INDIANAPOLIS — While the Indianapolis Colts turned their collective attention to the 2019 season months ago, there are still some positive effects from the team's 2018 season being felt.
Case in point: the Pro Football Writers of America's (PFWA) 2019 off-field awards.
And the Colts are well-represented this year, as quarterback Andrew Luck and general manager Chris Ballard are both finalists in their respective categories. Look for the results to be announced starting on Monday:
» Andrew Luck; George Halas Award finalist: Named after the founder and former head coach of the Chicago Bears, the PFWA's annual George Halas Award is given to the NFL player, coach or staff member who overcomes the most adversity to succeed. According to the PFWA: "Luck had career-threatening shoulder surgery after the 2016 season, and sat out all of 2017. He came back in 2018 to have a career best 98.7 passer rating. In addition, he was voted the PFWA's NFL Comeback Player of the Year, was named to the Pro Bowl and led his team to a playoff victory over the Texans." Luck is one of five finalists for the George Halas Award; he's joined by Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner, New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman, former Houston Texans safety Andre Hal and Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier. Luck is looking to become the fifth member of the Colts organization to be names the George Halas Award winner (Bert Jones, 1979; Jim Harbaugh, 1997; Tony Dungy, 2006; Chuck Pagano, 2013).
» Chris Ballard; Jack Horigan Award finalist: A Navy veteran, Horigan was a sportswriter in Buffalo, N.Y., prior to jumping into a career as a public relations official with the AHL's Buffalo Bisons, the American Football League and the Buffalo Bills. The Jack Horigan 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." According to the PFWA: "A two-time finalist for the Horrigan Award in his three years as the Colts' general manager, Ballard just "gets it." He is accessible to both local and national media throughout the year and understands that transparency leads to better, more informed coverage. From one beat writer: "Maybe most important of all, he's been honest. I cannot think of an instance where he intentionally lied on or off the record. That has developed a trust, which must go both ways."" The four other Jack Horigan Award nominees this year are Dallas Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones, Pro Football Hall of Fame executive director Joe Horrigan, NFL Network communications manager Andrew Howard and Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay. Ballard is looking to become the first member of the Colts franchise to be named the Jack Horigan Award winner in its 46-year history.