Created in 2014, in honor of the late Pittsburgh Steelers and Pro Football Hall of Famer Art Rooney Sr., each season all 32 NFL teams recognize and nominate one player on their roster who “demonstrates the qualities of on-field sportsmanship, including fair play, respect for the game and opponents, and integrity in competition.”
Running back, esteemed host of "Jamaal That" and noted pregame dancer Jamaal Williams is the #Lions' 2021 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award nominee. Congrats, @jswaggdaddy!#OnePride pic.twitter.com/4gLkFTHfks— Detroit Lions (@Lions) December 9, 2021
Historically, the NFL will narrow the list from 32 nominees down to eight finalists sometime in December. Then, in February, typically on the Saturday before the Super Bowl, the NFL will host an awards show and announce this year’s winner.
The Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award has recognized seven winners, including Larry Fitzgerald, who won the inaugural award, followed by Charles Woodson, Frank Gore, Luke Kuechly, Drew Brees, Adrian Peterson, and last season’s winner was Teddy Bridgewater.
Previous Lions’ nominations include Frank Ragnow (2020), Matthew Stafford (2019), Don Muhlbach (2018), Haloti Ngata (2017), Glover Quin (2016), and Calvin Johnson (2015). While no Lion has won the award, impressively, Stafford, Ngata, and Johnson were all top-eight finalists in their nominated seasons.
Here’s a look at the rest of this year’s nominees, which includes former Lions’ corner Darius Slay, who was nominated by the Philadelphia Eagles: