By Ken Reed

The MVP of Super Bowl LVI was Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp. It could have just easily gone to Rams QB Matthew Stafford, who had three TD passes and led the winning scoring drive. Or, Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who made two amazing plays to end the hopes of the Cincinnati Bengals. If the Bengals had pulled it out, the MVP likely would’ve gone to QB Joe Burrow, or possibly WR Ja’Marr Chase, if he would’ve made another terrific catch to help pull out the victory.

But the true hero of Super Bowl weekend, was Rams offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth, who won the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award for outstanding community service.

Whitworth is dedicated to using his platform to help others.

“Lead with your heart,” said Whitworth in a powerful six-minute acceptance speech. “You will never regret making something about more than yourself.”

This past season alone, Whitworth launched the Big Whit Homes for L.A. Families program and donated $20,000 to the cause after each Rams home game. He also made donations to repair homes in his home state of Louisiana and moved people in L.A. who were facing housing insecurity into affordable homes. In addition, Whitworth also works with other non-profits in L.A. to aid people in paying rent, and buying groceries. Moreover, he offers support to the needy for down payments and the furnishing of homes. When Hurricane Ida hit Louisiana in August, Whitworth teamed with Rebuilding Together to assist with essential home repairs to damaged homes.

Whitworth said everyone can make a positive difference in the lives of others by doing any one of three things: 1) contribute financially to causes your passionate about; 2) give your time to help others; and 3) use your platform — no matter how big or small — and voice to help bring about change.

“It’s called an investment,” he said.

“You can apply those three things to any charity or cause you have a passion for. You can invest your time, you can invest your finances or you can invest your voice, doesn’t matter which, we just have to keep investing in each other. Let your heart lead you all the way.”

When Rams head coach Sean McVay first arrived in Los Angeles to take the helm of a mediocre team, he made t-shirts to hand out to players and other Rams personnel that said, “We not me.” It didn’t take long for him to realize that Whitworth lived that phrase — on and off the field.

The Rams ended up beating the Bengals and the 40-year-old Whitworth is likely to retire. If he does, he’ll leave a Super Bowl champion and the reigning Walter Payton Man of the Year.

Well done Mr. Whitworth. Well done.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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