In 1987 the PFRA established two awards to be given out annually - the Ralph Hay Award and the Nelson Ross Award. The following year the first two recipients were honored.

In 2009 the PFRA established a third award to be given out annually starting in 2010 - the Bob Carroll Memorial Writing Award.

In 2020, the PFRA established a fourth award to be given out starting in 2020-the Jack Clary Award. This award is not given out every year.

The Hay, Ross, and Clary Awards are selected by the PFRA Board of directors after nominations by the Board. The Carroll Award is selected by the editors of The Coffin Corner.

The recipient of the Carroll Award receives a $100 check sponsored by St. Johann Press and a one-year extension to their PFRA membership.

Ralph Hay Award

The Ralph Hay Award, named after the Canton Bulldogs owner whose showroom in Canton, Ohio was the site of the NFL's first organizational meeting, is awarded for "Lifetime achievement in pro football research and historiography."

1988 - David Neft

1989 - Joe Plack

1990 - Bob Gill

1991 - Joe Horrigan

1992 - Richard Cohen

1993 - Robert Van Atta

1994 - Jim Campbell

1995 - John Hogrogian

1996 - Don Smith

1997 - Total Sports Publishing

1998 - Seymour Siwoff

1999 - Stan Grosshandler

2000 - Mel "Buck" Bashore

2001 - Tod Maher

2002 - Ken Pullis

2003 - John Hogrogian

2004 - Jeffrey Miller

2005 - John Gunn

2006 - Emil Klosinski

2007 - Vince Popo

2008 - Ralph Hickok

2009 - Bob Carroll

2010 - Pete Palmer

2011 - Ken Crippen

2012 - Chris Willis

2013 - Cliff Christl

2014 - Pete Fierle

2015 - Jack Clary

2016 - Mark L. Ford

2017 - John Maxymuk

2018 - John Turney

2019 - Rupert Patrick

2020 - Joe Zagorski

2021 - Joe Ziemba

2022 - George Bozeka

2023 - Dave Burch

Nelson Ross Award

The Nelson Ross Award is presented annually by the PFRA for "Outstanding recent achievement in pro football research and historiography."

1988 - Bob Braunwart

1989 - Bob Gill

1990 - Pearce Johnson, Professional Football in Rhode Island and Its National Connections

1991 - Tod Maher, Wiffle: The World Football League Chronicle

1992 - John M. Carroll, Fritz Pollard: Pioneer in Racial Advancement

1993 - Myron J. Smith, Professional Football: The Official Pro Football Hall of Fame Bibliography

1994 - Rick Korch, for his book The Truly Great Ones: The 200 Best Football Players of All-Time

1995 - Phil Dietrich, Down Payments: Professional Football in Akron, Ohio 1896-1930

1996 - John Hogrogian, All-Pros: The First 40 Years

1997 - Tod Maher and Bob Gill, The Pro Football Encyclopedia

1998 - Keith McClellan, The Sunday Game: At the Dawn of Professional Football

1999 - Joe Ziemba, When Football Was Football: The Chicago Cardinals and the Birth of the NFL

2000 - Paul Reeths, The USFL Chronicle

2001 - William J. Ryczek, Crash of the Titans: The Early Years of the New York Jets and the AFL

2002 - Bob Gill, Steve Brainerd, and Tod Maher, Minor League Football, 1960-1985

2003 - Mark L. Ford, NFLX: NFL Exhibition Games 1950 to 2002

2004 - Michael MacCambridge, America's Game: The Epic Story of How Pro Football Captured A Nation

2005 - Chris Willis, Old Leather: An Oral History of Early Pro Football in Oho, 1920-1935

2006 - Matthew >Algeo, for his book Last Team Standing: How the Steelers and Eagles - The Steagles - Saved Pro Football During World War II

2007 - Andy Piascik, for his book The Best Show in Football: The 1946-1955 Cleveland Browns

2008 - Sean Lahman, for his book The Pro Football Historical Abstract

2009 - Robert Lyons, Any Given Sunday: A Life of Bert Bell

2010 - Kate Buford, Native American Son: The Life and Sporting Legend of Jim Thorpe

