A worst-to-first division championship run and the biggest one-year turnaround in franchise history led to Chiefs head coach Todd Haley's first Coach of the Year honor. In a vote comprised of national media members, Haley was named the NFL 101 Award’s AFC Coach of the Year.
In a year that exceeded preseason expectations, the Chiefs won the AFC West and housed a playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium for the first time since 2003. Kansas City held at least a share of first place in the division from Week 1 through Week 17, while also claiming the NFL’s 2010 rushing crown and improving upon 39 different statistical categories from 2009.
"I am honored to accept this award on behalf of the Kansas City Chiefs,” said Haley. “Our growth as a team this season wouldn't have been possible without the efforts of our entire coaching staff who so tirelessly dedicated themselves to making us better each and every day. While our team's development was truly a collective effort, I am extremely humbled to follow in the footsteps of coaches like Hank Stram and Marty Schottenheimer, who previously received this honor with the Chiefs.
“Our football team made tremendous progress in 2010, but there is still a great deal of work yet to do to achieve our ultimate objective."
Haley is one of four first-time 101 Award honorees in this year’s class of winners. Other first-timers include NFL Offensive Player of the Year Michael Vick (QB, Philadelphia Eagles), NFC Defensive Player of the Year Clay Mathews (LB, Green Bay Packers) and AFC Defensive Player of the Year Troy Polamalu (S, Pittsburgh Steelers).
New England Patriots QB Tom Brady won AFC Offensive Player of the Year honors for the second time and Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith was named NFC Coach of the Year for the second time as well.
In addition to these award winners, the Committee of 101 announced the fourth recipient of the Lamar Hunt Award for Professional Football, created in 2007 to honor the life and legacy of the founder of the Kansas City Chiefs. Given in recognition of visionary leadership that has helped the NFL become the preeminent pro sports league in America, this year’s award winner is NFL Films. Founded in 1962 by Ed Sabol and then guided for many years by his son, Steve, NFL Films has revolutionized sports cinematography and been a major factor in the soaring popularity of professional football over the last five decades. NFL Films has filmed, produced and sold some of the league’s most inventive and unique programming, winning 97 Emmys along the way.
“The Lamar Hunt Award for Professional Football has special meaning to all of us at NFL Films because, just like Lamar Hunt with the AFL and the Chiefs, NFL Films began with one man’s vision – Ed Sabol’s,” said Steve Sabol, who will accept the award on behalf of NFL Films at the 101 Awards gala. “We are flattered and honored to be recognized for our contributions to the game of football, especially because of the name on the award.”
The 2010 season award winners will be presented with trophies at the 41st Annual NFL 101 Awards gala, co-presented by Perfect Output and ECCO Select, in Kansas City on Saturday, March 5, 2011. The prestigious black-tie awards event was founded in 1969 and has evolved into what many sports insiders consider the finest awards event of its kind.
The awards show hosts for the evening will be NFL Network sportscaster Paul Burmeister and CBS football analyst Rich Gannon, a former NFL Most Valuable Player and two-time 101 Award winner.
Event proceeds this year will be directed to Truman Medical Center through the Chiefs Children’s Fund, a 501(c)3 foundation that distributes funds to various children’s charities throughout the Kansas City area. TMC joined the Chiefs as the official Community Health Partner in September 2010. The Chiefs and TMC are working together to provide wellness education and promote healthier living for the people of Kansas City. Both TMC and the Chiefs play a vital role in the Kansas City community and this partnership capitalizes on two well-established brands for the common goal of improving the health status of the community in general, and of the citizens in the urban core particularly.