Thirteen seasons with the Chicago Bears brought good luck to running back Walter “Sweetness” Payton. Drafted fourth overall in 1975, the stutter-stepping All-American from Jackson State University broke Jim Brown’s career rushing record in 1984, and ended his career as the NFL’s leader in rushing yards—Emmitt Smith subsequently broke Payton’s record in 2002.
After retiring at the end of the 1987 season, Payton was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993. Well respected both in and out of football circles, Payton should have had a long and rich post-football career, but his time was cut short when he died in 1999 from cancer caused by a rare liver disease.
In his honor, the city of Chicago added organ-donor information to its vehicle registration mailings, a cause that Payton had championed in the last months of his brief but brilliant life.
Payton’s 1976 Topps rookie card is one of the most collectible football cards of the postwar era. Also highly prized is the Payton card from a 33-card set that Topps produced for Holsum Bread. In 1977, Payton and Buffalo Bills running back O.J. Simpson appeared on a card together, and in 1979 Payton was paired with Houston Oilers running back Earl Campbell.
Because Payton missed the rapid rise in autographed merchandise in the 21st century, signed Payton collectibles are relatively rare, causing the prices for his signed number-34 jerseys and both his Riddell team and commemorative Hall of Fame helmets to be somewhat higher than those of his peers.
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Lost Pizza Company Versus Dave's Dark Horse TavernMaroon and White Nation, May 4th
Their crowd favorite is the “Walter Payton” Chicago-style deep dish. The Walter Payton features ground beef, canadian bacon, pepperoni, and italian sausage. Their menu also features burgers, wraps, gyros, salads, calzones, and “pub grub” that can...Read more
SFA All-American Johnson signs with RaidersLongview News-Journal, May 3rd
His efforts on the season ranked him among the nation's top-10 in five different statistical categories as he was named a Walter Payton Award finalist, the second in SFA program history (finishing ninth in the voting). After the end of the regular...Read more
Sanderson scholar-athlete counts Walter Payton as role modelNews & Observer (blog), May 3rd
Sanderson's Emmanuel Jackson clears the last hurdle to win his heat of the boys 300 meter hurdles race. High School track teams converged upon Garner High School for the Wake County Track Championships in Garner, N.C. on April 11, 2015. | STEVEN ...Read more
LOOK: Roger Goodell gets into skydive simulator and struggles to flyCBSSports.com, April 29th
The league described the "Sweetness Simulator" as a chance for "Fans to soar over the action just like "Sweetness" himself -- Chicago Bears Legend Walter Payton -- did in so many NFL games." What does that even mean? I had no clue after reading the ...Read more
The Sweetness Simulator Will Let You Float in a Wind Tunnel and Strike a ...Chicago Inno, April 29th
Thanks to a pretty innovative experiential activity, fans will be able to duplicate Walter Payton's iconic end zone dives via the "Sweetness Simulator." The interactive exhibit features a wind tunnel skydive simulator that will float fans into the air...Read more
Madden 15: Walter Payton's Community Legend Card Hits Ultimate TeamBleacher Report, April 17th
One of the greatest running backs in NFL history is being honored by EA Sports in the form of a new community legend card in Madden 15's Ultimate Team mode. Anyone who logs into MUT from April 15-21 will automatically receive the new Payton card...Read more
Willie Gault follows Walter Payton's run at Toyota Grand PrixChicago Sun-Times, April 16th
Following in Walter Payton's footsteps is never a bad thing, and that's exactly what former NFL receiver Willie Gault is doing in the 39th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Pro/Celebrity race on Saturday. Gault is the second former Bears player to...Read more
Payton Senior Makes School History by Earning IHSA All-State Academic NodDNAinfo, April 16th
NEAR NORTH SIDE — Brooke Gardner set a new bar for academic excellence at Walter Payton College Prep — no small accomplishment at one of the state's top schools. This year, the senior and Roscoe Village resident became the first student in Payton's ...Read more