Commanders coach Ron Rivera named finalist for NFL’s Salute to Service Award

Ron Rivera named finalist for NFL's Salute to Service Award originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera has been named one of three finalists for the league’s Salute to Service Award, the NFL and USAA conjointly announced on Wednesday.

The Salute to Service award, now in its 12th year, is annually given out to one member throughout the league that demonstrates continued support for the military community. The winner of the award will be announced on Thursday, Feb. 9 during the NFL Honors. Denver Broncos tight end/fullback Andrew Beck won the award in 2021. 

Rivera, who was nominated for this award last year as well, has leaned on his military background throughout his entire coaching career, especially when faced with adversity. Rivera’s father, Eugenio, was a warrant officer in the U.S. Army for 32 years. The Commanders’ coach believes his “stoic” coaching style stems from his father and his military background.

“People always wonder and they always ask me, ‘Why are you always stoic?’ Because that’s what I learned from my dad,” Rivera said in Nov. 2020. “I said, ‘there’s a certain way that I have to behave on the sideline to keep confidence in my players, and so I try to maintain that way.’”

This past May, Rivera, alongside co-owner Tanya Snyder, defensive tackle Jonathan Allen and linebacker Jamin Davis, surprised troops at BWI airport with care packages before they boarded their planes. During training camp, Rivera spent multiple hours speaking with 250-plus active and former members of the military during Salute to Service Day. The team also practiced at Andrews Air Force Base one day during camp in what’s become an annual tradition.

For almost the entirety of November, a large portion of the Commanders’ staff and players wore military-themed team gear as part of Salute to Service month.

Joining Rivera are San Francisco tight end George Kittle and Cincinnati tight end Hayden Hurst as the other two finalists. USAA will contribute $25,000 in the winner’s honor to aid societies representing each branch of the military; the NFL will match USAA’s donation as well.

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