NEW YORK — The NFL has created a Sportsmanship Award that the players will vote on and will be presented to the winner on the eve of the Super Bowl.
The award will be part of the NFL Honors show in which The Associated Press presents its major league awards, including MVP and Coach of the Year. A player “who best demonstrates the qualities of on-field sportsmanship, including fair play, respect for the game and opponents, and integrity in competition” will earn the award, the NFL said Tuesday.
“While we enjoy the incredible performance of NFL players on the field, we must never forget a core value of football that transcends all levels of play and exemplifies the complete athlete: sportsmanship,” said Troy Vincent, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations. “This award will recognize those who never hesitate to show that excellence in football is not achieved without respect for the game, for their opponents, for the officials and for the fans.”
Each team will nominate one player, and a panel of former players will select eight finalists, four from each conference, from the 32 nominees. Those finalists will be listed on the Pro Bowl ballot under the NFL Sportsmanship Award when the players vote Dec. 19.
From the eight finalists, each team’s players will submit a consensus vote of its choice for the winner. As in Pro Bowl voting, a team cannot vote for its own player.
The panel of former players will be comprised of Pro Football Hall of Famer Curtis Martin, Warrick Dunn, Karl Mecklenburg and Leonard Wheeler.
Photo via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images
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