The Detroit Lions public relations staff, lauded for overall professionalism with the reporters who cover the club has been selected as the 2023 Pete Rozelle Award winner by the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA).
The Lions PR staff, the 34th Rozelle Award winner, earned the award for the first time in franchise history.
The other 2023 finalists for the Rozelle Award were the Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
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 2022 season, the Lions football communications staff consisted of Eamonn Reynolds (director of football communications), Solomon Williams (senior manager of football communications), Greg Maiola (media information manager) and Ellie Cross (football communications assistant). The staff was also assisted by Tien Le (football communications seasonal intern), Sydney Gibbs (football communications seasonal intern), Ellen Trudell (senior manager, corporate and employee communications), Haley Prappas (internal communications coordinator) and Brian Facchini (chief communications and brand officer).
A finalist for the second straight year, the Lions’ PR team continued to provide beat writers exclusive access to head coach Dan Campbell, his assistants, and members of Detroit’s front office, often going above and beyond to honor requests. They orchestrated a lunch with assistant coaches and coordinators at the scouting combine and facilitated one-on-one interviews with free agent signees during the offseason.
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.
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; 2019 – Los Angeles Rams; 2020 – Indianapolis Colts; 2021 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers; 2022 – New England Patriots; 2023 – Detroit Lions