Charean Williams, who is in her 25th year of NFL coverage in 2018, and her second at Pro Football Talk, has been selected as the 2018 Dick McCann Award winner by the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA).
Williams, the 50th McCann Award winner, is the first female to receive the honor from the PFWA. She is also the first member of Pro Football Talk to be honored with a McCann Award.
The McCann Award is given to a reporter who has made a long and distinguished contribution to pro football through coverage. The award is named for McCann, who was the first director of the Pro Football Hall of Fame (1962-67). McCann was a longtime reporter in New York with several newspapers, the Newspaper Enterprise Association and King Features Syndicate. After a stint in the Navy in World War II, he was a sports columnist for the Washington Times-Herald in 1945. A year later, he joined the Washington Redskins as publicity director and was the club’s general manager from 1947-62 before taking the job with the Hall of Fame before its’ 1963 opening.
Other 2018 nominees for the McCann Award were Sam Farmer (Los Angeles Times), Clark Judge (Talk of Fame Network), Jeff Legwold (ESPN.com) and Gary Myers (former New York Daily News).
Williams became one of the first two female members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee in 2007. She has been a selector for the last 12 Hall of Fame election cycles and is a member of the Hall’s Contributor Selection Committee. She was the 24th president of the PFWA, and the organization’s first female leader, when she served in the position during the 2009-10 NFL seasons.
Prior to joining Pro Football Talk, NBC’s digital NFL site, in June 2017, Williams spent 17 years covering the NFL and the Dallas Cowboys for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (1999-17). She began covering the NFL as a Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter for six seasons (1994-99) for the Orlando Sentinel in 1994. Prior to her time in Orlando, she worked for the Bryan-College Station Eagle and the Orange Leader in her home state of Texas.
In her more than 30-year career, Williams has covered 24 Super Bowls and seven Olympic Games. She has served as a NFL Draft analyst for ESPN and has appeared regularly on FOX Sports 1 and the NFL Network.
Nicknamed “Mother Football” by Clarence Hill Jr., her longtime co-worker at the Star-Telegram, Williams received the 2017 Blackie Sherrod Award from the Dallas Sports Commission for lifetime achievement covering sports in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. She was inducted into Texas A&M’s Former Journalism Student Association’s Hall of Honor in 2012.
Williams received her B.S. in journalism from Texas A&M in 1986, where she worked as an assistant sports editor for the school’s student newspaper, The Battalion. She graduated from South Dakota State with a master’s in mass communication in 2018, earning Top Scholar honors.
“Since Charean began covering the NFL 25 years ago, I’ve never known anyone who works harder or takes more pride in their work,” said Houston Chronicle NFL writer John McClain, the PFWA’s 2006 McCann Award winner and the organization’s president during the 2003-04 seasons. “She’s a terrific writer and reporter and an even better person who’s well-respected and very deserving of this incredible honor.”
“I would say that Charean Williams was destined for the Pro Football Hall of Fame from birth. If she would have been a boy, she would have gotten there as a quarterback or coach. She has always loved football and knew stats and rules better than anyone from grade school on up. It was fitting that she found a career covering the game,” said Hill. “Her knowledge has always been unmatched, but her ability to create relationships among fellow reporters with teams and NFL officials has allowed her to stand out and is the biggest key to her success. Of course, she is family to me. She used to be my work wife and is one of my dearest friends. Years ago, I named her ‘Mother Football’. She is Mother Football.”
Williams will be honored during the 2018 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Week Powered by Johnson Controls at the Enshrinees’ Gold Jacket Dinner in downtown Canton, Ohio on Friday, Aug. 3 and presented with the award at the 2018 Enshrinement Ceremony on Saturday, August 4 in Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.
ABOUT THE PFWA: The Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA) is the official voice of pro football writers, promoting and fighting for access to NFL personnel to best serve the public. The PFWA is made up of accredited writers who cover the NFL and the 32 teams daily. Bob Glauber, the national football columnist for Newsday, is the organization’s president for the 2018 season, while Bleacher Report national columnist Dan Pompei is the PFWA’s first vice-president. Follow the PFWA at ProFootballWriters.org and on Twitter at @PFWAwriters.
DICK McCANN AWARD WINNERS (To a reporter who has made a long and distinguished contribution to pro football through coverage): 1969 – George Strickler (Chicago Tribune); 1970 – Arthur Daley (New York Times); 1971 – Joe King (New York World Telegram & Sun); 1972 – Lewis “Tony” Atchison (Washington Star); 1973 – Dave Brady (Washington Post); 1974 – Bob Oates (Los Angeles Times); 1975 – John Steadman (Baltimore News-American); 1976 – Jack Hand (Associated Press); 1977 – Art Daley (Green Bay Press-Gazette); 1978 – Murray Olderman (Newspaper Enterprise Association); 1979 – Pat Livingston (Pittsburgh Press); 1980 – Chuck Heaton (Cleveland Plain Dealer); 1981 – Norm Miller (New York Daily News); 1982 – Cameron Snyder (Baltimore Sun); 1983 – Hugh Brown (Philadelphia Bulletin); 1984 – Larry Felser (Buffalo News); 1985 – Cooper Rollow (Chicago Tribune); 1986 – William Wallace (New York Times); 1987 – Jerry Magee (San Diego Union); 1988 – Gordon Forbes (USA Today); 1989 – Vito Stellino (Baltimore Sun); 1990 – Will McDonough (Boston Globe); 1991 – Dick Connor (Denver Post); 1992 – Frank Luksa (Dallas Morning News); 1993 – Ira Miller (San Francisco Chronicle); 1994 – Don Pierson (Chicago Tribune); 1995 – Ray Didinger (Philadelphia Daily News); 1996 – Paul Zimmerman (Sports Illustrated); 1997 – Bob Roesler (New Orleans Times-Picayune); 1998 – Dave Anderson (New York Times); 1999 – Art Spander (Oakland Tribune); 2000 – Tom McEwen (Tampa Tribune); 2001 – Len Shapiro (Washington Post); 2002 – Edwin Pope (Miami Herald); 2003 – Joel Buchsbaum (Pro Football Weekly); 2004 – Rick Gosselin (Dallas Morning News); 2005 – Jerry Green (Detroit News); 2006 – John McClain (Houston Chronicle); 2007 – John Clayton (ESPN.com); 2008 – Len Pasquarelli (ESPN.com); 2009 – Peter King (Sports Illustrated); 2010 – Peter Finney (New Orleans Times-Picayune); 2011 – Bob McGinn (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel); 2012 – Tom Kowalski (MLive.com); 2013 – Dan Pompei (Chicago Tribune); 2014 – Ed Bouchette (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette); 2015 – Dave Goldberg (Associated Press); 2016 – Chris Mortensen (ESPN.com); 2017 – Ed Werder (ESPN); 2018 – Charean Williams (Pro Football Talk).