2024 PFWA Off-Field Award finalists announced

Each year, the members of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) vote for several off-field awards given to people working in or associated with the NFL. The 2024 Off-Field Awards balloting is underway through May 24, with the winners announced later in the month.

The Off-Field Awards the PFWA membership will vote on:

George Halas Award (NFL player, coach or staff member who overcomes the most adversity to succeed)

Good Guy Award (NFL player for his qualities and professional style in helping pro football writers do their jobs)

Bill Nunn Jr. Award (Reporter who has made a long and distinguished contribution to pro football through coverage)

Horrigan Award (League or club official for his or her qualities and professional style in helping the pro football writers do their job)

Pete Rozelle Award (NFL club public relations staff that consistently strives for excellence in its dealings and relationships with the media)

Paul “Dr. Z” Zimmerman Award (Lifetime achievement as an assistant coach in the NFL)

Terez A. Paylor Emerging Writer Award (Young NFL writer who carries on the legacy of Paylor through his or her work ethic, professionalism, and dedication to the craft and commitment to improving diversity in NFL media)

Here are the biographies of the 2024 finalists in each category. The links go to the individual page for each award, with overall information, winners and finalists from each year listed.

George Halas Award (NFL player, coach or staff member who overcomes the most adversity to succeed):

QB Joe Flacco, Cleveland Browns — After finishing the 2022 season with the New York Jets, Flacco was not on an 2023 NFL roster until Cleveland signed him in late November after a season-ending injury to Deshawn Watson. Flacco made his Browns debut in Week 13, and he led Cleveland to a 4-1 record as a starter on the way to a AFC Wild Card berth, and he became the first player in NFL history to record at least 250 passing years and two TD passes in each of his first five games with a team. Over those five games, he led the NFL in passing yards per game (323.2) and tied for second in the league with 13 passing TDs.

WR John Metchie III, Houston Texans — After being drafted by Houston in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft, he was placed on the active/non-football illness list on July 24 and he missed the entire 2022 season after he was diagnosed with a form of leukemia and receiving treatment. He was reinstated to the active roster on Feb. 15, 2023 and made his NFL debut in Week 2 vs. Indianapolis. Metchie played in 16 games for the Texans with 16 receptions for 158 yards during the 2023 season.

QB Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins — Tagovailoa was placed in the NFL’s concussion protocol twice and limited him to 13 games in 2022. He briefly considered retirement in the offseason due to his injuries, but returned to the field to play in all 17 games in 2023. He led the NFL in passing yards with 4,624 and threw for 29 touchdowns and posted a passer rating of 101.1. He was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week for Week 1 after a 466-yard passing performance, and he also picked up AFC Offensive Player of the Month honors for September.

Good Guy Award (NFL player for his qualities and professional style in helping pro football writers do their jobs):

G Joel Bitonio, Cleveland Browns — Bitonio was voted by the Cleveland PFWA chapter as the winner of the 2023 Dino Lucarelli Good Guy Award, the fourth time he has won the award (2017, 2018, 2021 [co-winner] and 2023).

T Dion Dawkins, Buffalo Bills — Dawkins is a multiple-time Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee who never turns down a media request and always talks after tough losses. He is probably the best player on a Super Bowl contender who speaks every day, and he is not a once-a-week player for interviews. Dawkins is also highly involved in local charities.

DE Brandon Graham, Philadelphia Eagles — Graham thoughtfully answers questions, even as the media line at his locker at the NovaCare Complex grows. For local reporters, he has long been a go-to quote. Graham is not only readily available during open locker room, but he gives insight into the Eagles and NFL-related issues, no matter how sensitive the subject. It takes national reporters who come into Philly little time to figure out which Eagles player is most accommodating.

QB Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys — Prescott speaks not only once a week on Thursdays, but he is available for off-the-record conversations on Wednesdays with reporters. It’s a small group, but Prescott talks about various topics. Prescott also spoke after a preseason game in Seattle, and he didn’t play in the game. He is one of the more accessible players on the Cowboys.

