A final count released Thursday shows Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen ruled the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Charity Challenge by pulling in double the numbers of his closest competitor, some poor guy named Torrey Smith.
Olsen was among 32 NFL players challenged to see who could get the most Twitter mentions by fans in the weeks leading up to the naming of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year. Each of the 32 athletes is a nominee for the NFL Man of the Year Award, which recognizes a player for his excellence on and off the field.
“Star Trek” captain William Shatner and wrestler turned action star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson were among the celebrities who promoted Olsen’s name in the charity challenge, which ended at midnight Sunday.
In the final two days, Olsen received more than 860,000 uses of his unique hashtag, #OlsenWPMOYChallenge, to rally for the win, said Nationwide. In all, Olsen’s hashtag was used nearly 1.2 million times on social media.
“The support I received from Panther Nation and fans across the nation during this Charity Challenge is astounding,” said Olsen in a statement.
“I’m beyond appreciative to the all fans who not only voted, but took the extra step to donate to Receptions for Research. It means a lot to me, my family and the organizations we support. And the fact that we reached over one million votes, is proof that Panther fans know what it means to KEEP POUNDING.”
San Franciso 49ers wide receiver Torrey Smith finished second with 600,000 uses of his hashtag, while Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Arthur Moats finished third with nearly 200,000 hashtag uses.
Olsen said the $25,000 will be used to continue the charity’s mission of providing hospitals, doctors, scholars, families and patients resources to help those affected by congenital heart disease and various forms of cancer.
Receptions for Research isn’t the only charity that will receive a donation as part of this year’s Charity Challenge. As a show of appreciation to Torrey Smith and his fans for their participation, Nationwide is donating $10,000 to The Torrey Smith Family Fund.
The winner of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award will be announced during NFL Honors, a two-hour prime time special airing nationally on Feb. 4, the night before the Super Bowl. Nationwide is the presenting sponsor of the award. This is the second year Greg Olsen has been nominated for the honor.