The award, which was created in honor of late founding Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney Sr., recognizes players who exemplify outstanding sportsmanship on the field, including fair play, respect of the game and opponents, and integrity in competition.
Of course, last year’s Colts nominee, running back Frank Gore, actually won the award as the 2016 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award winner.
The winner of the this year’s award will be awarded based on a vote of current NFL players, and it will eventually be narrowed down to 8 finalists. The 8 finalists will then be voted on this year’s Pro Bowl ballot by the players, where each team’s players will select a consensus vote for the winner (and a team cannot vote for its own player).
Obviously, it’s a nice honor for Hilton, who’s one of the best players on the Colts and currently has 36 receptions for 725 receiving yards (which are the 4th most in the league) and 3 touchdown receptions on the season.
Nicknamed ‘The Ghost’, Hilton can often be seen playing the game with a smile and seems to have a lot of fun on the football field, especially when he’s celebrating touchdowns with his teammates–much to the dismay of opposing defense backs.
We’ll have to keep our fingers crossed to see whether another Colt can win this award for a consecutive season, although the heavy favorites are probably well-respected veteran players (much like Gore last year) such as the New Orleans Saints Drew Brees or San Diego Chargers Antonio Gates among others.
Either way, being nominated by his teammates is a nice tip of the helmet to T.Y. in itself.