QB C.J. Stroud, Houston Texans — Stroud has already built a strong rapport with the local and national media. He grants one-on-one interviews, even during game week. He understands that media members have jobs to do and always answers questions thoughtfully, and on occasion with humor. He is gracious with his time, and has established himself in the Houston community through his foundation.

Bill Nunn Jr. Award (Reporter who has made a long and distinguished contribution to pro football through coverage):

Mary Kay Cabot — Cabot has covered the Cleveland Browns for nearly four decades for the Cleveland Plain Dealer and Cleveland.com. Her career has encompassed Bill Belichick’s coaching tenure, Art Modell’s move to Baltimore and the franchise’s 1999 rebirth and too many quarterback changes to count. She is an at-large member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s selection committee, was voted 2015 Ohio Sportswriter of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association and has been an analyst for NFL Network and Cleveland television and radio.

Vic Carucci — Carucci has observed the NFL as a writer and broadcaster over the last five decades, and he is currently covering the league as a co-host on SiriusXM NFL Radio and as a writer for The 33rd Team, and he also analyzes the Buffalo Bills for WGRZ-TV. He worked at the Buffalo News over two stints, most recently from 2014-21 after previously working for the newspaper for 17 years (1982-99) during the Bills’ Super Bowl era. In between his stints in Buffalo, he worked as a national editor at NFL.com for 12 years (1999-2011) and as a senior editor with the Cleveland Browns (2011-14). He began covering the NFL as the Philadelphia Eagles beat writer at the Courier-Post (N.J.) from 1979-81. Carucci has authored 10 books about football, including multiple New York Times bestsellers, was president of the PFWA during the 1993-94 seasons and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s selection committee.

D. Orlando Ledbetter — Ledbetter has covered the Atlanta Falcons for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution since 2006. He has covered the Michael Vick dog-fighting case, Bobby Petrino’s less than one season tenure and the Falcons Super Bowl appearance in 2016. Ledbetter also helped cover the Bengals for the Cincinnati Enquirer and Packers for the Milwaukee Journal and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s selection committee and a past winner of Georgia Sportswriter of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. He also is a past president of the Professional Football Writers of America.

Jeff Legwold — Legwold has written about the NFL since 1988, and he is currently a senior writer for ESPN.com. He covered the Broncos for nine years for the Denver Post (2004-09) and Rocky Mountain News (2009-13) before joining ESPN.com in 2013 as the Broncos’ reporter. Prior to his time in Denver, he covered the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans for The Tennessean (1995-2004), the Buffalo Bills for the Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle and the Pittsburgh Steelers for Gannett Newspapers. Legwold represents Denver on the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee, and he is part of the senior selection committee. Legwold was the PFWA president for the 2015-16 seasons.

Barry Wilner — Wilner covered the NFL for The Associated Press from 1985 until his retirement in July 2022. He helped lead and organize the national and local coverage while also covering the league’s news and events on a national scale. He also regularly broke stories for the AP during that time, using his numerous connections he made in league circles. Wilner first covered the New York Jets as the AP’s beat writer from 1985-2004. He added national duties in 1988, also covering NFL-wide news and events, while also staying on top of the Jets beat. Wilner switched to covering the NFL as a whole in 2005, and he eventually took over as the AP’s point man for all things NFL when the late Dave Goldberg retired in 2009, and he served in that role until his retirement. He staffed 36 Super Bowls for AP, oversaw the AP postseason awards voting and is a longtime Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee member.

Horrigan Award (League, club or other official for his or her qualities and professional style in helping the pro football writers do their job):

GM John Lynch, San Francisco 49ers — In a Hall of Fame career that lasted 15 seasons, Lynch became known as one of the best talkers in the game. That has continued into his seven-season career as the 49ers’ general manager. He is as quotable as he is accessible, making as much news as any general manger in the league.

VP, Communications Brian McCarthy, NFL — McCarthy, who joined the NFL in 1994, facilitates national and local media requests on a variety of topics. He serves as the point on off-the-field matters ranging from league policies to stadium issues to personal conduct matters. He has helped promote the league’s events, such as the combine, draft, schedule release, and turned them into marquee programs.

GM Les Snead, Los Angeles Rams — In his 13th season as the Rams’ general manager in 2023, Snead built the Rams into Super Bowl champions with an aggressiveness that included the hiring of Sean McVay as the league’s youngest coach and a flurry of trades and free agent signings. He has maintained an open-door policy with the media, who have relied on him to discuss and analyze his decisions.

EVP, Football Operations Troy Vincent, NFL — Since 2014, he has been the league’s point man for on-field issues, including rules changes and adjustments. He also has become an important voice in promoting diversity hiring for teams and for the NFL.

Pete Rozelle Award (NFL club public relations staff that consistently strives for excellence in its dealings and relationships with the media):

Dallas Cowboys — A finalist for the second consecutive year, the Cowboys continued to regularly facilitate off-the-record access to the team’s top decision makers, under the direction of Tad Carper, senior VP of communications.

Las Vegas Raiders — The Raiders are a Rozelle Award finalist for the first time in franchise history. Will Kiss, who has served as the Raiders’ senior director of media relations since 2013, and his comms group dealt with a challenging season that saw the Raiders change their head coach and general manager after Week 8.

Los Angeles Rams — A two-time winner of the Rozelle Award (1997 and 2019), the Rams return to a finalist spot for the first time since their 2019 award season. Led by Artis Twyman, the Rams PR staff works with one of the NFL’s most accessible GM/head coach combos in Les Snead and Sean McVay.

Miami Dolphins — The Dolphins are a two-time winner of the award, most recently in 1999. This is their 11th year as a finalist. The communications staff, led by Anne Noland, continued to help beat writers cover the franchise as Miami qualified for the playoffs for the second consecutive season.

San Francisco 49ers — The 49ers PR staff are a Rozelle finalist for the first time since 2014, and the franchise has never won the award. Corry Rush, who just completed his third season as VP of football communications, oversees a staff that assists with media access to key decision makers, like GM John Lynch.

Paul “Dr. Z” Zimmerman Award (Lifetime achievement as an assistant coach in the NFL) — TWO RECIPIENTS IN 2024:

Larry Beightol — Beightol spent 22 years coaching offensive linemen with eight NFL teams: Atlanta (1986), Tampa Bay (1987-88), San Diego (1989), New York Jets (1990-94), Houston Oilers (1995); Miami (1996-98), Green Bay (1999-2005) and Detroit (2006). “Beck” coached four Packers franchise Hall of Famers (center Frank Winters, guard Marco Rivera, and tackles Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher) during a period when Green Bay went to the playoffs four times in his seven seasons. Beightol began his career as an offensive line coach at William & Mary, NC State, Auburn, Arkansas and Missouri. He spent one year as a head coach at Louisiana Tech.

Bill Callahan — With 25 seasons in the NFL and 46 overall in coaching, Callahan was hired as Tennessee’s offensive line coach in 2024. During his time in the NFL, he has spent 22 seasons coaching the offensive line and seven years as offensive coordinator. He has guided 14 offensive linemen to a total of 35 Pro Bowl selections. Callahan spent the previous four seasons (2020-23) with Cleveland as the O-line coach. He also coached with Washington (2015-19), Dallas (2012-14), New York Jets (2008-11), Oakland (1998-2003; including 2002-03 as head coach), and he began his NFL career with Philadelphia (1995-97). He was head coach at Nebraska (2004-07) as part of a 15-season collegiate coaching career, and also spent two seasons in the high school ranks.

Tom Catlin — Catlin, a long-time defensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks, began his coaching career with the Dallas Texans in the early days of the AFL. Known for his stoic demeanor and penchant for precision – Chuck Knox once said “no one was going to be out of alignment’’ – Catlin’s career spanned three decades, 19 of those alongside Knox. In Catlin’s 10 years as the Seattle Seahawks assistant head coach or defensive coordinator, Kenny Easley won the league’s Defensive Player of the Year Award in 1984 and Cortez Kennedy was the league’s Defensive Player of the Year.. The Seahawks 1991 defense allowed just 261 points, which was a franchise record for a 16-game season until the Super Bowl winning 2013 Seahawks allowed 231. He spent five seasons as Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator, 12 as the Los Angeles Rams linebackers coach after he had started his coaching career with the Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs in the AFL. After Catlin’s death in 2008 from complications from surgery, former Seahawks defensive tackle Joe Nash said: “He dissected the other team, and he got us so well prepared. It was almost like he knew what they were doing before they knew what they were doing.”

Steve Spagnuolo — Spagnuolo just completed his fifth season as the Chiefs defensive coordinator and 24th in the NFL in 2023. He has coordinated four Super Bowl champion teams, and he is the only coordinator in NFL history to win a Super Bowl with two different franchises (N.Y. Giants 2007; Kansas City 2019, 2022, 2023). His 2023 defensive unit ranked second in both points and yards allowed and held San Francisco’s offense down late in the Chiefs’ OT victory in Super Bowl LVIII. He was the defensive coordinator for the New York Giants (2015-17) and the Giants’ interim head coach for the final four weeks of the 2017 season. Spagnuolo began his NFL career with Philadelphia (1999-2006), followed by stints with the Giants (2007-08), the St. Louis Rams (2009-11), New Orleans (2012) and Baltimore (2013-14) before returning to the Giants.

Jeff Stoutland — Stoutland just completed his 11th season with Philadelphia and his 41st as a pro or college coach in 2023. The Eagles’ run game coordinator/offensive line coach has developed some of the NFL’s best offensive lines, tutoring Pro Bowl players during each of his 11 seasons with the Eagles – becoming one of two O-line coaches since the 1970 merger to produce Pro Bowlers in 11 consecutive seasons. Four of his players – tackle Lane Johnson, center Jason Kelce, guard Evan Mathis and tackle Jason Peters – have been named All-Pro a combined 13 times to go with 23 Pro Bowl selections. His lines have helped set numerous Eagles team records including rushing TDs (32 in 2022; tied-fourth in NFL history), rushing yards (2,715 in 2021) and the 2013 line blocked for NFL-leading rusher LeSean McCoy. Prior to his time in Philadelphia, Stoutland coached in college at Alabama, Miami (Fla.), Michigan State, Syracuse, Cornell and Southern Connecticut State.

Terez A. Paylor Emerging Writer Award (Young NFL writer who carries on the legacy of Paylor through his or her work ethic, professionalism, and dedication to the craft and commitment to improving diversity in NFL media):

Ben Arthur, AFC South reporter, Fox Sports — Ben covers the AFC South for Fox Sports and previously covered the Tennessee Titans for The Tennessean for two seasons. He also covered the Seattle Seahawks for Seattlepi.com for two years. The multimedia journalist delivers insightful work that not only includes quality game coverage, but also shows the human side of athletes.

DJ Bien-Aime, Houston Texans beat reporter, ESPN — Bien-Aime is the Texans reporter for ESPN. Prior to ESPN, he covered the New York Jets for the New York Daily News. He provided pristine football analysis on the Jets and wrote enterprise stories. He also covered high school and D-2 sports in St Augustine, Florida for the St. Augustine Record as an sports enterprise reporter.

Katherine Fitzgerald, Buffalo Bills beat reporter, Buffalo News — Fitzgerald is the Bills beat writer for the Buffalo News. She previously was a sports reporter for the Arizona Republic and USA Today. Fitzgerald has covered Olympic sports in addition to her NFL coverage.

Daniel Oyefusi, Miami Dolphins beat reporter, Miami Herald — Oyefusi is the Miami Dolphins beat reporter for the Miami Herald, delivering strong coverage with features, analytical pieces and news. Prior to that, he covered the Ravens and other breaking sports news for the Baltimore Sun.

Colton Pouncy, Detroit Lions beat reporter, The Athletic — Pouncy is a staff writer for The Athletic covering the Detroit Lions. He previously covered Michigan State football and basketball for the company, and covered sports for The Tennessean in Nashville prior to joining The Athletic.

Kris Rhim, Los Angeles Chargers beat reporter, ESPN — Rhim has been the Chargers beat writer for ESPN since September 2023. He also worked for the Baltimore Banner covering the Ravens and was a feature writer for the Atlanta Falcons. Earlier in his career, Rhim was a New York Times Sports Reporting Fellow and an intern for the Boston Globe.

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