The NFL gave out its annual Salute to Service Award prior to the Super Bowl, awarding it to Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn. It’s an award created to acknowledge efforts by those in the NFL to support and honor United States service members and veterans around the country.
Quinn beat out Alejandro Villanueva of the Pittsburgh Steelers, which is significant given Villanueva not only serves in the Army Reserve, but served in Afghanistan and saw action that included a Taliban ambush. He was awarded a bronze star medal for rescuing wounded soldiers while under enemy fire. The award, given out in conjunction with the USAA, fits exactly what Villanueva stands for.
Some of his Steelers teammates were unhappy that he didn’t win the award. Running back DeAngelo Williams was particularly out there with his opinion on the matter:
— DeAngelo Williams (@DeAngeloRB) February 5, 2017
And that message was echoed by linebacker James Harrison.
Quinn has never served in the military, but he made it his “personal charge to show appreciation for their service and sacrifice,” according to the USAA.