George Halas Award
SportAmerican football
LeagueNational Football League
Awarded forAn NFL player, coach or staff member overcoming adversity
Presented byPro Football Writers of America
First awardJoe Namath, 1969
Most recentDamar Hamlin, 2023

The George Halas Award is given by the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) to a National Football League (NFL) player, coach or staff member who overcomes the most adversity to succeed.

The award is named for George Halas, a charter member (1963) of the Pro Football Hall of Fame who was associated with the Chicago Bears and NFL from their inception in 1920 until his death in 1983 as an owner, manager, player and promoter.

Halas represented the Bears, then known as the Decatur Staleys, at the Sept. 17, 1920 organizational meeting of the American Football Association in Canton, Ohio. One year later, the AFA became known as the National Football League.

Halas’ teams won six NFL titles in his 40 seasons as the Bears’ coach. His 318 regular-season wins and 324 total victories were long-standing NFL records until broken by Don Shula in 1993.[1]

In 1970, the George Halas Award went to Gale Sayers for his comeback from knee surgery to lead the NFL in rushing in 1969.[2] Sayers gave an emotional speech that was memorialized in the film Brian's Song. Said Sayers, "You flatter me by giving me this award, but I’ll tell you here and now that I accept it for Brian Piccolo. Brian Piccolo is the man of courage who should receive the George S. Halas Award. I accept it tonight, but I’ll present it to Brian tomorrow. I love Brian Piccolo. And I’d like all of you to love him, too. And tonight, when you hit your knees, ask God to love him, too."[3][4]

Other notable winners of the George Halas Award include Joe Namath,[5] Steeler running back Rocky Bleier, Hall of Fame cornerback Jimmy Johnson,[6] New York Giant cancer survivor Karl Nelson,[7] Hall of Famers Dan Hampton and Joe Montana,[8] Denver Broncos guard Mark Schlereth,[9] former N.Y. Giant Kerry Collins,[10] San Francisco 49ers Garrison Hearst[11] and Bryant Young,[12] coach and former linebacker Sam Mills,[13] Dolphins running back Robert Edwards,[14] linebacker Mark Fields,[15] former head coach Tony Dungy,[16] former New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees,[17] New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft,[18] and former Saints safety and ALS advocate Steve Gleason.[19]


George Halas Award winners
Year Winner Team
1969 Joe Namath New York Jets
1970 Gale Sayers Chicago Bears
1971 Tom Dempsey New Orleans Saints
1972 Jimmy Johnson San Francisco 49ers
1973 Mike Tileman Atlanta Falcons
1974 Dick Butkus Chicago Bears
1975 Rocky Bleier Pittsburgh Steelers
1976 Billy Kilmer Washington Redskins
1977 Tom DeLeone Cleveland Browns
1978 Pat Fischer Washington Redskins
1979 Bert Jones Baltimore Colts
1980 Roger Staubach Dallas Cowboys
1981 Rolf Benirschke San Diego Chargers
1982 Joe Klecko New York Jets
1983 Eddie Lee Ivery Green Bay Packers
1984 Ted Hendricks Los Angeles Raiders
1985 John Stallworth Pittsburgh Steelers
1986 Gary Jeter Los Angeles Rams
1987 William Andrews Atlanta Falcons
1988 Joe Montana San Francisco 49ers
1989 Karl Nelson New York Giants
1990 Tim Krumrie Cincinnati Bengals
1991 Dan Hampton Chicago Bears
1992 Mike Utley Detroit Lions
1993 Mark Bavaro New York Giants
1994 Joe Montana Kansas City Chiefs
1995 Dan Marino Miami Dolphins
1996 Larry Brown Oakland Raiders
1997 Jim Harbaugh Indianapolis Colts
1998 Mark Schlereth Denver Broncos
1999 Dan Reeves Atlanta Falcons
2000 Bryant Young San Francisco 49ers
2001 Kerry Collins New York Giants
2002 Garrison Hearst San Francisco 49ers
2003 Robert Edwards Miami Dolphins
2004 Sam Mills Carolina Panthers
2005 Mark Fields Carolina Panthers
2006 Tony Dungy Indianapolis Colts
2007 Drew Brees New Orleans Saints
2008 Kevin Everett Buffalo Bills
2009 Matt Bryant Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2010 Mike Zimmer Cincinnati Bengals
2011 Mike Heimerdinger Tennessee Titans
2012 Robert Kraft New England Patriots
2013 Chuck Pagano Indianapolis Colts
2014 O. J. Brigance Baltimore Ravens
2015 Steve Gleason New Orleans Saints
2016 Eric Berry Kansas City Chiefs
2017 David Quessenberry Houston Texans
2018 Marquise Goodwin San Francisco 49ers
2019 Ryan Shazier Pittsburgh Steelers
2020 Travis Frederick Dallas Cowboys
2021 Alex Smith Washington Football Team
2022 Ron Rivera[20] Washington Commanders
2023 Damar Hamlin[21] Buffalo Bills
2024 John Metchie III[22] Houston Texans

