INDIANAPOLIS — For the second day in a row, the Indianapolis Colts have been recognized for their off-the-field efforts by the Pro Football Writers of America.
On Thursday, general manager Chris Ballard became the first Colts official to be named the PFWA’s Jack Horrigan Award winner, which is given annually to "a league or club official for his or her qualities and professional style in helping the pro football writers do their job."
Today, the Colts Communications staff was announced as the PFWA's 2020 Pete Rozelle Award winner, which recognizes "the NFL club public relations staff that consistently strives for excellence in its dealings and relationships with the media."
It's the second time in the 31-year history of the Pete Rozelle Award that the Colts have been recognized; the team's PR staff also won the award in 1996.
Stephen Holder, who has covered the Colts for The Indianapolis Star and, currently, The Athletic, since 2013, serves as the Indianapolis PFWA chapter president, and said he gives the Colts "a lot of credit for buying into an organization-wide effort to prioritize media access."
"That's when you see real results," Holder said. "And because of that buy-in, the public relations staff is able to go to bat for reporters and make a case for why a particular request should be granted. This is true with both team staff and players.
"Reporters are very used to hearing 'No,'" Holder continued. "But when you feel like someone is truly making a case on your behalf for the access you need, that means a lot regardless of the outcome. I really appreciate the Colts' professionalism in this area, which often is a stressful part of the job."
The Colts Communications staff from the 2019 season included: Steve Campbell, Vice President of Communications; Matt Conti, Director of Football Communications; Christian Edwards, Assistant Director of Communications; Pam Humphrey, Communications Coordinator; Hayden Clark, Communications Assistant; and Kaila Lewis, Communications Intern.
"We are proud to have such talented people in our Communications Department, and this recognition is well-deserved," said Pete Ward, the Colts' Chief Operating Officer. "They are consummate professionals and are terrific ambassadors for the Colts franchise."
Other nominees for this year's Pete Rozelle Award were the PR staffs of the Baltimore Ravens, Denver Broncos, New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers.
Rozelle served as the NFL's commissioner from 1960-89, but started his career in sports PR with roles as a student at both Compton (Calif.) Junior College and the University of San Francisco. He served two years as USF's assistant athletic director after graduation, and entered the NFL as the Los Angeles Rams' PR director, a role he served from 1952-55.
According to the PFWA, "Rozelle used his PR principles as commissioner to build relationships with the media during a period of unprecedented growth and challenge for the league."