Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Pat Tillman Award?

Yesterday my favorite player in the National Football League, Peyton Manning, won his record-setting fourth "Most Valuable Player" title, an award presented by the Associated Press.

Peyton is my favorite NFL player for a number of reasons.  Mainly because he hails from my Alma Mater, The University of Tennessee, and is a really terrific quarterback that is amazing to watch in action.

But also he is a classy individual, a great role model, and a humble person. Furthermore he has been a great ambassador for my Alma Mater at a time when so many other athletes over the years have tarnished the reputation of the university by their off-field antics.

While I honor Peyton Manning as a player and a person, there is one other person who once played professional football that has garnered my utmost respect.  That player is a man named Pat Tillman.

Pat Tillman walked away from a $3.6 million contract as a safety with the Arizona Cardinals to join the Army after the September. 11 attacks.  He enlisted in the Army in May, 2002 and completed training to become an Army Ranger.

He served numerous tours with the Army, including the initial invasion of Iraq, "Operation Iraqi Freedom".  He was later deployed to Afghanistan as part of "Operation Enduring Freedom".

Pat Tillman was killed in action while on a mission in southeastern Afghanistan on April 22, 2004.

So now whenever I heard the phrase "NFL's Most Valuable Player" I cannot seem to separate the work of a mere football player from the actions of man who walked away from the game to give the ultimate sacrifice to our county.

Currently, the Associated Press has no name for their trophy awarded to the most valuable player in the NFL.

I think it is now time to name this award "The Pat Tillman Trophy".