Dick Connor Writing Awards

Dick Connor (Photo Credit: Denver Post)

The PFWA’s Dick Connor Writing Awards encompass news, game stories, columns, features, enterprise features and blogs written by PFWA members.

The yearly award period begins after the Super Bowl and continues through the following year’s Super Bowl.

The awards are named for Connor, a former PFWA president and the organization’s 1991 Dick McCann Award recipient, who worked for the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News. He started at the News in 1961 and moved to the Post in 1965. He went back to the News in 1982, but returned to The Post in 1988, where he worked until his death in 1992.

Connor was inducted into the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame in 1992 and was a 22-time Colorado Sports Writer of the Year honoree, including 18 consecutive years at one point. He was inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame in 1993.

2016 Winners

News
1. Greg Bishop, Sports Illustrated: After career-threatening injury, Lockette wants to return to football
2. Dave Weinberg, Press of Atlantic City: Lurie: Hiring Chip Kelly was a gamble that didn’t pay off
3. Chris Tomasson, St. Paul Pioneer Press: Adrian Peterson returns to Vikings, says he still has love for the team

Game Stories
1. Greg Bishop, Sports Illustrated: Von Trapped (Broncos win Super Bowl)
2. Dennis Waszak Jr., Associated Press: Rex’s Revenge: Ryan’s Bills squeak out 22-17 win over Jets
3. Chris Tomasson, St. Paul Pioneer Press: Shock, disbelief, tears: Vikings devastating defeat is one for the ages

Columns
1. Scott Pitoniak, Rochester Business Journal: Former Buffalo Bills reserve reflects on his 9/11 miracle
2. Jarrett Bell, USA Today: Widespread blame for bungling concession of Rams’ Case Keenum
3. (Tie) Ralph Vacchiano, New York Daily News: Tom Coughlin retires; Paul Woody, Richmond Times-Dispatch: Richmond needs a better deal for keeping training camp

Features
1. Ian O’Connor, ESPN the Magazine: Inside Bart Starr’s drive to honor fellow Packer great Brett Favre
2. Jason Wilde, ESPNWisconsin.com: Longtime attendant keeps Packers on their toes, works his way into hearts
3. (Tie) Ralph Vacchiano, New York Daily News: Evan Brennan, NFL agent; Jason B. Hirschhorn, SportsonEarth.com: The man behind the Mannings

Enterprise Features
1. Seth Wickersham and Don Van Natta Jr., ESPN the Magazine: Spygate to Deflategate: Inside what split the NFL and the Patriots apart
2. Kevin Armstrong, New York Daily News: Aaron Hernandez Murder Trial
3. Scott Fowler, Charlotte Observer: Surviving and thriving: Chancellor Lee Adams turns 16

Blogs
1. Brian Allee-Walsh, SportsNOLA.com
2. Chris Tomasson, St. Paul Pioneer Press
3. Nick Underhill, The Advocate

2015 Winners

News
1. Joe Person, Jonathan Jones, Michael Gordon; Charlotte Observer: Hardy guilty in assault case. Carolina Panthers star to appeal, will face a jury trial
2. Chris Tomasson, St. Paul Pioneer Press: Vikings’ owners: ‘We made a mistake’ in reinstating Adrian Peterson
3. David Weinberg, Press of Atlantic City: Philadelphia Eagles/Kelly gains power in shake-up of front office

Game Stories
1. Greg Bishop, Sports Illustrated: Super Bowl XLIX: A dramatic fourth-quarter comeback over the Seahawks vaulted a previously unknown cornerback into the spotlight and established Tom Brady as one of the best quarterbacks of all time
2. Jenny Vrentas, TheMMQB.com: Rogers’ Starr Moment
3. (Tie) Rob Demovsky, ESPN.com: Aaron Rodgers pulls off fake spike play in Packers’ winning drive; Ralph Vacchiano, New York Daily News: Bryant, Dallas in shock

Columns
1. (Tie) Scott Pitoniak, Rochester Business Journal: Reflections on the heroic life and legacy of a Buffalo Bill; Scott Pitoniak, Rochester Business Journal: Kelly’s finest hours have come during his most trying times
2. David Weinberg, Press of Atlantic City: Christie needs to grow up
3. Ralph Vacchiano, New York Daily News: The question had dogged Tom Coughlin for more than a decade …

