The Minnesota Vikings public relations staff, which was lauded for excelling in helping Twin Cities and national media cover the club, has been selected as the 2018 Pete Rozelle Award winner by the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA).
The Vikings PR staff, the 29th Rozelle Award winner, earned the award for the first time in club history, and Minnesota is the 15th different NFL organization to receive the honor since it was first awarded in 1990.
The other 2018 nominees for the Rozelle Award were the Buffalo Bills, Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Rams and the Miami Dolphins.
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.
During the 2017 season, Minnesota’s PR staff consisted of Bob Hagan (executive director of public relations) along with Tom West (director of public relations), Jeff Anderson (executive director of communications), Jon Ekstrom (public relations manager) and Sam Newton (public relations assistant). The Vikings were also assisted by interns Carly Bonk, Danielle Burns and Walt Scher.
“The Vikings’ PR department is one of the more accommodating and diligent departments I’ve experienced since I started covering the NFL in 1991. Bob Hagan, Tom West, Jeff Anderson, Jon Ekstrom, Sam Newton and everyone who works daily with the media understand and appreciate our needs, and they make sincere efforts to help us,” said Mark Craig, who covers the Vikings and the NFL for The Star Tribune. “At a time when it’s easy for teams to steer all player access to the podium to be captured by their own entertainment networks, I’ve found that the Vikings’ PR department does a consistently excellent job setting up one on one access with players, coaches and front office executives. That, to me, is invaluable in today’s overcrowded media environment.”
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.
PETE ROZELLE AWARD WINNERS (To the club public relations department that consistently strives for excellence in its dealings and relationships with the media) Year indicates when award was presented for previous season: 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; 2016 – Denver Broncos; 2017 – Baltimore Ravens & Houston Texans; 2018 – Minnesota Vikings