In America, we love to celebrate athletic achievements. Whether it’s the Heisman Trophy awarded to College Football’s best player, or the Golden Glove in Major League Baseball awarded to an outstanding fielder at their position, winning one of these awards can be the apex of a professional athlete’s career. NFL players have a different type of award, named after the great Walter Payton, that focuses on players contributions both on and more importantly, off the field.
Prior examples of players who won this award are J.J. Watt in 2017 for his efforts fundraising over $37 Million for the victims of Hurricane Harvey and Kurt Warner for his contributions to both Habitat for Humanity and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. This year’s winner was Dak Prescott.
Drafted in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft out of Mississippi State, Dak was viewed as having long odds to become a starting Quarterback in the NFL. To make matters worse, Dak tore his ACL in his final game at Mississippi State complicating his draft stock and career path out the gate. If not for a string of injuries at the QB position during training camp, Dak may not have gotten his break to start for the Cowboys. But once he got the starting nod, he never looked back.
In 2020, Dak suffered a compound fracture and dislocation to his right ankle and tragically lost his brother to suicide earlier that year. Since then, he has led the Cowboys to back-to-back playoff appearances the last two seasons. Overcoming adversity is a huge part of what motivates Dak both on and off the field. Dak started his foundation, Faith. Fight. Finish. (FFF) shortly after being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys. The organization focuses on 4 pillars that are important to Dak and his family.
- Colon Cancer Research – Dak’s Mother passed away from Colon Cancer but her memory is reflected in everything Dak does both on and off the field.
- Mental Health & Suicide Prevention – In memory of Dak’s brothers, their goal is to help others struggling with mental illness so they can help find their purpose and realize that their life matters
- Bridging the Gap Between Law Enforcement & The Communities They Serve – Offering training, community committees and officer led youth workshops to communities free of charge to connect police officers with those they serve and protect.
- Offering Assistance to Those Facing Life-Challenging Hardships – FFF offers assistance to many people facing personal hardships and struggles.
Dak’s rise as quarterback of “America’s Team” has been anything but easy, both on the personal and professional front. He stands as an inspiration to others to be the good in the world.
While most of us may not ever have a national stage like Dak’s, the impact we can have is just vital. Even the smallest act of good sends ripples out into the world. And just think of the joy you get in return – such an important part of a great life!
Learn more about Dak Prescott’s Faith Fight Finish Foundation here.
Written by Matt Kruckenberg, QKA, Manager of Retirement Plan Services