Yesterday, the Chicago Bears honored Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney as the 2020 winners of the prestigious Brian Piccolo Award. Both a Bears’ rookie and a veteran are now selected by teammates each year. The recipients display the courage, loyalty, teamwork, dedication and sense of humor exemplified by Brian Piccolo.

Both Robinson and Mooney are gifted wide-receivers for the Bears. A rookie from Tulane, Mooney, had 61 receptions for 631 yards and 4 touchdowns. With gifted running back, pass-catching Tarik Cohen’s injury early in the season, Mooney’s presence on the field was crucial. Robinson had a 102 receptions and 1,250 yards with 6 touchdowns. It’s difficult to overestimate the contribution made by Robinson for the Bears for the last three seasons. Robinson is one of those rare receivers that can make a quarterback look better because he not only catches most everything thrown to him, but when a ball is off-target, he fights off interceptions. Likely, every quarterback in the NFL would love to see Robinson on their team.

The fact that both players are chosen from their peers says something about their play and their presence in the locker-room.

The Piccolo Award has been given to a Bears rookie since 1970 and the honor was expanded in 1992 to include a veteran. Bears players vote for teammates who best exemplify the courage, loyalty, teamwork, dedication and sense of humor of Brian Piccolo, a Bears running back who died from embryonal cell carcinoma on June 16, 1970 at the age of 26. Piccolo played fullback. He blocked for his superstar teammate Gale Sayers and he filled in for Sayers as well when he was injured. Piccolo’s life and relationship with Sayers and the Bears was presented in the popular 1971 movie “Brian’s Song,” which was remade in 2001. This year the award takes on additional meaning with the passing of Gale Sayers on September 23, 2020.

In a ceremony that was part in-person at Halas Hall and part virtual with the award winners off-site, Sporting Chance Press author Patrick McCaskey was one of the Piccolo ceremony speakers. ©Sporting Chance Press

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Ten NFL coaching heavyweights are expertly covered in author Patrick McCaskey’s Pillars of the NFL: Coaches Who Have Won Three or More Championships (Pub 2014)  This is an important project because it entertains and informs–plus it helps keep the memory of many great coaches alive.