The late Dave Goldberg, who spent 41 years at The Associated Press including 25 as the AP’s lead NFL writer from 1984-2009, has been selected as the 2015 Dick McCann Award winner by the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA).
Goldberg, the 47th McCann Award winner, is the second member of the AP to receive the McCann Award, joining Jack Hand, who was honored in 1976. Goldberg died Feb. 8, 2015, at the age of 73, in Mount Kisco, New York, from complications following hip surgery.
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.
“Dave not only was a walking encyclopedia of NFL information, but he relayed it in his inimitable style, always entertaining while always enlightening,” said AP pro football writer Barry Wilner. “Having worked 24 Super Bowls at his side, I came to recognize that Dave saw well beyond the Xs and Os of the game. He found the stories that really mattered, doing so fairly, concisely and with that journalistic edge that fascinated not only his millions of readers, but his peers.”
Goldberg was a former football and baseball player and graduate of Williams College, and he did graduate study at Stanford. Goldberg joined the AP in 1968, beginning a rapid rise from state house correspondent in Trenton, New Jersey, to news editor in that state, to assistant bureau chief in Chicago to the general news desk in New York, where he quickly rose to supervisory positions. He soon was elevated to a features writer, editor and supervisor, frequently handling political stories.
Goldberg joined the AP’s sports desk in 1982, and before becoming the lead football writer, he covered a variety of other sports. He moved to the NFL beat in 1984 and covered the league and three commissioners – Pete Rozelle, Paul Tagliabue and Roger Goodell. His background as a political reporter was put to good use during his coverage of two player strikes and the USFL-NFL trial. After his retirement from the AP, Goldberg stayed active by writing for AOL Fanhouse, and he was a longtime member of the selection committee for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Goodell remarked after Goldberg’s death, “The NFL community has lost a good friend and highly respected professional. Dave’s integrity, passion, and sense of fairness enabled him to maintain excellent working relationships with team owners, coaches, players, and commissioners. He was a real pro who served NFL fans exceptionally well with his coverage of the league for many years.”
Goldberg will be honored during the 2015 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony on August 8 in Canton, Ohio.
If you could ask Dave about winning the McCann Award, he’d be more likely to tell a story (or six) about McCann rather than concentrate on himself,” Wilner said. “Every one of those stories would be as entertaining as the others.”
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. Jeff Legwold, who covers the Denver Broncos for ESPN.com, is the organization’s president for 2015-17, while Bleacher Report national columnist Dan Pompei is the PFWA’s first vice-president and ESPN’s Jim Trotter is the organization’s second 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).