CANTON, Ohio (AP) — Dick Ebersol has been selected as the 2019 recipient of the Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award, which is presented annually by the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The award recognizes "longtime exceptional contributions to radio and television in professional football."
Ebersol once was described as "the most powerful figure ever in sports TV." The longtime head of NBC Sports will be honored during the 2019 enshrinement week in August when Champ Bailey, Pat Bowlen, Gil Brandt, Tony Gonzalez, Ty Law, Kevin Mawae, Ed Reed and Johnny Robinson are inducted into the Hall of Fame.
"I can't begin to thank (Hall of Fame President) David Baker and the folks at the Pro Football Hall of Fame enough for this great honor. I look forward to August in Canton more than ever this year," Ebersol said. "This is especially meaningful to be recognized in the same year that my dear friend Pat Bowlen earns his rightful place in Canton. I have deep respect for how Pat's vision so profoundly shaped the NFL's television landscape, as well as giving Denver Super Bowl championship football teams."
Ebersol's imprint in broadcasting included more than 20 years as the head of NBC Sports. In 1993, four years after being elevated to president of NBC Sports, Ebersol negotiated two historic broadcast contracts: a four-year, $880 million deal for the rights to AFC games and two Super Bowls, and rights to the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta with a record-setting bid of $456 million.
In 2005, Ebersol created "Sunday Night Football" as NBC returned to covering the NFL. It became the first sports series in history to be a Top 10 show since its inception. In 2011, "SNF" became the first sports series to be the most watched prime-time show for an entire television season. That remains true today, with eight consecutive years of earning that distinction.
In all, Ebersol led the production of six Super Bowls and eight Olympics and was involved in an additional four Olympics. He is now a senior adviser to NBC Sports.
"Dick Ebersol's creativity, passion, business acumen, determination and leadership paved the way for extraordinary and innovative coverage of the NFL that resulted in enormous growth of viewership for this great game," Baker said. "He is the epitome of the hall's values of commitment, integrity, courage, respect and excellence."