Known as Sweetness, Walter Payton was a professional football player for the Chicago Bears for his entire 13 season career. Number 34 was a nine time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champion in 1985. He played in college for Jackson State University and was drafted by the Bears in the 1975 draft as the 4th overall. He once held the League's record for most career rushing yards, touchdowns and carries. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993. He tragically passed away from a rare liver disease in 1999.
Ironically enough, Sweetness is praised for his toughness. He holds the record for most consecutive starts by a running back with 170. He only missed one game, at his coach's decision. In 1977, Walter rushed for a then-record 275 yards in a single game. He was suffering from a 101 degree fever and serious flu at the time. That same season Walter was named the league MVP. He is credited with re-popularizing the stiff-arm to neutralize defenders. He rarely shied from a head-to-head collision with a defender. Along with his proficient running game, Walter was able to catch and even throw passes, giving him the reputation as one of the most complete football players ever. He threw 8 touchdown passes, the most for any non-quarterback.
Walter was ranked the #5 on NFL.com's top 100 player of all time list. His #34 was retired by the Chicago Bears. In 1999, the NFL's Man of the Year Award was renamed the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award. In 1987, the Walter Payton Award was first given to the best offensive player in NCAA Division I FBS.
In Video Games
Payton made his first video game appearances in 1989. Walter Payton Football (named American Pro Football in Europe) was released in 1989. Walter, who at this point had retired, only appears on the title screen, box art, and on the coin for the coin toss. Payton was also featured in Tecmo Bowl, which used rosters for the 1988 season (a season after Walter retired). Although his skill in the game was overshadowed by the un-tackle-able Bo Jackson, Walter can be credited with inspiring the game's famous high-five touchdown celebrations.
Payton also appeared in NFL Street and was unlockable using a cheat code in Madden 08. Walter Payton was also available in the Connected Careers mode of Madden 13.