HONOLULU - Arizona Cardinals Offensive Lineman Mike Iupati has been selected as the inaugural recipient of the Polynesian Pro Football Player of the Year Award presented by Hawaiian Airlines.  The Award recognizes the most outstanding professional football player of Polynesian ancestry.

The 6-foot-5-tall, 330-pound American Samoa native was born to Aposetola and Belinda Iupati and is of Samoan ancestry.  Iupati attended the University of Idaho where he played for the vandals and earned All-American and All-WAC honors.

"As a proud Polynesian and Samoan, I am honored to be selected as the inaugural Polynesian Pro Football Player of the Year," said Mike Iupati.  "I would like to congratulate the other finalists, Marcus Mariota, Rey Maualuga, Koa Misi and Manti Te'o as they represent the very best of our culture and the National Football League."

Iupati, in his sixth season out of the University of Idaho, has helped lead the Arizona Cardinals to a 13-3 regular season record.  As a team, the Cardinals finished the regular season ranked first in total offense (408.3 yards per game), second in points scored (30.6 points per game), eighth in rushing yards (119.8 yards per game) and sixth in rushing touchdowns (16).  Iupati was also selected to his fourth NFL Pro Bowl this season. 

"On behalf of the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Board of Directors and Selection Committee, we congratulate Mike on this historic accomplishment," said Ma'a Tanuvasa, Co-Founder and Vice Chairman. "Mike is a great role model and inspiration for our youth around the globe."

The formal presentation of the Polynesian Pro Football Player of the Year Award will be made at the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Celebration Dinner on Jan. 29.

The Polynesian Pro Football Player of the Year Award was voted on by the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee members, composed of past head football coaches Dick Tomey (Chairman), LaVell Edwards, Ron McBride and Dick Vermeil, ESPN SportsCenter anchor Neil Everett, NFL player personnel expert Gil Brandt, past NFLPA president and Inaugural Inductee Kevin Mawae and Hawai'i sportscaster Robert Kekaula. 

Other Polynesian Pro Football Player of the Year Award Finalists included QB Marcus Mariota (Tennessee Titans), LB Rey Maualuga (Cincinnati Bengals), LB Koa Misi (Miami Dolphins) and LB Manti Te'o (San Diego Chargers).