On Monday, the Pro Football Writers of America honored former Denver Broncos' assistant Greg Knapp as one of two coaches selected as the 2022 Paul “Dr. Z” Zimmerman Award winners. Buffalo Bills' defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier was the other award recipient.
The prestigious award is named after Zimmerman, who’s renowned for his contributions to Sports Illustrated and professional football. It's voted on by PFWA members to recognize lifetime milestones and achievements in the NFL.
‘Dr. Z’ also served on the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee and was famous in his respective field for his utilization of his typewriter as a published author and journalist. He’d later suffer and succumb to the complications of a severe stroke in 2018.
Knapp worked in Denver from 2013-16 and was killed in a tragic accident last summer after being hit by a vehicle while riding his bicycle. He became the Broncos' quarterbacks coach in 2013 after Adam Gase took over the soon-to-be record-breaking offense before ascending to the role of offensive coordinator during the Peyton Manning era.
Knapp helped the Broncos break multiple league records, including Manning’s single-season passing records (55 touchdowns and 5,477 yards) in 2013. The Broncos' offense scored a jaw-dropping 606 points that season which still stands as the NFL's single-season record.
A native of Long Beach, California, Knapp played quarterback at Sacramento State before entering the league as an undrafted player in 1986. For most of his playing career in the NFL, he served as a practice squad and training camp competitor for the Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Raiders, and San Francisco 49ers.
After hanging up his cleats, Knapp started his coaching career in San Francisco and went on to become an NFL assistant for 25 years before landing in the ‘Mile High City.’ He previously worked for the 49ers, Atlanta Falcons, Oakland Raiders, Seattle Seahawks, Houston Texans, and New York Jets.
Knapp’s rich coaching legacy was unquestionably cemented after the 2015 Broncos won Super Bowl 50 against the Carolina Panthers.
Knapp is survived by his daughter, stepdaughters, and wife. He was previously honored in a moment of silence during a home game last season in 2021, and the Broncos honored the cycling enthusiast with a bicycle build event last fall in which bikes were donated to a local elementary school.
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