Feature Prince Harry Compares Football and Rugby During Surprise NFL Honors Outing

Prince Harry
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Prince Harry has learned to love football since moving to California, even if he prefers the British game of rugby he grew up with.

“Good evening, NFL. It’s an honor to be here tonight,” Harry, 39, gushed during his surprise appearance at the NFL Honors ceremony on Thursday, February 8. “I really love how you stole rugby from us and you made it your own. Instead of passing it backwards, passing it forward. Why not wear pads and a helmet? Of course, have an offense and a defense, that makes sense. And why not take a breather every 15 seconds?”

He continued, “And you know what, instead of a 10-month season, let’s just make it 18 weeks. Genius! All kidding aside, what you do off the field is truly remarkable. You are role models to millions in the way you carry yourself and the way you give back.”

The Duke of Sussex, dressed in a dapper black tux, was on hand at the awards ceremony to present the coveted Walter Payton Man of the Year Award to Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman Cameron Heyward.

Prince Harry Through the Years

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Life on his own terms. Prince Harry is unlikely to become the king of England, but he’s carved a unique path as a philanthropist, father and military veteran. King Charles III and Princess Diana welcomed their youngest son in September 1984, two years after the arrival of Prince William. Unlike his older brother — who […]

“This final award, the highest honor, is all about serving your community,” Harry added, praising Heyward, 34, for “going above and beyond” to help others. “Please welcome the Walter Payton Man of the Year, Cam ‘The Man’ Heyward!”

Heyward, sporting a blue velvet blazer, then walked onto the stage and embraced Harry in a hug before beginning his speech.

Prince Harry Compares Football and Rugby During Surprise NFL Honors Outing Cameron Hayward

Prince Harry presents the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award to Cameron Heyward of the Pittsburgh Steelers at the 13th Annual NFL Honors on February 8, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Perry Knotts/Getty Images

“Oh man, Prince freaking Harry,” Heyward quipped in his acceptance speech. “Man, I’m just shocked! That’s Prince Harry.”

Harry subtly laughed off Heyward’s starstruck moment.

Harry’s unexpected NFL Honors appearance comes days after he returned to the United States after a quick visit to England.

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have always been proponents of giving back. Charity has played a huge part in their relationship, both while they were senior members of the British royal family and since they announced their decision to step back in January 2020. Two years before Harry met Meghan in 2016, he organized the […]

Us Weekly confirmed on Tuesday, February 6, that Harry flew to London for a quick visit with father King Charles III shortly after learning of the monarch’s cancer diagnosis.

While Harry was photographed leaving the next day, it was reported that his wife, Meghan Markle, and their two children, Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet, did not make the trip.

Prince Harry Compares Football and Rugby During Surprise NFL Honors Outing 2 Cameron Hayward

Cameron Hayward (L) of the Pittsburgh Steelers poses for a portrait after winning the Walter Payton Man of the year with Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex at the 13th Annual NFL Honors on February 8, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Todd Rosenberg/Getty Images

Harry and Meghan, 42, have been estranged from his family for years, with things escalating in 2020 when they stepped back from their duties as senior royals and relocated to California. Harry and Meghan have seldom had contact with Charles, 75, and Harry’s brother, Prince William, since the move, only publicly reuniting at Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II’s respective state funerals and Charles’ coronation.

It is speculated that Charles’ health scare could help “build a bridge” between the father and sons.

“We often see in families, incidents like this bridge a gap,” royal expert Gareth Russell exclusively told Us Weekly earlier this month. “They build a bridge [between] formally estranged members of a family. Cancer is nothing to be taken lightly and maybe it puts into perspective quarrels and fights that you’ve had before.”