Michael Schottey of Bleacher Report, Michael Lev of the Orange County Register, Scott Pitoniak of the Rochester Business Journal, Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News, Seth Wickersham of ESPN the Magazine and Kyle J. Rodriguez of ColtsAuthority.com and Bleacher Report all won first place in their respective categories in the Professional Football Writers of America’s 2014 Dick Connor Writing Awards.
The Connor Awards encompass news, game stories, columns, features, enterprise features and blogs written by PFWA members from post-Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans through Super Bowl XLVIII in New York/New Jersey.
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. 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.
Three writers won category first-place honors and earned two total place awards:
Schottey took first place in the News category for “Reported NFL influence over ESPN latest blow to integrity on concussions”. He also came in third place in the Game Story category with “Latest Cowboys collapse is so much more than just Tony Romo”.
Lev captured the Game Stories category for his “Anatomy of the Colts’ incredible comeback”, and he was third in Columns with “NFL: The many facets of Richard Sherman”.
Vacchiano won the Features group with “Remembering Li’l Jack Pinto”, and he was second in Columns with “The evolution of Tom Coughlin”.
Other category winners include Wickersham, who repeated as the Enterprise Features winner for the third consecutive year with “The Hail Mary in Santa Clara”, Pitoniak, who won the Columns category with “Saga of O.J. Simpson still seems surreal decades later” and Rodriguez, who won the Blogs competition for his work covering the Indianapolis Colts for two publications.
Dan Pompei placed second and third in Enterprise Features to tie Schottey, Lev and Vacchiano for the most 2014 awards.
In all, 14 different PFWA members received a first-, second- or third-place award, or honorable mention.
The News, Game Stories, Columns, Features and Enterprise Features were judged by David McHam, journalism professor at the University of Houston who was the head of the journalism school at both Baylor and SMU before moving to UH.
The Blogs category was judged by Dave Goldberg, a former pro football writer at the Associated Press, and Glenn Drosendahl, a former sports editor at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and a writer for the Puget Sound Business Journal.
The full list of the 2014 winners follows:
2014 DICK CONNOR WRITING AWARDS
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
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
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
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
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 and Brian T. Smith, Houston Chronicle: 1993 Oilers – Team Turmoil
1. Kyle J. Rodriguez, Colts Authority & Bleacher Report
2. Brian Allee-Walsh, SportsNOLA.com
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 on a daily basis. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s D. Orlando Ledbetter, who covers the Atlanta Falcons, is the organization’s president for 2013-15, while ESPN.com’s Jeff Legwold, who covers the Denver Broncos, is the PFWA’s first vice-president and long-time national writer Dan Pompei is the organization’s second vice-president. Follow the PFWA at ProFootballWriters.org and on Twitter at @PFWAwriters.