Cowboys’ Dak Prescott steals the show at 2023 NFL Honors
Feb 9, 2023, 10:24 PM | Updated: 11:12 pm
(Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)
PHOENIX — NFL players, helmets and pads go hand in hand. Like peanut butter and jelly.
But for one night every year ahead of the Super Bowl, football gear is the last thing on anybody’s mind.
Instead, it’s all about the glitz, glam and red carpet that come with the NFL Honors award show.
The stars were definitely out in force in downtown Phoenix on Thursday night, from game-altering Hall of Famers to players still working to make a name for themselves and everyone else in between. It was hard not to run into someone who has left a mark on the game.
— Arizona Sports (@AZSports) February 10, 2023
Sure, the Lombardi Trophy is the ultimate piece of NFL hardware at the end of the day when it comes down to it.
It’s far from the only one handed out over the course of the week leading up to the big game, though.
A total of nine awards were passed out to athletes over the course of the evening, spanning from AP Offensive and Defensive Rookies of the Year to MVP.
Every award is and should be celebrated, but it was the final one of the night that really left a lasting mark on those in attendance at the Phoenix Symphony Hall.
Taking home the honor for Walter Payton Man of the Year was none other than Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott for his contributions away from the field in cancer and mental illness.
The causes are near and dear to Prescott, having lost his mother to cancer in 2013 and his brother to suicide in 2020.
He made sure both were recognized for their parts in Prescott’s life and spoke on how through all the darkness he was able to find light in helping others in similar situations.
“To the Payton family, I have such an appreciation for Walter and your beautiful family that continues the legacy through your charitable work,” Prescott said. “Walter’s incredible legacy off the field was matched, but yet probably exceeded by his humanitarian work off the field.
“That’s something that I always said that I hope that when I finish the game they can say, ‘He’s a hell of a player but he’s a much better person.'”
Fittingly, he ended his 5:30-minute speech with an “I love you, mama.”
And as for where the honor ranks for Prescott, it’s easily at the top of the list.
“It’s No. 1,” Prescott said. “When your mom is diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer and given months to live and she’s giving you that news and tells you, ‘Hey, all greats have their story, allow me to be your story.’ That’s what this award means to me. … I know she’s smiling down. I’m so blessed.”
2023 NFL Honors award winners
– Offensive Rookie of the Year: New York Jets WR Garrett Wilson
– Defensive Rookie of the Year: New York Jets CB Sauce Gardner
– Offensive Player of the Year: Minnesota Vikings WR Justin Jefferson
– Defensive Player of the Year: San Francisco 49ers DL Nick Bosa
– Comeback Player of the Year: Seattle Seahawks QB Geno Smith
– Coach of the Year: New York Giants’ Brian Daboll
– Assistant Coach of the Year: Former San Francisco 49ers’ DeMeco Ryans
– MVP: Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes
– Walter Payton of the Year: Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott