biggest and maybe last game of his career the next day, younger brother Eli will be awaiting a very different and frankly more important moment. While Eli Manning is no stranger to winning, it was not in the cards for him this year, but fortunately he realizes there are other ways to be a positive role model, more important than winning football games.
This year was not only about winning on the gridiron for some athletes, but also making a positive impact off of the field. Eli Manning, Anquan Boldin, and Benjamin Watson are the three finalists being considered for the Walter Peyton Man of the Year Award. Each year every NFL team nominates a player from their own team for the prestigious award. A winner is selected by the panel, which is made up of Connie Peyton (widow of Walter Peyton), the Commissioner of the NFL and former NFL players as well as previous award winners. The winner of the award gets a $25,000 donation towards the charity of their choice. The rest of the nominees each get $1,000.
Boldin is a veteran Wide-Receiver for the San Francisco 49ers and according to goodnewsnetwork.org, he started the Q81 Foundation to donate 4-year college scholarship to high school seniors. Watson is a journeymen Tight-End currently playing for the New Orleans Saints and runs the “Wastson One More Foundation” that will donates money to many local charities in New Orleans. Manning the Pro-Bowl Quarterback of the New York Giants serves a member of the “celebrity cabinet” for the American Red Cross, as well as founding the Eli and Abbey Manning Children’s Clinic at the Blair E. Watson Hospital near his Alma mater in Jackson, Mississippi.
There will be a winner selected on February 7, and in an era where athletes are in the news regularly for poor conduct, and mistreatment of women and children, it is refreshing to hear that some use their societal standing to make a positive impact.
By: Cody Pahlck