Chiefs news: Steve Spagnuolo earns lifetime achievement award

The PFWA has given the Dr. Z award in 2024 to Steve Spagnuolo and Bill Callahan.
Super Bowl LVIII Opening Night
Super Bowl LVIII Opening Night / Chris Unger/GettyImages

For the last decade, the Pro Football Writers of America have gathered to honor the late sportswriting legend Paul Zimmerman by deciding upon the winner(s) of the Dr. Z Award, created to celebrate Zimmerman's legacy and honor the body of work of an NFL assistant coach.

This year, the awards were given out to two longtime veterans on NFL sidelines: Steve Spagnuolo of the Kansas City Chiefs and Bill Callahan of the Tennessee Titans.

The PFWA has given the Dr. Z award in 2024 to Steve Spagnuolo and Bill Callahan.

The Dr. Z Award is a "lifetime achievement" award for assistant coaches, and while Spagnuolo has enjoyed at least some time as a head coach on NFL sidelines, the truth is that his greatest impact in the game has come as a brilliant defensive mind under other head coaches on some of the league's greatest teams of the last quarter century.

Spagnuolo, who is currently the defensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs, is the only coordinator to win championship rings with two different franchises. He earned his first with the New York Giants back in 2007 and then three more with the Chiefs over the last five years.

The Chiefs' decision to fire Bob Sutton and remake the defense in Spags' image beginning in 2019 has been a masterstroke of a major decision for the franchise. Since then, general manager Brett Veach has slowly and steadily built each level with talent, youth, and depth and the Chiefs have established a dynasty in response.

The Chiefs just inked Spagnuolo to a contract extension this offseason, which will keep him working with premiere talent like Chris Jones, Nick Bolton, and Trent McDuffie for years to come. While there's enough to celebrate his lifetime achievements already, the truth is that more rings are potentially on the way.

The Dr. Z Award was first given out in 2014 and that inaugural season had four winners: Jim Johnson, Howard Mudd, Fritz Shurmur, and Ernie Zampese. Former Chiefs coaches Gunther Cunningham and Romeo Crennel along with current defensive assistant Emmitt Thomas have also been honored in years past.