Features
1. Tyler Dunne, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Finding Favre: Packers legend talks about life after football and how he still scratches his competitive itch
2. Jason Wilde, ESPNWisconsin.com: Wish granted: For Kellan Meinke and his family, a weekend with the Packers was just what the doctor ordered – a break from the difficult reality of his rare, complicated illness
3. (Tie) Zac Boyer, Washington Times: Drive to be a winner: Unorthodox path led Jay Gruden out of his big brother’s shadow to NFL; Seth Wickersham, ESPN the Magazine: Walking the Fault Line
Honorable Mention: Kevin Armstrong, New York Daily News: From the Beginning to the end? With Giant Future uncertain, Coughlin returns to Jacksonville, where his head coaching career began; Ralph Vacchiano, New York Daily News: 4 days at the camp that turns young QBs from Boys to Mann

Enterprise Features
1. Brian T. Smith, Houston Chronicle: Demetri Goodson: The making of an NFL prospect
2. Michael Clay, Pro Football Focus: The Impact of Defensive Packages on Yards Per Carry
3. (Tie) Seth Wickersham, ESPN the Magazine: Highway to Hell (the O.J. Simpson story); Greg Bishop, Sports Illustrated: Awakening the Giant (Y.A. Tittle)

Blogs
1. Brian Allee-Walsh, SportsNOLA.com
2. Chris Tomasson, St. Paul Pioneer Press

2014 Winners

News
1. Michael Schottey, Bleacher Report: Reported NFL influence over ESPN latest blow to integrity on concussions
2. Chris Tomasson, St. Paul Pioneer Press: Chris Kluwe’s lawyer: Texts support claim Vikings knew about Priefer allegations last year
3. Arnie Stapleton, Associated Press, Denver: Broncos president says apology rings hollow

Game Stories
1. Michael Lev, Orange County Register: Anatomy of the Colts’ incredible comeback
2. Scott Adamson, Anderson Independent: Panthers overwhelm Giants, 38-0
3. Michael Schottey, Bleacher Report: Latest Cowboys collapse is so much more than just Tony Romo

Columns
1. Scott Pitoniak, Rochester Business Journal: Saga of O.J. Simpson still seems surreal decades later
2. Ralph Vacchiano, New York Daily News: The evolution of Tom Coughlin
3. Michael Lev, Orange County Register: NFL: The many facets of Richard Sherman

Features
1. Ralph Vacchiano, New York Daily News: Remembering Li’l Jack Pinto
2. Tyler Dunne, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Nearing 80, Bart Starr’s legend stronger than ever
3. Dennis Waszak Jr., Associated Press, New York: Jets’ Nelson hosting foster kid who made headlines

Enterprise Features
1. Seth Wickersham, ESPN the Magazine: The Hail Mary in Santa Clara
2. Dan Pompei, Chicago Tribune: Forgotten Champions (the 1963 Chicago Bears)
3. (Tie) Dan Pompei, Bleacher Report: A week in the life of Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden; Brian T. Smith, Houston Chronicle: 1993 Oilers – Team Turmoil

Blogs
1. Kyle J. Rodriguez, Colts Authority & Bleacher Report
2. Brian Allee-Walsh, SportsNOLA.com

2013 Winners

News
1. Jason Cole, Yahoo! Sports: Adviser: Drew Rosenhaus offered cash to sign Dez Bryant before 2010 NFL Draft
2. Tom Rock, Newsday: Coughlin proud Victor Cruz visited Jack Pinto’s family
3. Tim Graham & Mark Gaughan, Buffalo News: Bills bounty system under Williams alleged

Game Stories
1. Jason Wilde, ESPNWisconsin.com: Seahawks 14, Packers 12: Stunning
2. Kevin Armstrong, New York Daily News: After Jovan Belcher murder/suicide tragedy, Kansas City coach Romeo Crennel, Chiefs players, forced to play with heavy hearts
3. Dennis Waszak Jr., Associated Press: Sanchez struggles, Jets turn it over four times in rout by 49ers

Columns
1. Jason Cole, Yahoo! Sports: Birth mother still trying to connect with new 49ers starting QB Colin Kaepernick
2. Marla Ridenour, Akron Beacon Journal: Impossible to hate man Ohio loves to loathe
3. Marla Ridenour, Akron Beacon Journal: Lombardi would be disastrous for Browns
Honorable Mention: Nate Dunlevy, Bleacher Report: The Meaning of Andrew Luck

Features
1. David Moore, Dallas Morning News: Even after 28 years, Drew Pearson knows guilt Josh Brent faces
2. Rich Cimini, ESPNNewYork.com: The bond no collision could break
3. Dan Pompei, Chicago Tribune: Dick Butkus might not be the snarling Monster of the Midway he once was, but he’s still a legendary figure at 70
Honorable Mention: Shalise Manza Young, Boston Globe: Donte’ Stallworth a changed man after fateful turn in 2009; Jason Wilde, ESPNWisconsin.com: One of the greatest guys I’ve ever met

