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2016 Polynesian Pro Football Player of the Year Award Watch List Announced

At a glance:

  • The Polynesian Pro Football Player of the Year Award, presented by Hawaiian Airlines, is awarded to the most outstanding professional football player of Polynesian ancestry.
  • The 2016 Watch List is composed of 19 players from 14 teams.
  • The winner will be honored during the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend on January 21 & 22, 2017 in Oahu, Hawai’i.

Honolulu, HI (September 8, 2016) – The Polynesian Football Hall of Fame announced today the watch list for the 2016 Polynesian Pro Football Player of the Year Award, presented by Hawaiian Airlines. The award recognizes the most outstanding professional football player of Polynesian Ancestry.  Arizona Cardinals Offensive Lineman Mike Iupati was selected as the inaugural recipient of the Award in 2015.

Five finalists will be unveiled on December 28 and the winner will be announced on January 5, 2017.  The formal presentation of the award will be held during the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend on January 21 & 22, 2017 in Oahu, Hawai'i.

“This award showcases the immense talent of our Polynesian athletes at the highest level of football,” said Jesse Sapolu, Chairman and Co-Founder.  “The growth and success of professional football players of Polynesian ancestry has been extraordinary.”

The Watch List candidates have been selected based on past performance and future potential. Additions to the list may be made as the season progresses. The finalists and the winner will be chosen by the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee, which is composed of former Coaches Dick Tomey (Chairman), LaVell EdwardsRon McBride, and Dick Vermeil, past NFLPA President and Inaugural Inductee Kevin Mawae, ESPN Sportscaster Neil Everett, NFL player personnel legend Gil Brandt and Honolulu Sportscaster Robert Kekaula


Player Team Position Ancestry
Matt Asiata Minnesota Vikings RB Samoan
Tyson Alualu Jacksonville Jaguars DL Samoan
DeForest Buckner San Francisco 49ers DL Samoan
Jordan Cameron Miami Dolphins TE Samoan
Su`a Cravens Washington Redskins LB Samoan
Mike Iupati Arizona Cardinals G Samoan
Star Lotulelei Carolina Panthers DT Tongan
Marcus Mariota Tennessee Titans QB Samoan
Rey Maualuga Cincinnati Bengals LB Samoan
Haloti Ngata Detroit Lions DT Tongan
Nate Orchard Cleveland Browns LB Tongan
Domata Peko Cincinnati Bengals DT Samoan
Mike Purcell San Francisco 49ers NT Samoan
Danny Shelton Cleveland Browns DL Samoan
Ronnie Stanley Baltimore Ravens T Tongan
Xavier Su'a-Filo Houston Texans OG Samoan
Larry Warford Detroit Lions G Samoan


The Polynesian Football Hall of Fame honors Polynesia’s greatest players, coaches and contributors. As a non-profit organization, the Hall of Fame serves as a resource for Polynesian football history, provides collegiate scholarships and supports educational programs for Polynesian youth. Its permanent home is located at the Polynesian Cultural Center (Laie on O’ahu’s North Shore) and was established in 2013 by Super Bowl Champions Jesse Sapolu and Ma’a Tanuvasa. Other board members include Troy Polamalu, Vai Sikahema, June Jones and Reno Mahe.