The Armchair Quarterback's Guide To The NFL: Man Of The Year

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The Armchair Quarterback’s Take Of The Week

The Media Should Take More Notice Of The NFL’s “Good Guys”

This past week the NFL headlines were once again dominated by the Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin situation down in Miami. The Wells Report was released and it included some fairly damning material against Incognito and some of his fellow Dolphins teammates. Incognito went on a Twitter rant. Incognito quit Twitter. Incognito returned to Twitter and apologized, and all of this was deemed newsworthy by the media and NFL blogosphere. Now news (and a disturbing video) are circulating about a Baltimore running back Ray Rice being involved in a serious domestic violence case. It’s not exactly an uplifting time to follow the NFL.

In my weekly piece over at Arrowhead Addict I wrote about how I was getting discouraged by all the stories about the Incognitos, Darren Sharpers, and Ray Rices of the NFL. It wasn’t until I read Mark Schlereth’s excellent piece for ESPN that I started feeling a little better. At Arrowhead Addict I decided to focus my piece on a couple of Chiefs players that were doing good things in the community and for this week’s “Take of the Week” I just want to take a minute to acknowledge the men that the NFL nominated for the Walter Payton NFL Man Of The Year award this year.

Like in all areas of news, the bad tends to get ten times the press than the good and I’m guilty of it too. So while you may know every sordid detail of the Incognito or Hernandez stories, most probably have no clue why Jay Feely, Thomas Davis, and Charles Tillman were up for the award that recognizes players for excellence in volunteering and charity work.

So before you skip ahead to the next page to check out the top underrated defensive free agents I ask that you take two minutes of your time to read a paragraph about the amazing things these three men are doing to make a difference. It seems to me that if we have time to keep up on Richie Incognito’s latest Twitter status the least we can do is make sure we know why Charles Tillman was selected as the NFL’s Man of the Year.

Jay Feely

Jay Feely is a veteran kicker that is currently with the Arizona Cardinals. Unlike many NFL players that focus strictly on their own foundation or one certain charity, Feely has been active with a wide variety of groups. He is very active with the Phoenix Ronald McDonald House, the Phoenix Rescue Mission, and an organization called the House of Refuge that helps homeless families and individuals get back on their feet. If that wasn’t enough, Feely also created his own Feely Family Foundation that focuses on helping children in need and has made multiple trips to Haiti to take part in relief efforts there after the 2010 earthquake.

Thomas Davis

Thomas Davis is a Carolina Panthers linebacker that has shown great perseverance as he has overcome three ACL surgeries on the same knee. You would think that would have consumed most of his time and energy, but that’s not the case. In addition to building a playground in his hometown, his free youth football camp, and participating in the Panthers’ Play 60 efforts he has also founded a highly successful foundation of his own. From

In 2007, he and his wife Kelly founded the Thomas Davis Defending Dreams Foundation (TDDDF), a non-profit dedicated to providing and promoting free programs that enhance the quality of life for more than 2,000 underprivileged children and their families annually. The foundation’s cornerstone program, the Youth Leadership Academy, is a 14-week afterschool mentoring program for low-income middle school students. Davis annually provides two college scholarships for graduating high school seniors who have completed the Youth Leadership Academy program. The TDDDF hosts annual programs including a back-to-school supply giveaway, a Thanksgiving meal at a battered women’s shelter and a Christmas gift giveaway for underprivileged children, both in Charlotte and in Davis’ hometown in Georgia.

Charles Tillman

Charles Tillman, the Chicago Bears cornerback, was this year’s winner of the Man Of The Year award. His giving is far reaching, including helping to build a new school in Cambodia, working with the USO to support our troops both here and in Iraq, and donating over 700 tickets to be given away in the Chicago community. However, it is his work with the Cornerstone Foundation and the Tiana Fund that is most noteworthy. He turned a scary health situation in his own family into the motivation to really make a difference in the lives of people going through similar situations. The video below tells the story and is well worth the time to watch.

I don’t know why we as consumers are drawn to the negative stories. I don’t know why people like Richie Incognito get the headlines while men like Charles Tillman are often an afterthought. The Walter Payton Man Of The Year Award is often just a footnote in articles about who was named MVP or Coach of the Year. In a league where headlines are often filled with the bad things players do you would think the NFL would do more to tell these great stories about what so many players are doing right.

I don’t know about you, but I sure enjoyed watching that story about Tillman a lot more than any of the updates I’ve seen about Richie Incognito lately.

Now onto the Armchair Quarterback’s Top Underrated Defensive Free Agents…………

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