The nation's longest-running salute to professional football, the 101 Awards has annually honored outstanding achievement in the NFL based on votes by a selection committee comprised of 101 members of the national media.
Founded in 1969, the 101 Awards has recognized many of the NFL's greatest players and coaches to ever to take the field.
"One of the classiest events I've ever been to in my life. I've never seen anything else like it," Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young once said of the 101 Awards.
For the third consecutive year, the beneficiary of the 101 Awards will be The University of Kansas Hospital's Sports Medicine and Performance Center, which strives to prevent injury and improve the health and wellness of student-athletes throughout the region.
The 48th annual 101 Awards event will also recognize two Chiefs' award winners—the Mack Lee Hill Rookie of the Year and the Derrick Thomas Most Valuable Player. It has also previously been announced that former Chiefs' great Tony Gonzalez will be this year's Chiefs' Hall of Fame inductee, and he will be honored that night as well.
In addition to the player and coach's awards distributed at the event, the Lamar Hunt Award for Professional Football, which was created in 2007 to honor the life and legacy of the Chiefs' founder, will also be presented.
This award symbolizes the influence Hunt had in the development of professional football while also personifying his personal attributes. It is given annually to an individual, group or entity that has helped shape the NFL into the most prominent sports league in America. Previous winners have included NFL Films, Tony Dungy, *Monday Night Football, *Paul Tagliabue and last year's honoree, broadcasting legend Al Michaels.
This year, the Lamar Hunt Award for Professional Football will go to five-time NFL MVP Peyton Manning.
"In addition to being one of the greatest to ever play the game, Peyton Manning reshaped the way the quarterback position is played and transcended the sport to become one of the most popular athletes of his generation," said Clark Hunt, Chairman and CEO of the Kansas City Chiefs and son of the award's namesake. "Throughout his career and into retirement, he has handled the many demands of a superstar with class, respect and dignity.
"Our family is thrilled to add Peyton's name to the outstanding list of previous recipients over this first decade of the Lamar Hunt Award for Professional Football."
As much as Manning meant to the game on the field, his career as a high-profile NFL player was also marked by his acute understanding of the responsibilities that come with that position. He was renowned for the respect he showed not only to coaches, teammates and competitors, but also to club personnel, media, and sponsors, while his amiable and humor-driven public personality endeared him to the nation.
Outside of the spotlight, Manning prioritized philanthropic ventures, most notably in Indiana, Colorado, Tennessee—the site of his college career—and his home state of Louisiana.
Shortly after beginning his NFL career, Manning and his wife, Ashley, started the Peyback Foundation, designed to promote the future success of disadvantaged youth by assisting programs that provide leadership and growth opportunities for children at risk. Since its inception, the Foundation has provided more than $13 million in grants and programs in the aforementioned states. Also, for his dedication in supporting its efforts, the St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis renamed its children's hospital to the Peyton Manning Children's Hospital at St. Vincent in 2007.
"It wouldn't be a reach for me to tell you that he's very proud of this," Chiefs' President Mark Donovan explained of Manning's response to winning this award. "He's going to say it I'm sure when he's here (on February 24), but if you look at his history with this award program, I think it may have been his first or second where he made his statement from the stage, 'You invite me back, and I will be back every year.'
"Anybody who knows Peyton knows that he loves this game, he loves the history of this game. He appreciates what it means and he is who he is, right? He's an NFL MVP, a future Hall of Famer, and to have that kind of presence and understanding, it's a great example for others."
The other awards that will presented that night are the AFC and NFC's Coach of the Year, as well as the Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year.
This year, the Los Angeles Rams had a clean sweep of all three of the NFC's awards.
Sean McVay won Coach of the Year after a fantastic first season in Los Angeles, running back Todd Gurley won the Offensive Player of the Year, and defensive end Aaron Donald won the Defensive Player of the Year.
For the AFC, the Coach of the Year award will go to the Jaguars' Doug Marrone, while the Defensive Player of the Year will go to Jaguars' defensive end Calais Campbell, and the AFC's Offensive Player of the Year will go to the Pittsburgh Steelers' Antonio Brown.