This week, the nominees from each NFL team were announced for one of my favorite professional sports awards, the Walter Payton Man of the Year. This award recognizes players for their volunteer and charity work, not just their play on the field. These are men of character who give back to the communities that support their NFL careers.
It was originally called the NFL Man of the Year, but in 1999, after the death of Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton, who won the award in 1977, it was renamed to honor his legacy as a humanitarian. There are currently six active layers who have won the award — Drew Brees, Jason Witten, Thomas Davis, Larry Fitzgerald, Eli Manning and J.J. Watt.
Let’s take a look at the men who will be representing the NFC South teams as this year’s finalists…
On an OurTurf podcast earlier this year, I spoke with my fellow reporters about what coaching job I felt would be a good situation to get into. Dayna and I agreed: Tampa Bay.
There are no sky-high expectations because they finished last in their division. They have a decent group of players that they can work with. Players such as two-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Mike Evans, linebacker Lavonte David, and a pretty solid defensive corps with players such as defensive ends Jason Pierre-Paul, Carl Nassib, and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy
There’s a lot of good groundwork that can be built upon, that new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles can take advantage of. Granted, McCoy could be leaving Tampa Bay, however, that would give them about $13 million in cap room, should they do that. That would also allow their 2018 1st round pick, DT Vita Vea a good chance to shine, even though last season he was hampered by injury.
The Pro Bowl isn’t just a single game that is played the week before the Super Bowl, it is a week-long series of events that allow fans to get close to their favorite players, and allows players to give back to the community.
Starting Wednesday at ESPN Wide World of Sports, which is located inside the Disney campus in Orlando, Florida, fans can enjoy the Pro Bowl Experience. A free football festival that allows fans to do multiple activities including the 40-yard dash, and obstacle course, vertical jump, precision passing, and more.
Throughout the week there are many community events, the youth NFL Flag Football playoffs and championship, and celebrity Flag Football game with Snoop Dogg and Deion Sanders serving as team captains. The High School Coach of the Year will also be announced this week.
Three years into his head coaching tenure, the Buccaneers have parted ways with head coach Dirk Koetter.
Their former offensive coordinator was promoted to Head Coach in 2016. The thought was that he and their draft pick, quarterback Jameis Winston would grow together and get this thing off the ground in Tampa.
Unfortunately, it didn’t work. Koetter’s tenure started off pretty well in 2016. The Buccaneers finished with a 9-7 record and 2nd in the division, Winston even made the Pro Bowl.
However, after that, things started not going so well.