I have had the incredible privilege of producing the Bart Starr Award event during Super Bowl weekend for the past 32 years.
I was 8 when I started! Okay, not really. It just feels that way.
The Bart Starr Award is named for the legendary Green Bay Packers quarterback – a Hall of Famer who led the Pack to 5 NFL championships in the 1960’s and was the MVP of the first two Super Bowls. The award is presented to the NFL player who is selected by his peers as the model of character and leadership, on the field, in his home, and in the community. The list of past winners reads like a who’s-who of the NFL. Anthony Munoz, Reggie White, Mike Singletary, Steve Largent, Cris Carter, Kurt Warner, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Jason Witten and more.
This year’s recipient was Calais Campbell, star defensive end from the Jacksonville Jaguars. He makes his living generally terrorizing opposing quarterbacks and running backs. But, off the field, he is a gentle soul who continues to impact the lives of at-risk youth in Jacksonville, Phoenix and Miami. In those communities, he is, as they say in sports, a “difference maker.”
The award was presented at the Super Bowl Breakfast event in Atlanta on Saturday morning, the day before the big game. The event is always way more enjoyable than the game itself. It’s a time when the football world pauses to recognize what is really important.
Campbell is a rather large human being, as you can see. I’m really not that short. Rather, he is 6’8” and a svelte 300 pounds. He is a giant of a man. Not as much for his frame as for his frame of mind.
Campbell is a humble man who believes he has been blessed for a reason, and that reason is not about him. He is using the brief platform of the NFL, and the relative riches that come with it, to transform the lives of others in need.
Now, that’s my kind of guy.