The Athletic writer Jim Trotter selected as winner of 2023 Bill Nunn Memorial Award

Media Published on : 5/17/2023
  • Honor from Pro Football Writers of America recognizes long, distinguished contributions to coverage of the game

Jim Trotter, who has covered the NFL since the mid-1990s and recently joined The Athletic as a national columnist, has been selected as the 2023 Bill Nunn Memorial Award winner by the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA).

Trotter, the 55th Nunn Award honoree, is the second Black journalist to receive the honor from the PFWA. He is the first writer from The Athletic to win the award.

The Nunn Award is given to a reporter who has made a long and distinguished contribution to pro football through coverage. The award is named for BILL NUNN, who prior to his Pro Football Hall of Fame scouting career with the Pittsburgh Steelers worked for 22 years at the Pittsburgh Courier, one of the most influential Black publications in the United States.

Jim Trotter has been selected as the 2023 Bill Nunn Memorial Award winner by the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA).Trotter will be honored by the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, this summer.

Other nominees for the Nunn Award were Mary Kay Cabot (Cleveland Plain Dealer), D. Orlando Ledbetter (Atlanta Journal-Constitution), Gary Myers (author) and Barry Wilner (Associated Press). All five nominees this year are members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s 50-person Selection Committee.

Trotter joined The Athletic in May 2023, reporting on the NFL, while also writing on sports and other topics for the opinion desk. He spent the previous five years (2018-2023) as a reporter and columnist for NFL Media, writing for and appearing on NFL Network programming and related podcasts. From 2014-18, he worked for ESPN, where he covered the NFL nationally and contributed on multiple platforms. His primary focus was on long-form storytelling. Trotter also reported extensively on player activism and social justice.

He was a senior writer at Sports Illustrated from 2007-14, where his work included an in-depth look at the rebuilding of the Oakland Raiders after the passing of iconic owner Al Davis and the media's coverage of Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor's death. Prior to Sports Illustrated, Trotter spent 18 years with the San Diego Union-Tribune (1989-2007), among them eight seasons as the lead beat writer for the San Diego Chargers and four as a national NFL columnist. He began his career at The News-Tribune in Tacoma, Washington, from 1987-89, where he worked on the same sports staff with 2007 Nunn Award winner and former Hall of Fame selector John Clayton.

His work also includes two books on the late Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker JUNIOR SEAU, including “Junior Seau: The Life and Death of a Football Icon” in 2015.

Trotter is a longtime member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee, including the Hall’s Coach/Contributor Committee. He served as the 28th president of the Pro Football Writers of America in 2017.

Born in San Francisco, Trotter graduated from Howard University in 1986 with a degree in broadcast communications.

“We are thrilled that the PFWA has chosen to recognize Jim, and even more thrilled that we get to work with him at The Athletic,” said Lisa Wilson, an editorial director at The Athletic. “He is fearless, a true pro and so deserving of this honor. How fitting that his name will be on an award named after the great Bill Nunn.”


Bill Nunn Memorial Award winners

(Presented annually to a reporter who has made a long and distinguished contribution to pro football through coverage)

1969 – George Strickler (Chicago Tribune)

1970 – Arthur Daley (New York Times)

1971 – Joe King (New York World Telegram & Sun)

1972 – Lewis “Tony” Atchison (Washington Star)

1973 – Dave Brady (Washington Post)

1974 – Bob Oates (Los Angeles Times)

1975 – John Steadman (Baltimore News-American)

1976 – Jack Hand (Associated Press)

1977 – Art Daley (Green Bay Press-Gazette)

1978 – Murray Olderman (Newspaper Enterprise Association)

1979 – Pat Livingston (Pittsburgh Press)

1980 – Chuck Heaton (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

1981 – Norm Miller (New York Daily News)

1982 – Cameron Snyder (Baltimore Sun)

1983 – Hugh Brown (Philadelphia Bulletin)

1984 – Larry Felser (Buffalo News)

1985 – Cooper Rollow (Chicago Tribune)

1986 – William Wallace (New York Times)

1987 – Jerry Magee (San Diego Union)

1988 – Gordon Forbes (USA Today)

1989 – Vito Stellino (Baltimore Sun)

1990 – Will McDonough (Boston Globe)

1991 – Dick Connor (Denver Post)

1992 – Frank Luksa (Dallas Morning News)

1993 – Ira Miller (San Francisco Chronicle)

1994 – Don Pierson (Chicago Tribune)

1995 – Ray Didinger (Philadelphia Daily News)

1996 – Paul Zimmerman (Sports Illustrated)

1997 – Bob Roesler (New Orleans Times-Picayune)

1998 – Dave Anderson (New York Times)

1999 – Art Spander (Oakland Tribune)

2000 – Tom McEwen (Tampa Tribune)

2001 – Len Shapiro (Washington Post)

2002 – Edwin Pope (Miami Herald)

2003 – Joel Buchsbaum (Pro Football Weekly)

2004 – Rick Gosselin (Dallas Morning News)

2005 – Jerry Green (Detroit News)

2006 – John McClain (Houston Chronicle)

2007 – John Clayton (

2008 – Len Pasquarelli (

2009 – Peter King (Sports Illustrated)

2010 – Peter Finney (New Orleans Times-Picayune)

2011 – Bob McGinn (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

2012 – Tom Kowalski (

2013 – Dan Pompei (Chicago Tribune)

2014 – Ed Bouchette (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

2015 – Dave Goldberg (Associated Press)

2016 – Chris Mortensen (

2017 – Ed Werder (ESPN)

2018 – Charean Williams (Pro Football Talk)

2019 – Sam Farmer (Los Angeles Times)

2020 – Don Banks (

2021 – Bob Glauber (Newsday)

2022 – Jarrett Bell (USA Today)

2023 – Jim Trotter (The Athletic)


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