The Athletes in Action/Bart Starr Award was created to honor the NFL player who best exemplifies outstanding character and leadership in the home, on the field and in the community. The Award is named after Bart Starr who, in addition to being in the NFL Hall of Fame, was selected as MVP in Super Bowls I and II. Mr. Starr is an individual of impeccable character who has served his family and community faithfully through the years and is a role model for athletes and business people alike.
Nominees are gathered from the Public Relations Directors of each NFL team, the past winners of the Bart Starr Award, the Athletes in Action Pro Staff working with NFL teams and Bart Starr. Ballots are sent to each team and voting takes place at the same time as the Pro Bowl selections. The votes are tabulated and the winner is announced at the annual Super Bowl Breakfast.
In 1988, Athletes in Action held its inaugural Super Bowl Breakfast at Super Bowl XXII in San Diego, CA. In 1989, the first Bart Starr Award was presented at the Super Bowl Breakfast. Bart Starr agreed to partner with Athletes in Action to present this award in his name. He is present each year at the Breakfast to personally present the Award to the winner voted on by NFL players.
Phone Call From Cherry Starr - Matthew Slater surprised by call from Mrs. Bart Starr
The New England Patriots probably didn’t know what a treasure they were signing when they chose Matthew Slater with the 153rd pick of the 2008 NFL Draft, but it’s a decision they haven’t likely regretted. For the past six seasons, Slater’s teammates have elected him captain of special teams where his stellar performance has named him to the Pro Bowl each year.
Slater has been a leader and a positive example to his team both on and off the field. After every game, win or lose, he leads his team in prayer as the stands empty and the lights go down. His teammates admire his poise and professionalism as well as his humble adherence to his faith, striving to be like him as both a football player and a man.
He is highly involved in the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation, partnering with many organizations such as Play 60, Make-A-Wish, and Read between the Lines. Slater received the Ron Burton Community Service Award in 2016 for his dedication to the community of New England; he looks at football as a vehicle God has given him to reach people. He recruited some of his fellow Patriots to attend his “Matthew vs. Matthew” charity event this past October, a dinner and raffle to benefit Samaritan’s Purse in their relief efforts following Hurricane Matthew.
Slater’s father, Jackie Slater, received the Bart Starr Award in 1996, making the Slaters the first father-son duo to ever win the award. Growing up, Matthew Slater’s mother would drop him and his brother at church on Sundays and pick them up a bit early to watch his father’s NFL games. Slater certainly had a wonderful example of leadership and character to look up to in his childhood that paved the way for his later success.
Slater and his wife, Shahrzad, have a one-year-old son, Jeremiah.