Ex-Falcons coach Mike Zimmer wins PFWA’s Halas award

Former Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer (right) was named the PFWA's George Halas Award winner.  (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

Former Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer (right) was named the PFWA's George Halas Award winner. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

Former Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, currently of the Bengals, was name the Halas Award winner today by the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA).

The Halas Award goes to the individual in the NFL who overcame the most adversity to succeed last season.

Safety Thomas DeCoud "congradtulating" Saints quarterback Drew Brees on Monday Night Football on Nov. 2. The hit led to a Falcons touchdown.

Safety Thomas DeCoud "congratulating" Saints quarterback Drew Brees on Monday Night Football on Nov. 2. The hit led to a Falcons touchdown.

Zimmer’s wife, Vicki, passed away suddenly on Oct. 8 in the family’s home. The couple had been married 27 years.

Three days later, Zimmer was with the team for their game in Baltimore, which they won, 17-14. For the 2009 season, the Bengals ranked fourth in the NFL in total defense, their highest ranking since 1993.

“Anytime your name is mentioned with George Halas, and all the other people who have won this award in the past, it’s

a terrific honor,” said Zimmer, who was the Falcons defensive coordinator for the 2007 season. “It’s a credit to our players and coaches, (head coach) Marvin (Lewis), and my kids. They helped me hang in through the adversity. If I hadn’t had them, it would have been harder to continue on. Our veteran core group of players really helped me in a number of ways. They were a strength for me.”

In the other awards presented by the PFWA, New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees, NFL.com and Sirius radio’s Gil Brandt, the Houston Texas communications staff and longtime New Orleans Times-Picayune columnist Peter Finney also received awards.

Brees was voted the winner of the Good Guy Award, which goes to the player who best helped the media do its job.

“I am honored to be recognized by the Professional Football Writers Association with their annual Good Guy

Gil Brandt, the Godfather of the NFL. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC)

Gil Brandt, the Godfather of the NFL. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC)

Award,” Brees said. “The media is our strongest connection to our fans and it is important that we make ourselves available and be accountable when the time calls for us to meet with the media. The media tell our story and I recognize the important job that they have. Joining a select group of previous winners such as Kurt Warner, Brett Favre, LaDainian Tomlinson, Tiki Barber and Jerome Bettis shows that it is not only important to lead on the field like

these guys have, but also to lead off of it as well.”

The Horrigan Award, honoring a person (not a player or team media relations staffer) who helped the media best do its job last season was won by Brandt, the former Dallas Cowboys personnel director.

“It’s an honor to win an award voted on by the Pro Football Writers,” Brandt said. “I value my relationships with the writers, some of those going back decades, and many of whom

Tony Wylie

Tony Wyllie

I now consider friends.”

For the third time since 2004, the Houston Texans were selected as winner of the Rozelle Award, which goes to the league public relations staff that best helped the media do its job. The Texans also won in 2004 and 2007.

The Atlanta Falcons staff was a finalist for this award for the second consecutive year.

Tony Wyllie, the Texans’ vice president of communications, recently left for the Washington Redskins where he will

Peter Finney (left) shaking heads from Nick Saban back in 2008. (The Associated Press)

Peter Finney (left) shaking heads from Nick Saban back in 2008. (The Associated Press)

be a senior vice president. He was also on the staff of the St. Louis Rams and Tennessee Titans when their staffs won the Rozelle Award in 1997 and 2000, respectively.

Finney is the winner of the McCann Award, which honors a PFWA member for long and distinguished service to the profession.

Finney is in his 64th year covering sports in New Orleans. After missing Super Bowls I and II because his editor thought the game was “a fad,” Finney covered 40 straight Super Bowls. He represents New Orleans on the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s board of selectors.

(Disclosure: The AJC’s D.Orlando Ledbetter is the 2nd vice president of the PFWA).

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10 comments Add your comment

truth

June 8th, 2010
10:52 am

Ahhhh……naaaaaahhhhhh. Won’t do it.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

June 8th, 2010
11:03 am

truth — Goooooooo aheaddddd!!!

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Darryl Ledbetter, D. Orlando Ledbetter. D. Orlando Ledbetter said: Ex-Falcons coach Mike Zimmer wins PFWA’s Halas award. Brees, Brandt, Texans & Peter Finney also PFWA award winners. http://bit.ly/dzrE7z [...]

truth

June 8th, 2010
11:39 am

OK!!!! THIRD!! THIRD!! Take that Hiram…I’m THIRD!! :)

I know I just statred a fight. Oh well. It’s all in fun…..to me.

SeenThisB4

June 8th, 2010
11:49 am

That DeCoud/Brees caption is wrong. I believe that was when DeCoud was begging, pleading with Brees to put in a good word for him to Sean Payton and get him out of Atlanta. Yes, I believe that was the topic of conversation.

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

June 8th, 2010
1:33 pm

I hope the falcons congratulate brees about 15 times a game just like that this year both games , three times if necessary . only with different final score results. But I also hope it is the D linemen giving him the applause. are you reading this ABE

D. Orlando Ledbetter

June 8th, 2010
2:06 pm

SeenThisB4 — No, no. He’s congratulating him. “Way to go Brees. Be a Good Guy and cough up the football.”

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN — That was a good blitz that BVG dialed up!!!

SeenThisB4

June 8th, 2010
2:18 pm

You may be right DOL, I think that’s was when Drew did show him what a football looks like! By the way, I forget, ….who won that game?

SeenThisB4

June 8th, 2010
2:25 pm

Hey D. Orlando, be truthful now: I have on occasion heard you on WWL Radio discussing upcoming Saints/falcons games with Deke and Bobby Hebert, tell me the truth: Do you do that because you really like talking football with Deke and Hebert, or is it something you get paid to do? Or both? Just curious, I can’t imagine anybody WANTING to talk to Hebert! Oh, and by the way falcon fans, DOL’s respectful of the Saints but he stands by the falcons, no doubt about it.

truth

June 8th, 2010
3:53 pm

SeenThisB4 or HiramSaint…..don’t matter which ever you want to be called today, you better hope that Madden curse don’t come and smach Whees up-side the head like DeC did.