See also


  1. ^ "George Halas Award | PFWA". Retrieved 2017-12-24.
  2. ^ Vecsey, George (23 September 2020). "Gale Sayers Dies; Elusive Hall of Fame Running Back Was 77". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 June 2024.
  3. ^ Michael E. Eidenmuller. "Movie Speech from Brian's Song - Gale Sayers Accepts George Halas Trophy for Courage". American Rhetoric. Retrieved 2015-10-16.
  4. ^ "ESPN Classic - Courageous Piccolo never lost hope". 2003-11-19. Retrieved 2015-10-16.
  5. ^ "History". Archived from the original on November 14, 2006. Retrieved April 22, 2007.
  6. ^ "Professional Football Researchers Association- Pro Football History". Archived from the original on October 24, 2006. Retrieved April 22, 2007.
  7. ^ Joseph McDonald (2006-05-03). "The Bookends Interview: Karl Nelson :: NY Sports Day - Independent New York Giants Coverage". NY Sports Day. Retrieved 2015-10-16.
  8. ^ "Vic Carucci and Football". Retrieved 2015-10-16.
  9. ^ [permanent dead link] [1][dead link]
  10. ^ "PLUS - PRO FOOTBALL - Halas Award Goes To Giants' Collins -". 2001-06-19. Retrieved 2015-10-16.
  11. ^ "49ers Champ's Incredible Fan Paradise Paradise Press". 2002-06-20. Retrieved 2015-10-16.
  12. ^ "49ers' Bryant Young Honored by PFWA - AP Online - HighBeam Research". Archived from the original on October 4, 2007. Retrieved April 22, 2007.
  13. ^ "Panthers 20, Rams 7 - NFL - Yahoo Sports". 2004-12-12. Retrieved 2015-10-16.
  14. ^ "Dolphins' Robert Edwards Named Halas Award Winner - FinHeaven Forums". Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-04-22.
  15. ^ Cafardo, Nick (2005-07-24). "McGinest tackles some topics - The Boston Globe". Retrieved 2015-10-16.
  16. ^ [2] Archived October 22, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ [3] Archived May 9, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ "Robert Kraft selected as PFWA's 2012 George Halas Award winner | New England Patriots". Retrieved 2015-10-16.
  19. ^ "Steve Gleason selected as PFWA’s 2015 George Halas award winner" Archived 2017-08-06 at the Wayback Machine, New Orleans Saints, June 15, 2015.
  20. ^ "Commanders coach Ron Rivera wins PFWA's George Halas Award". Associated Press. Retrieved 9 May 2022.
  21. ^ Fitzgerald, Katherine. "Bills safety Damar Hamlin wins PFWA 2023 George Halas Award". The Buffalo News. Retrieved May 15, 2023.
  22. ^ PFWA. "Texans' John Metchie III selected as PFWA 2024 George Halas Award winner". Retrieved 28 May 2024.