Former NFL senior director of football communications Randall Liu, who spent 18 years on the league’s communications staff, has been selected as the 2018 Jack Horrigan Award winner by the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA).
Liu, the 46th Horrigan Award winner, is the eighth person who has worked for the NFL to receive the honor, joining Joe Browne (1985), Leslie Hammond (1995), Greg Aiello (1999), Steve Alic (2007), Gil Brandt (2010), Mike Signora (2013) and Mike Mayock (2017).
The Horrigan Award is given to the league or club official for his or her qualities and professional style in helping the pro football writers do their job. The award is named for Horrigan, who was a sportswriter for UPI and the Buffalo Evening News, public relations director for the American Football League (1963-66) and vice president of public relations for the Buffalo Bills (1966-73).
Liu, who left the NFL to join CBS Sports as vice president of communications in May 2018, was nominated for the Horrigan Award for his professionalism, promptness, candor and effectiveness in coordinating media access at the NFL’s major events, including the Super Bowl.
Other 2018 nominees for the Horrigan Award were Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard, Dallas Cowboys owner/president/general manager Jerry Jones, NFL VP of communications Brian McCarthy and Los Angeles Rams general manager Les Snead.
“Randall is a godsend. He doesn’t just know statistics, he knows a good story and what reporters want,” said Sam Farmer, who covers the NFL for the Los Angeles Times. “He’s unfailingly upbeat, has a great sense of humor, and generally makes our professional lives easier.”
Liu began his career with the NFL in 2000 as a public relations assistant. Liu was promoted to public relations coordinator in 2005 and was named NFC information manager in 2007. He was elevated to director of NFC football communications in 2011 and promoted to senior director of football communications in 2017. In that role, Liu oversaw the creation and execution of all on-field publicity for the NFL, served as the league office’s communications contact for the 32 clubs as well as an NFL spokesman for football-related inquiries.
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.
JACK HORRIGAN AWARD WINNERS (To the league or club official for his or her qualities and professional style in helping the pro football writers do their job) Year indicates when award was presented for previous season: 1973 – John Breen (Houston Oilers); 1974 – O.J. Simpson (Buffalo Bills); 1975 – Art Rooney (Pittsburgh Steelers); 1976 – Floyd Little (Denver Broncos); 1977 – Jerry Wynn (San Diego Chargers); 1978 – Bob Peck (Denver Broncos); 1979 – John Madden (Oakland Raiders); 1980 – Bum Phillips (Houston Oilers); 1981 – Bob Sprenger (Kansas City Chiefs); 1982 – Joe Gordon (Pittsburgh Steelers); 1983 – Archie Manning (New Orleans Saints/Houston Oilers); 1984 – Art Rooney (Pittsburgh Steelers); 1985 – Joe Browne (NFL); 1986 – Dick Steinberg (New England Patriots); 1987 – Charlie Dayton (Atlanta Falcons); 1988 – Art Modell (Cleveland Browns); 1989 – Tom Landry (Dallas Cowboys); 1990 – George Young (New York Giants); 1991 – Jim Finks (New Orleans Saints); 1992 – John Robinson (Los Angeles Rams); 1993 – Warren Moon (Houston Oilers); 1994 – Don Shula (Miami Dolphins); 1995 – Leslie Hammond (NFL); 1996 – Ron Wolf (Green Bay Packers); 1997 – Don Smith (Pro Football Hall of Fame); 1998 – Tony Dungy (Tampa Bay Buccaneers); 1999 – Greg Aiello (NFL); 2000 – Ernie Accorsi (New York Giants); 2001 – Jeff Fisher (Tennessee Titans); 2002 – Charley Casserly (Houston Texans); 2003 – Herman Edwards (New York Jets); 2004 – Ozzie Newsome (Baltimore Ravens); 2005 – Rich McKay (Atlanta Falcons); 2006 – Floyd Reese (Tennessee Titans); 2007 – Steve Alic (NFL); 2008 – Mike Holmgren (Seattle Seahawks); 2009 – Dan Rooney (Pittsburgh Steelers); 2010 – Gil Brandt (NFL.com); 2011 – Rex Ryan (New York Jets); 2012 – Thomas Dimitroff (Atlanta Falcons); 2013 – Mike Signora (NFL); 2014 – Pete Carroll (Seattle Seahawks); 2015 – Bruce Arians (Arizona Cardinals); 2016 – John Elway (Denver Broncos); 2017 – Mike Mayock (NFL Network); 2018 – Randall Liu (NFL)