Washington head coach Ron Rivera selected as PFWA 2023 Horrigan Award winner

Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera, lauded for his professional dealings with the media who cover the league, has been selected as the 2023 Horrigan Award winner by the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA).

Rivera, the 51st Horrigan Award winner, is the first member of the Washington franchise to receive the award, and the first head coach to win it since Bruce Arians with the Arizona Cardinals in 2015.

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. Jack Horrigan 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). Joe Horrigan is in his 44th year with the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame’s current senior advisor was executive director (2017-19), executive vice president of museums, selection process and chief communications officer (2014-17) and vice president, communications and exhibits (1996-2014).

Other 2023 nominees for the Horrigan Award were 49ers general manager John Lynch, NFL VP of communications Brian McCarthy, Los Angeles Rams general manager Les Snead and NFL EVP of football operations Troy Vincent.

Washington head coach Ron Rivera with PFWA first vice-president Nicki Jhabvala (left) and PFWA Washington Chapter president John Keim (right). Photo Credit: Emilee Fails/Washington Commanders

When he was hired as Washington’s head coach in 2020, Rivera became the face of the franchise. A camera-shy owner placed Rivera in the role of the team’s day-to-day spokesperson on nearly every aspect of the organization, and that responsibility has only grown the past three seasons as the team heads toward new ownership.

“Since Ron arrived in Washington three years ago, he’s undoubtedly endured more than any coach, on and off the field. He has been the voice of the team when ownership has been absent, and he has even battled cancer while coaching,” said Washington Post NFL reporter and PFWA first vice-president Nicki Jhabvala. “Rarely is there a quiet moment on the Washington beat, but in both good times and bad, Rivera has been readily accessible to local and national media, responding to late-day questions, sitting for numerous one-on-one interviews and going above and beyond to help us do our jobs, even when it makes his that much harder.”

ABOUT THE PFWA: In its 60th season in 2023, 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. Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News is the PFWA president for the 2023-24 seasons and the organization’s 31st president. Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post is the PFWA’s first vice-president, Michael-Shawn Dugar of The Athletic is the second vice-president, Lindsay Jones of The Ringer is the advisor to the president and Mike Sando of The Athletic is the secretary-treasurer. At-large board members include Mike Jones of The Athletic, ESPN.com’s Jeff Legwold, Joe Reedy of the Associated Press and ProFootballTalk.com’s Charean Williams. Follow the PFWA at ProFootballWriters.org and on Twitter at @PFWAwriters.

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 Sr. (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 Sr. (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 – Michael 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); 2019 – Joe Horrigan (Pro Football Hall of Fame); 2020 – Chris Ballard (Indianapolis Colts); 2021 – Brandon Beane (Buffalo Bills); 2022 – Michael Signora (NFL); 2023 – Ron Rivera (Washington Commanders)

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