This morning, the Kansas City Chiefs announced that S Tyrann Mathieu was named the team's nominee for the prestigious Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award presented by Nationwide.
One of the NFL's highest individual honors, it recognizes an NFL player for outstanding community service activities off the field, as well as excellence on the field. Mathieu is joined by 31 other candidates – one from each NFL team – who were also announced today.
"We're very excited to have Tyrann Mathieu represent the Chiefs organization and the Kansas City community as our nominee for this year's Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award," Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said. "From the time he joined the Chiefs in 2019, Tyrann has been a true leader, both on and off the football field. He is one of the best safeties in the game, and he has been a major contributor to our recent success.
"Tyrann also has a tremendous passion for helping people. Through his Tyrann Mathieu Foundation, he provides food and supplies for families in need both in Kansas City and in his hometown of New Orleans. He also teaches young people the skills necessary for success on and off the field. We are proud to call Tyrann a member of our Chiefs family, and we believe he is deserving of this prestigious honor."
"I'm very honored to be nominated as the Chiefs Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year," Mathieu said. "This team and community are very important to me. I've had the chance to meet a lot of people in Kansas City, many who are going through difficult times. I think anytime you have an opportunity to lend your hand or even give a little bit of hope, that's always a good thing. The Tyrann Mathieu Foundation was created to impact people in the community, and I look forward to all of our events each and every year. It's always important to dive into the community, get to know people and make yourself a part of their lives. I'm proud and grateful to help the people of Kansas City who do so much for us, and I want to thank my foundation team and the Chiefs for their constant support. There are many other players who do so much for their communities, so I'm honored for this recognition. I think we all face different adversities, so it's important to share hope. I want to continue to make a difference in the lives of others here in Kansas City and in my hometown of New Orleans."
Photos of Man of the Year Nominee Tyrann Mathieu on and off the field.
For the fourth year in a row, all 32 team winners will be highlighted as finalists and recognized for their important work during the weekend leading up to Super Bowl LVI. The 2021 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year will be announced during NFL Honors, a primetime awards special to air nationally the Thursday before Super Bowl LVI, on ABC.
All 32 nominees will receive a donation of up to $40,000 in their name to their charity of choice. The winner of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award will receive a $250,000 donation to the charity of his choice. All donations are courtesy of the NFL Foundation and Nationwide. Along with the other 31 nominees, Mathieu will wear a Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year helmet decal through the end of the season in recognition of his accomplishments on and off the field.
Since entering the league as a third-round draft pick in 2013, Mathieu has been focused on serving and uplifting the communities in his native Louisiana as well as in each of his NFL stops, Arizona, Houston or now in Kansas City, through his Tyrann Mathieu Foundation. From distribution of school supplies at the start of the school year to taking underserved youth on a shopping spree as the fall unfolds to doling out turkeys leading into Thanksgiving to providing a special surprise dinner and gifting experience for families leading into the holidays, Mathieu and his Foundation annually are making a mark in his adopted midwestern home.
Throughout the years, Mathieu himself has taken an active role to fund these efforts himself, as well as to run point on multiple events aimed to helping to raise dollars, like his Night of Aces in Arizona, his celebrity kickball game in New Orleans and his signature Celebrity Waiter Night event in Kansas City. Celebrities and guests alike raise funds to provide assistance to low-income schools and offer youth the opportunities and resources to reach their full potential.
In March of 2020, Tyrann and his foundation joined forces with the local food bank, Harvesters, by donating 30,000 meals to families affected by COVID-19. His pandemic-relief efforts continued as Mathieu partnered with Kansas City's, 610 Sports Radio to broadcast a virtual, day-long event in effort to continue helping those experiencing hardship from the global pandemic. Proceeds raised from the radiothon benefited Hope House (who provides domestic violence victims with shelter & comprehensive services), ReStart (who has provided unique programming that allows this organization to act as the only homeless agency in Kansas City to support all homeless populations) and The BMA Foundation (an advocate for Children's Charities and Animal Welfare) in Kansas City.
This spring, Mathieu activated a "Tyrann's Teachers" surprise and delight initiative. Along with board members of his Tyrann Mathieu Foundation, gift baskets were hand-delivered to 32 well-deserving teachers in the Kansas City metropolitan area. Then for the second year, he and some of his teammates surprised 32 underprivileged youth (ages 6-17) from the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Kansas City with a "Back 2 School" shopping spree. Mathieu also reprised his annual "Tyrann's Turkeys" food distribution around Thanksgiving as well as his holiday-themed event in December.
Additionally, Mathieu has had an active voice on the team's Leadership Council as they identified and provided feedback on ways to better engage three specific areas: diversity education in schools, minority-owned business support and voter registration/activation efforts. Teaming with the KC Election Board, Rock the Vote and Harvesters – Community Food Network, Mathieu hosted a voter registration and food distribution event in the city's urban core. It was this dialogue which directly resulted in GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium servicing as a voting location for the 2020 General Election, ultimately seeing 2,111 individuals cast a ballot there, becoming the largest polling site in Kansas City election history.
Mathieu has also publicly supported the Black Lives Matter movement via a social media video that went viral as well as serving as a role model via his annual Heart of a Badger Youth Camp which provides children in his native New Orleans community with a safe environment to develop their football skills and teach the campers the skills they will need in the community to grow up and become productive leaders in society.
This season, Mathieu has continued his dominance as one of the top safeties in the NFL, starting 11 games, recording 58 tackles (46 solo), two for a loss, one sack, two interceptions, one touchdown, five passes defensed and one fumble recovery. For his career, Mathieu has appeared in 124 games with 115 starts. He has totaled 587 tackles (505 solo), 41 tackles for a loss, 10 sacks, 25 interceptions, three touchdowns, 75 passes defensed, four forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries. He has started seven of the eight postseason games he's appeared in. Mathieu has recorded 43 tackles (35 solo), two tackles for a loss, one interception and four passes defensed in his postseason career. He also recorded a career-high six interceptions during the 2020 season, leading all safeties in the NFL.
Mathieu has been named first-team All-Pro three times by the Associated Press (2015, 2019 and 2020) and has been voted to two Pro Bowls (2015 and 2020). Mathieu was an instrumental part of the Chiefs defense that helped capture the organization's first Super Bowl victory in 50 years and was named the Chiefs 2019 Derrick Thomas Most Valuable Player. Mathieu arrived on the NFL scene by being named to the PFW/PFWA All-Rookie Team following his rookie year in 2013. As a result of this consistent excellence on the field, Mathieu was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame's All-Decade Team for the 2010s.
Each Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee is eligible for the WPMOY Challenge, a Twitter contest which gives fans the opportunity to show support for their favorite nominee and offers players a chance to secure an additional donation for their charity. Fans vote by using the hashtag #WPMOYChallenge and the player's last name or Twitter handle between Dec. 7 and Jan. 17. Each retweet counts as a vote. The player who receives the most votes wins $25,000 for their charity and the first player to reach 1 million votes receives $10,000, all courtesy of Nationwide. Hashtag information and official rules can be found at www.nfl.com/manoftheyear.