Lesley Visser to Receive Pro Football's Pete Rozelle Award
Lesley Visser is the 2006 recipient of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award. The award given annually by the Hall of Fame recognizes "long-time exceptional contributions to radio and television in professional football." This season will mark her 34th year covering the NFL as both a television reporter and print journalist. Visser will be the first woman to be recognized by the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The ASA Advisory Board member will receive her award on August 4at the annual Hall of Fame weekend ceremonies in Canton, Ohio.
"Recognition by the Pro Football Hall of Fame is beyond any dream I could have imagined for myself or any other woman when I saw my first game, the AFL Patriots against the Raiders in 1964," said Visser. "The passion I discovered on that day inspired my preparation over three decades as a writer and a broadcaster. I'm overwhelmed by being chosen the recipient of the Pete Rozelle Award. It is a tremendous honor to be connected with his great legacy and to the list of honorees that have gone before me."
Previous winners of the award include Myron Cope, Van Miller, Don Criqui, John Madden, Roone Arledge, Ray Scott, Dick Enberg, Val Pinchbeck, Charlie Jones, Jack Buck, Frank Gifford, Pat Summerall, Curt Gowdy, Chris Schenkel, Ed Sabol, Lindsey Nelson and Bill McPhail.
This fall Visser returns as a feature reporter for the THE NFL TODAY and CBS Sports' coverage of Super Bowl XLI. Last year she served as lead reporter for the Network's coverage of the NFL, teaming with CBS Sports' No. 1 announce team of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms. Visser worked her 28th NCAA Men's Basketball Championship last March, having worked the tournament for the Boston Globe, ESPN and CBS. Visser was honored by the American Women in Radio and Television, Inc. in June 2006 as a recipient of a Gracie Allen Award which celebrates programming created for women, by women and about women, as well as individuals who have made exemplary contributions to the industry. In 2005 she won the Pop Warner female achievement award and was inducted into the New England Sports Museum Hall of Fame, along with Boston Celtics legend Bob Cousy and the 1980 United States Olympic Hockey team.
Visser was a reporter for THE SUPER BOWL TODAY, CBS Sports' Super Bowls XXXV and XXXVIII pre-game broadcasts. She also contributes reports for CBS News and served as a reporter for HBOs' "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel." She spent nearly seven years with ABC Sports and was a sideline reporter for "Monday Night Football," becoming the first woman assigned to the series and the first woman ever to report from the sidelines during a Super Bowl. While at ABC Sports, Visser served as a reporter for college football bowl games and NFL playoff games. She also contributed to ABC's coverage of Triple Crown horse racing, "ABC's Wide World of Sports," Major League Baseball, including the World Series, figure skating, Special Olympics, skiing, the Pro Bowl, and an ABC series "A Passion to Play." She hosted the network's coverage of the "Millennium Tournament of Roses Parade."
She returned to CBS Sports in August 2000 as a contributor to THE NFL TODAY, college basketball, figure skating and the U.S. Open Tennis Championships. Visser covered the NCAA Final Four and Super Bowl for ESPN. She joined CBS Sports in 1984 and became full-time in 1987. Her assignments included the NBA, college basketball, MLB, college football, U.S. Open Tennis Championships and the Winter Olympics, and she was a regular on THE NFL TODAY. In 1992 Visser became the first woman to handle the post-game presentation ceremony at the Super Bowl and in 1989 she covered the fall of the Berlin Wall, focusing on how sports would change in East Germany. Visser became the first woman sportscaster to carry the Olympic Torch when she was honored in 2004 by the International Olympic Committee as a "pioneer and standard-bearer." Visser is the only sportscaster in history who has worked on the network broadcast of the Final Four, Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals, Triple Crown, Olympics, U.S. Open and World Figure Skating Championship.
Visser began her career in sports journalism in 1974 as a member of the Boston Globe sports staff on a grant from the Carnegie Foundation, two years later she was assigned to cover the New England Patriots, becoming the first ever female NFL beat writer. While at the Boston Globe she covered the NCAA Final Four, Super Bowl, NBA Finals, World Series, Wimbledon, the Olympics and college football.
Visser has been honored with the Compass Award for "changing the paradigm of her business" and was one of the 100 luminaries commemorating the 75th anniversary of the CBS Television Network in 2003. She was named "WISE Woman of the Year" in 2002 and voted the "Outstanding Women's Sportswriter in America" in 1983 and won the "Women's Sports Foundation Award for Journalism" in 1992. In 1999 she won the first AWSM Pioneer Award. Visser earned her bachelor's degree in English from Boston College. She was born Sept. 11 in Quincy, Mass and is married to FOX/Turner sportscaster Dick Stockton. They reside in Boca Raton, Fla.
Previous Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award Winners
1989 - Bill McPhail
1990 - Lindsey Nelson
1991 - Ed Sabol
1992 - Chris Schenkel
1993 - Curty Gowdy
1994 - Pat Summerall
1995 - Frank Gifford
1996 - Jack Buck
1997 - Charlie Jones
1998 - Val Pinchbeck
1999 - Dick Enberg
2000 - Ray Scott
2001 - Roone Arledge
2002 - John Madden
2003 - Don Criqui
2004 - Van Miller
2005 - Myron Cope