The Pittsburgh Steelers public relations staff has been selected as the 2015 Pete Rozelle Award winners by the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA).
The Steelers, the 26th Rozelle Award winners, earned the award for the second time in club history. Pittsburgh’s PR staff also won the award in 1991.
The Rozelle Award is given to the NFL club public relations staff that consistently strives for excellence in its dealings and relationships with the media. The award is named for Rozelle, NFL commissioner from 1960-89, who started his distinguished career in sports PR roles as a student at both Compton (Calif.) Junior College and the University of San Francisco. After two more years as USF’s assistant athletic director after graduation, he broke into the NFL as the PR director of the Los Angeles Rams from 1952-55. Rozelle used his PR principles as commissioner to build relationships with the media during a period of unprecedented growth and challenge for the league.
Pittsburgh’s PR department is led by Burt Lauten (communications coordinator), assisted by Dominick Rinelli (public relations/media manager) and Ryan Scarpino (public relations assistant). The department was also assisted by media relations intern Christian Edwards.
“I have been around some good public relations staffs through my years covering sports, and I will place the one Burt Lauten heads in Pittsburgh with the best of them,” said Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter Ed Bouchette. “Burt has been one of those PR people who ‘get it.’ He understands the jobs we have and helps in the kinds of ways some of the best in his business know how to do – by working with the reporters and columnists and TV men on their stories and offering guidance when asked or even when not. Is there a beat man or woman who has not received a phone call from Burt before the team they cover played the Steelers? It’s one of the many ways he has helped turn Pittsburgh’s PR office into the kind of place reporters and writers can turn to for help with a story and actually receive a phone call in return, whether they are dealing with the tough story or a mundane one. I began covering the Steelers when the great Joe Gordon was their public relations director, and was fortunate to also have dealt with the likes of Dan Edwards and Pat Hanlon. Burt is in their league, and he has put together an excellent staff that includes Dom Rinelli and Ryan Scarpino, which can stand up to the best the NFL has to offer.”
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.
PETE ROZELLE AWARD WINNERS (To the club public relations department that consistently strives for excellence in its dealings and relationships with the media): 1990 – Denver Broncos; 1991 – Pittsburgh Steelers; 1992 – Seattle Seahawks; 1993 – Miami Dolphins; 1994 – Houston Oilers; 1995 – New York Giants; 1996 – Indianapolis Colts; 1997 – St. Louis Rams; 1998 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers; 1999 – Miami Dolphins; 2000 – Tennessee Titans; 2001 – New York Giants; 2002 – Philadelphia Eagles; 2003 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers; 2004 – Houston Texans; 2005 – Philadelphia Eagles; 2006 – Cincinnati Bengals; 2007 – Houston Texans; 2008 – Seattle Seahawks; 2009 – Arizona Cardinals; 2010 – Houston Texans; 2011 – Baltimore Ravens; 2012 – Houston Texans; 2013 – Baltimore Ravens; 2014 – Denver Broncos; 2015 – Pittsburgh Steelers.