Enterprise Features
1. Seth Wickersham, ESPN the Magazine: A thin line between love and hate (regarding Dan Snyder)
2. Jason Cole, Yahoo! Sports: Raucous lifestyle leads to fall of Jeff Rubin, a former financial adviser to NFL players
3. Tim Graham, Buffalo News: Ray Lewis’ glory story is haunted by killings
Honorable Mention: Chris Tomasson, FoxSportsFlorida.com: Nick Saban’s Miami tenure not recalled fondly; Greg Bedard, Boston Globe: Quick and to the point(s); Just one word triggers the Patriots’ potent no-huddle offense

Blogs
1. Nate Dunlevy, ColtsAuthority.com
2. Brian Allee-Walsh, SportsNola.com
3. Tim Graham, Buffalo News

2012 Winners

News
1. Greg Bedard, Boston Globe
2. Kevin Armstrong, New York Daily News
3. (Tie) Rich Cimini, ESPNNewYork.com & Greg Bishop, New York Times

Game Stories
1. Bob McGinn, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
2. Joseph Person, Charlotte Observer
3. Tony Grossi, Cleveland Plain Dealer

Columns
1. Rich Cimini, ESPNNewYork.com
2. Paul Woody, Richmond Times-Dispatch
3. Bob McGinn, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Features
1. Kenneth Crippen, Professional Football Researchers Association
2. Kevin Armstrong, New York Daily News
3. (Tie) Tim Graham, ESPN.com & Michael C. Wright, ESPNChicago.com

Enterprise Features
1. Seth Wickersham, ESPN the Magazine
2. Dan Pompei, Chicago Tribune
3. Paul Domowitch, Philadelphia Daily News

Blogs
1. Brian Allee-Walsh, NOLA.com

2011 Winners

News
1. Eric Edholm, Pro Football Weekly: One displaced fan’s Super Bowl nightmare
2. Greg Bishop, New York Times: A coach’s rebuke and a player’s shrug
3. Sean Jensen, Chicago Sun-Times: Brad Childress’ struggles with the Minnesota Vikings
Honorable Mention: Shawn Krest, All Headline News: Roethlisberger calls night club visit, karaoke ‘tradition’

Game Stories
1. Tim Graham, ESPN.com: Whirl interrupted: Steve Johnson drops the ball
2. Rich Cimini, ESPNNewYork.com: Jets come from behind, beat Texans
3. Sean Jensen, Chicago Sun-Times: Cutler’s family, friends watch victory over Seattle

Columns
1. Mark Purdy, San Jose Mercury News: JaMarcus Russell: When he was king
2. Michael Schottey, Bleacher Report: Detroit Lions loss to Chicago Bears Calvin Johnson’s fault, not referees
3. Howard Balzer, The Sports Xchange: Don Coryell not in the Hall of Fame ‘ but should be

Features
1. Seth Wickersham, ESPN the Magazine: The curious case of Deion Sanders
2. Sean Jensen, Chicago Sun-Times: Bears’ Tommie Harris visited by his friend Randy Chon
3. David Weinberg, Press of Atlantic City: Antonio Dixon’s new life
Honorable Mention: Matt Crossman, Sporting News: The legend of Ndamukong Suh

Enterprise Features
1. Ian Rapoport, Boston Herald: Roster overhaul key to Patriots’ success
2. Seth Wickersham, ESPN the Magazine: You have terrible taste in prospects (story about scouts’ role in the draft)
3. Sean Jensen, Chicago Sun-Times: Julius Peppers’ hometown: Bailey, N.C.

Blogs
1. Ralph Vacchiano, New York Daily News
2. Brian Allee-Walsh, NewOrleans.com
3. Tim Graham, ESPN.com

2010 Winners

News
1. Teresa Walker, Associated Press, Nashville
2. Sean Jensen, St. Paul Pioneer Press
3. Greg Bedard, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Game Stories
1. Shalise Manza Young, Providence Journal
2. Kerry Byrne, Cold, Hard Football Facts
3. Bob McGinn, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Columns
1. Howard Balzer, Gridiron Gateway
2. Kerry Byrne, Cold, Hard Football Facts
3. Paul Kuharsky, ESPN.com

Features
1. Sean Jensen, St. Paul Pioneer Press
2. Marla Ridenour, Akron Beacon Journal
3. (Tie) Thomas Danyluk, Pro Football Weekly & Brian Heyman, West Chester (N.Y.) Journal News

Enterprise Features
1. Kerry Byrne, Cold, Hard Football Facts
2. Nolan Nawrocki, Pro Football Weekly
3. Nolan Nawrocki, Pro Football Weekly

Designed by Chris Pika