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Howard Katz honored with Rozelle Radio-TV Award

CANTON, Ohio (AP) — Howard Katz, who has been involved with NFL media for nearly two decades and has helped drive the popularity of the league to new heights, was selected Thursday as the recipient of the Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame presents the award annually in recognition of longtime and exceptional contributions to radio and television in professional football. Katz will be honored during Hall of Fame week in August in Canton, Ohio.

“I cannot think of a more deserving recipient,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “Quite simply, the NFL would not be where we are today without Howard Katz.”

Since joining the NFL in 2003, Katz has served as chief operating officer of NFL Films and currently serves as senior vice president of broadcasting and media operations, overseeing the formation of the league’s schedule and the selection of primetime games.

Katz said he has “always tried to do right by everyone. I tried to look through other people’s lenses and gauge how they react.”

Pro Football Hall of Fame president Jim Porter noted that last season 24 of the top 25 broadcasts for national ratings were NFL games.

“This reflects the work and foresight Howard and his team put into the overall schedule,” Porter said. “And they create the marquee primetime matchups without sacrificing what football fans also can enjoy in the 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. slots each weekend. This has always been important to Howard.”

A graduate of Colgate University, Katz broke into television in 1971 as a production assistant at ABC Sports and worked the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany, “Monday Night Football,” and “Wide World of Sports.”

In 1993, he became ESPN’s executive vice president of production and helped the network launch ESPN2, ESPNews, ESPN Radio, ESPN International, ESPN Classic and the ESPY Awards.

Six years later, he returned to ABC and revived the “Monday Night Football” franchise with the hiring of John Madden.

“Somewhere in your life, you want to work for Howard Katz,” Madden said in a tribute video to Katz upon the Livingston, New Jersey, native’s induction into the New Jersey Hall of Fame in 2014.

In 2003, Katz joined the NFL to run NFL Films and also helped create the league’s successful flex-scheduling model that further built interest in the primetime matchups. This year he’s helping the league evolve its streaming offerings through its partnership with Amazon.