2011 - Mark Speck, ...and a Dollar Short: The Empty Promises, Broken Dreams and Somewhat-Less-Than-Comic Misadventures of the 1974 Florida Blazers

2012 - Dan Daly, The National Forgotten League

2013 - Ivan Urena, Pro Football Schedules: A Complete Historical Guide from 1933 to the Present

2014 - William J. Ryczek,Connecticut: Football Minor Leaguers of the 1960's and 1970's

2015 - Ted Kluck,Three-Week Professionals: Inside the 1987 NFL Players' Strike

2016 - James Sulecki, The Cleveland Rams: The NFL Champs Who Left Too Soon, 1936-1945

2017 - Ralph Hickok, The Vagabond Halfback: The Saga of Johnny Blood McNally

2018 - Doug Farrar, The Genius of Desperation: The Schematic Innovations that Made the Modern NFL

2019 - Chris Serb, War Football: World War I and the Birth of the NFL

2020 - Richard Bak, When Lions Were Kings: The Detroit Lions and the Fabulous Fifties

2021 - Jeffrey Miller and Greg Tranter, Relics: The History of the Buffalo Bills in Objects and Memorabilia

2022 - Lee Elder, Coach George Allen: A Football Life

2023 - Erin Grayson Sapp, for her book Moving The Chains: The Civil Rights Protest That Saved The Saints And Transformed New Orleans

Bob Carroll Memorial Writing Award

Established in 2009, The Bob Carroll Memorial Writing Award is named after Bob Carroll - the founder of the PFRA and for thirty years (1979-2009) the editor of the The Coffin Corner. This award, first given out in 2010, honors the year's best original article published in The Coffin Corner.

2010: Jeff Eby, "The Big Mo: Does It Really Exist?" (Vol. 32, No. 5)

2011: George Bozeka, "The Kardiac Kids" (Vol. 33, No. 2); "Broadway Joe's 1967 Season" (Vol. 33, No. 3); "It's Good to Be King" (Vol. 33, No.4)

2012: William J. Ryczek, "You Ready Honey? Breaking Pro Football's Gender Barrier" (Vol. 34, No. 5)

2013: Brian Marshall, "Rushing to Judgment: Recovering Jim Brown's Lost Yardage in 1962" (Vol. 35, no. 3)

2014: John Turney, "Roman Gabriel: A Career in Three Acts" (Vol. 36, No. 4)

2015: Doug Bigelow, "The Oswego Shakespeares and the Disputed 1915 Title" (Vol. 37, No. 2)

2016: Kenn Tomasch, "Then and Now: The Demographics of the NFL in 1941 and Today" (Vol. 38, No. 1)

2017: John Wilke, "Who was Really the NFL's First 1,000-Yard Rusher? The Case for Tex Hamer" (Vol. 39, No. 2)

2018: Greg Tranter, "Well-Traveled: NFL Players That Have Played in the Most Pro Football Leagues" (Vol. 40, No. 6)

2019: Ryan C. Christiansen, "Pro Football's Renaissance Men: The Twighlight Decade of the 1960s" (Vol. 41, No. 1)

2020: Joe Hession, "Fists Flew When the 49ers Faced the Eagles" (Vol. 42, No. 5)

2021: Kent Stephens, "Par for the Course: Quantifying the AFL/NFL Drafts 1960-1966” (Vol. 43, No. 2)

2022: Joe Zagorski, "Pushing the Pigskin Envelope: Reexamining the 1974 NFL Players Association Strike” (Vol. 44, No. 5)

2023: John Wilke, "Making Headlines: Identifying Pro Football’s Earliest Stars (1890-1903)" (Vol. 45, No. 3)

Jack Clary Award

Established in 2020, The Jack Clary Award recognizes members who have served behind the scenes and whose efforts are invaluable to the PFRA. This is not awarded every year.

2020: George Bozeka

2021: Richard Bak

2022: Roy Sye

2023: Mark Palczewski