NFL senior vice president of football and international communications Michael Signora, lauded for his professional dealings with the media who cover the league, has been selected as the 2022 Horrigan Award winner by the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA).
Signora, the 50th Horrigan Award winner, becomes the second person to receive the award twice, as he was also the 2013 honoree (the late Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney Sr. won the Horrigan Award in 1975 and 1984). Signora is part of a group of six NFL communications executives – Joe Browne (1985), Leslie Hammond (1995), Greg Aiello (1999), Steve Alic (2007) and Randal Liu (2018) – who have received the Horrigan Award.
The Horrigan 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. This year, the PFWA honored the Horrigan family — father Jack and son Joe — for their contributions in assisting writers over the decades in several roles by renaming the original Jack Horrigan Award (1973-2021) to the Horrigan Award.
Jack Horrigan was a sportswriter for UPI and the Buffalo Evening News, public relations director for the American Football League (1963-66) and vice president of public relations for the Buffalo Bills (1966-73). Joe Horrigan is in his 43rd year with the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame’s current senior advisor was executive director (2017-19), executive vice president of museums, selection process and chief communications officer (2014-17) and vice president, communications and exhibits (1996-2014).
Other 2022 nominees for the Horrigan Award were Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert, Los Angeles Rams chief operating officer Kevin Demoff, NFL vice president of communications Brian McCarthy and Rams general manager Les Snead.
Signora has been with the NFL since 1996. He is responsible for organizing and implementing media policy for all writers and other media, leads media operations at NFL events, and he also oversees the league’s international media operations.
“During the past two pandemic-impacted seasons, Mike worked tirelessly behind the scenes on media access policies that would comply with the league’s COVID-19 rules. It was a pretty thankless job, as we in the media always wanted more access of course, but Mike’s even-keeled demeanor helped us collaboratively work through these unique challenges,” said PFWA president Lindsay Jones of The Athletic. “We also appreciate Mike’s responsiveness to football operations matters and the work he and the league’s communications staff, especially Brian McCarthy, who was also a finalist for this award, did in providing answers to questions from the media year round and at all hours of the day.”
ABOUT THE PFWA: In its 59th season in 2022, 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. Lindsay Jones of The Athletic is the PFWA president for the 2021-22 seasons and the organization’s 30th president. Jenny Vrentas of Sports Illustrated is the PFWA’s first vice-president, Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News is the second vice-president and Mike Sando of The Athletic is the secretary-treasurer. At-large board members include USA Today’s Mike Jones, ESPN.com’s Jeff Legwold, The Athletic’s Dan Pompei and ProFootballTalk.com’s Charean Williams. Follow the PFWA at ProFootballWriters.org and on Twitter at @PFWAwriters.
HORRIGAN AWARD WINNERS (To the league or club official for his or her qualities and professional style in helping the pro football writers do their job) Year indicates when award was presented for previous season: 1973 – John Breen (Houston Oilers); 1974 – O.J. Simpson (Buffalo Bills); 1975 – Art Rooney Sr. (Pittsburgh Steelers); 1976 – Floyd Little (Denver Broncos); 1977 – Jerry Wynn (San Diego Chargers); 1978 – Bob Peck (Denver Broncos); 1979 – John Madden (Oakland Raiders); 1980 – Bum Phillips (Houston Oilers); 1981 – Bob Sprenger (Kansas City Chiefs); 1982 – Joe Gordon (Pittsburgh Steelers); 1983 – Archie Manning (New Orleans Saints/Houston Oilers); 1984 – Art Rooney Sr. (Pittsburgh Steelers); 1985 – Joe Browne (NFL); 1986 – Dick Steinberg (New England Patriots); 1987 – Charlie Dayton (Atlanta Falcons); 1988 – Art Modell (Cleveland Browns); 1989 – Tom Landry (Dallas Cowboys); 1990 – George Young (New York Giants); 1991 – Jim Finks (New Orleans Saints); 1992 – John Robinson (Los Angeles Rams); 1993 – Warren Moon (Houston Oilers); 1994 – Don Shula (Miami Dolphins); 1995 – Leslie Hammond (NFL); 1996 – Ron Wolf (Green Bay Packers); 1997 – Don Smith (Pro Football Hall of Fame); 1998 – Tony Dungy (Tampa Bay Buccaneers); 1999 – Greg Aiello (NFL); 2000 – Ernie Accorsi (New York Giants); 2001 – Jeff Fisher (Tennessee Titans); 2002 – Charley Casserly (Houston Texans); 2003 – Herman Edwards (New York Jets); 2004 – Ozzie Newsome (Baltimore Ravens); 2005 – Rich McKay (Atlanta Falcons); 2006 – Floyd Reese (Tennessee Titans); 2007 – Steve Alic (NFL); 2008 – Mike Holmgren (Seattle Seahawks); 2009 – Dan Rooney (Pittsburgh Steelers); 2010 – Gil Brandt (NFL.com); 2011 – Rex Ryan (New York Jets); 2012 – Thomas Dimitroff (Atlanta Falcons); 2013 – Michael Signora (NFL); 2014 – Pete Carroll (Seattle Seahawks); 2015 – Bruce Arians (Arizona Cardinals); 2016 – John Elway (Denver Broncos); 2017 – Mike Mayock (NFL Network); 2018 – Randall Liu (NFL); 2019 – Joe Horrigan (Pro Football Hall of Fame); 2020 – Chris Ballard (Indianapolis Colts); 2021 – Brandon Beane (Buffalo Bills); 2022 – Michael Signora (NFL)