The National Football League has been honoring a Man of the Year since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970. Awarded to a player who exemplifies excellence both on and off the field through volunteering in their community, the award was renamed in 1999 in honor of the late Bears running back Walter Payton.
This prestigious award is given to one player in the NFL each season. All 32 NFL teams nominate one player before the league narrows it down to three finalists and announces the award at the NFL awards ceremony the night before the Super Bowl.
For the Pittsburgh Steelers, their 2020 Walter Payton Man of the Year award nominee is tight end Vance McDonald.
Vance McDonald is our nominee for the #WPMOY Award presented by @Nationwide.— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) December 10, 2020
RT & reply with “#WPMOYChallenge + Vance McDonald” to help him earn a $25,000 contribution to the charity of his choice.https://t.co/FIp1UiPfU3
McDonald has has been active in the Pittsburgh Steelers community since he was acquired via trade by the team in 2017. McDonald has done numerous events in the Pittsburgh area through Convoy of Hope events where various essentials and services are provided for people free of charge. This per Teresa Varley of Steelers.com:
McDonald truly has a heart of gold, has a passion for helping those in need, which had him team with Convoy of Hope, a faith-based organization with a passion to feed the world through ‘children’s feeding initiatives, community outreach and disaster response.’ The organization was founded in 1994 and has served more than 115 million people throughout the world.
Because of McDonald’s relationship with Convoy of Hope, the Steelers teamed with the organization in December, 2019, to host their first Huddle for the Holidays, a unique one-of-a-kind outreach that provided necessities and the simple pleasures in life for 500 individuals, from kids to senior citizens.
Heinz Field was transformed from a football mecca into an oasis of love and caring, with every corner a place for individuals to benefit from the art of giving back.
Local organizations, including Amachi Pittsburgh, Latino Community Center, Urban League, Youth Places, YMCA, Jeremiah’s Place and Urban Impact, just to name a few, invited those they serve to attend and enjoy of night of pampering and outreach.
There were the essentials like health & wellness screenings, haircuts, job services and even manicures, to needs like shoes, clothing and food, to the fun like family portraits, balloon making, arts & crafts and of course Santa’s workshop where kids always get treated with new toys.
A hot meal was provided for all the guests and at the end of the night all families were gifted with groceries to help them through what can often be tough times.
Previous nominees by the Pittsburgh Steelers are Maurkice Pouncey in 2019 and Cameron Heyward in 2017 and 2018. Four different players on the Steelers have gone on to ultimately win the award with the most recent being Jerome Bettis in 2001. Other award winners were Lynn Swann in 1981, Joe Greene in 1979, and Franco Harris in 1976. The 2019 winner was Calais Campbell of the Jacksonville Jaguars who is now a member of the Baltimore Ravens.
Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers as they prepare for their Week 14 matchup in Buffalo against the Bills on Sunday Night Football.