The NFL has finalized the 32 player nominees for the sixth annual Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award. Each NFL team nominated one of its players for the award, which recognizes players around the league who exemplify outstanding sportsmanship on the field. The Atlanta Falcons have nominated wide receiver Julio Jones for this distinguished honor.
The award was created in 2014 in honor of the late founding owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pro Football Hall of Famer Art Rooney. A panel of former players from the NFL Legends Community—Warrick Dunn, Karl Mecklenburg, Curtis Martin and Leonard Wheeler—will select eight finalists (four in the AFC and four in the NFC) from the 32 nominees. The eight finalists will be listed on the Pro Bowl ballot under the NFL Sportsmanship Award category when players vote on Friday, December 13.
The winner of the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award is determined by a vote of current NFL players. From the eight finalists, each team’s players will submit a consensus vote of their choice for the winner. As in Pro Bowl voting, a team cannot vote for its own player. The winner will be announced during the NFL Honors show on Saturday, February 1 on FOX, the night before Super Bowl LIV. He will receive a $25,000 donation from the NFL Foundation to a charity of his choice. He will also receive a trophy that represents the important role that sportsmanship plays in the game and how NFL players that demonstrate integrity and honor on the field serve as role models for players at all levels.
Past winners of this award include Drew Brees (2018), Luke Kuechly (2017), Frank Gore (2016), Charles Woodson (2015) and Larry Fitzgerald (2014). Julio Jones is not only a rare talent on the field, but his extraordinary respect for the game and opposing players makes him a great nomination for this prestigious award.