Cowboys' Troy Aikman and Dak Prescott carry on Walter Payton Man of Year legacy

DALLAS, Texas —  Dallas Cowboys quarterbacks past, Pro Football Hall of Famer Troy Aikman, and present, Dak Prescott, teamed up to be Honorary Chairs for the Children’s Cancer Fund’s “A Knight to Remember” Gala to give pediatric cancer patients and survivors a memorable evening. 

The event featured a fashion show highlighting 23 pediatric cancer patients walking the runway with celebrity escorts. Both quarterbacks are incredibly passionate about the event as Friday was Aikman’s 25th or 26th, in his own words, and Prescott’s second. The duo have each won Walter Payton Man of the Awards, and they remain passionate about giving back to the Dallas community. 

“Well, it stays,” Aikman, the 1997 NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year award winner, said of the legacy of winning that award, on Friday. “What I think the league has done a great job of, and I have credited and I continue to credit Roger Goodell for that. He’s made the man of the year award really the the most highly-sought, prestigious award of the year when it’s handed out at the [NFL] honors, which is fantastic. There’s so many great candidates and because the league, it’s so important to them, it means a lot then to receive that award. I will say that there are so many, so many players, there’s one from every team. So you got the 32 that are nominated each year, only one gets it. But there are so many other players that do so much good in their communities. I’ve always felt that way. I saw it when I played, I still see it. Even as a broadcaster when the man of the year comes around and the people that are up for being nominated just by their respective teams. It means a lot.”

Players who have won the award and still play in the NFL today receive a permeant patch on the front of their jerseys to honor receiving the Walter Payton award, and now Aikman has a jersey of his own since that wasn’t part of the NFL’s policy during his playing days.  

“I just received a jersey because now to take it a step further as to what the the award means is you know Dak will have the Man of the Year emblem on his jersey,” Aikman said. “They weren’t doing that when I received it. Just this week as a matter of fact, Nationwide who sponsors that, sent out a Cowboys jersey with my jersey number and name and with the emblem on it so that I would have one of those. So it means a lot to be a part of it. I know that there’s a lot of other people that are really well deserving of it.”

Prescott, who lost his mom to colon cancer in 2013, remains passionate about charities like the Children’s Cancer Fund and others, and his efforts to help philanthropies in these areas are something he will continue to do for the foreseeable future. 

“As Troy said, it’s an elite fraternity, it’s the most prestigious award,” Prescott, the 2022 winner, said Friday. “Just obviously, when you recognize that it’s something you get to carry on with you. It’s an honor. Everything that I do as I go forward, I know that I’m representing the people that have come before me and won this award and the people that will follow me and won this award and really just the NFL as a whole. As Troy said, there’s so many people that there honestly may [need to] be a first team and a second team because so many people are pouring into their communities. That’s what’s great about the league and honestly, the leaders in the NFL making sure that they give back. So I just want to make sure that I’m representing them, representing the Payton family, Nationwide and in the NFL the right way, particularly because I wear that on my jersey, everyone sees that. At the same time, it’s who I am.”

The reason both Prescott and Aikman are continuing to be picked as honorary chairmen for the event is because of what being the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys means to so many people. 

“The moment I really recognized how big this, the impact [of being the Cowboys quarterback] was and any little thing I did and how far it could be taken was when I missed the trash can, throwing a cup away my rookie year,” Prescott said. “Having had three touchdowns and maybe whatever yards that game, the highlight was me missing the trash can, however, getting up and picking it up. From there, it just showed  the spotlight is on me, everything you do. You live in a glass house. Honestly thankful in that sense because of my story, being able to, have those eyes, live in a glass window and being able to share my story and inspire. I’m thankful for that. A lot of responsibilities you carry in this position, quarterback in the NFL, especially for the Dallas Cowboys. It’s a blessing to be able to inspire, to be able to reach so many people, not just in one community, not just in the state, but honestly across the world.”

However, all that attention Prescott and the Cowboys generate can come with downsides, something Aikman has noticed as a player and as a broadcaster. 

“There’s high expectations for all these teams and there’s a lot of pressure on the quarterbacks in all these cities and when they don’t play well and you don’t meet expectations, it’s tough,” Aikman said. “So the idea that there’s more pressure in Dallas, I don’t know that. I don’t know that Dak feels more pressure than some other quarterback. There’s certainly more attention as we know with the Cowboys, and I think that from my perspective I enjoyed the fact that I played for an organization that it wasn’t one of those cities that maybe didn’t go out and expect to win at the highest level each year. But, there’s a lot of attention on this team each and every year. With that comes a lot of benefits and with that, obviously when things don’t go, well, there’s a lot of hardships for that as well.”

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top