Indianapolis Colts general manager Ryan Grigson, in his first year in charge of the team's front office, has won the NFL's Executive of the Year award. Sporting News polled league executives for the award, and Grigson came out above John Elway, Denver Broncos vice president of football operations, and John Schneider, Seattle Seahawks general manager.
Grigson beat out Elway by a single vote, according to NFL.com. Schneider came in third, and the top five was rounded out by Washington Redskins general manager Bruce Allen and Houston Texans general manager Rick Smith.
The ties in the top two votes are significant and can't be ignored. Grigson took over the Colts as they were transitioning from Peyton Manning to Andrew Luck, a rookie, at quarterback. Elway led the Broncos in their pursuit of Manning in free agency, beating out some other prominent teams such as the San Francisco 49ers and aforementioned Seahawks for his services.
Manning led the Broncos to the playoffs and had his second-best statistical season, throwing 37 touchdown passes against just 11 interceptions, while completing 68.6 percent of his passes. Luck took the Colts, who finished with the worst record in the league the previous season, and led them to the playoffs as well, while throwing 23 touchdowns against 18 interceptions.
It certainly seemed like the Broncos were in a better position for success when Elway helped secure Manning's services, but Grigson is getting the nod here for steering the Colts through its biggest transition in over a decade and from a 2-14 losing team to an 11-5 playoff team.
Schneider's Seahawks went from being just another bad team in the NFC West to a playoff team, securing a Wild Card berth and trip to the Divisional Round of the playoffs under rookie quarterback Russell Wilson. Schneider has had some strong drafts of late, which secured him the No. 3 spot.