The Rotary Lombardi trophy is a 40-pound block of granite atop a silver pedestal built over a foundation of discipline. The symbolic design was created by Houston Rotarian and professional artist, the late Mark Storm. The plate recognizes the "outstanding college football player & leader" and is given to the player as well as his representative college for display.
Candidates for the Rotary Lombardi Award begin on a preliminary watch list and must be outstanding players, in any position, and most importantly, they must exhibit exemplary leadership skills.
A distinguished committee of nearly 400 of America’s most prominent college football coaches, football writers, sports broadcasters and previous Rotary Lombardi Award winners and finalists, participate in a three-tiered balloting process. Each year the selection committee selects twelve semifinalists, four finalists and the ultimate winner in balloting conducted by the accounting firm of KPMG.
All four finalists, their coaches and sports information directors are brought to Houston for one day of visits to beneficiary representative hospitals to experience the final destination of funds raised during the Rotary Lombardi Awards Ceremony. They also participate in many media interviews and local hospitality. The climax of the trip is the annual Rotary Lombardi Award Presentation, when a crowd of up to 1,000 fans gathers to hear the nationally televised announcement of the Rotary Lombardi winner.