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July 27-30, 2023
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

2023 PFRA Convention - Pittsburgh

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The 2023 PFRA (Professional Football Researchers Association) Convention will be held in Pittsburgh, PA at the Drury Plaza Hotel located at 745 Grant Street in Downtown Pittsburgh during the weekend of July 27-30, 2023. The Drury Plaza Hotel is a historical renovation of the Federal Reserve Bank building. The Convention sessions will take place during the evening of Friday July 28 and all day Saturday July 29 with add-on activities on Thursday July 27, Friday July 28, and Sunday July 30. The theme of the 2023 Convention will be A Celebration of Western Pennsylvania’s Pro Football Legacy. The fee for the Convention will be $75 for PFRA members and member spouses and $100 for non-members. The fee includes admission to the Convention, a Friday evening meal, and Saturday luncheon. Convention logo T-shirts will be available for purchase at the convention.

The Convention host hotel also will be the Drury Plaza Hotel in Downtown Pittsburgh. The Drury Plaza Hotel will charge the PFRA a special group discount rate of $129 per night for their standard rooms (1 King or 2 Queen beds for up to 4 people).

Overnight valet parking is available at a charge of $35.00 per parking spot per day.

Hotel amenities include the following:

Complimentary Hot Breakfast - Start every day with make-your-own Belgian waffles, scrambled eggs, sausage, fresh fruit, oatmeal, biscuits and gravy, KELSO+BROS® coffee and more. Complimentary hot breakfast is served daily from 6:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. on weekdays and 7:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. on weekends.

Complimentary Evening Drinks and Snacks** - Join us from 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. every evening to enjoy complimentary hot food and cold beverages at our 5:30 Kickback®. The Hotel features a rotating menu of hot food, beer, wine, mixed drinks and soft drinks.

Complimentary Wi-Fi Throughout the Hotel - Get the score, check social networks or email family members in the hotel.

On-Site Facilities - Take advantage of the business center, fitness center or pool while away from home. Print boarding passes, finish a presentation or check e-mail in the Hotel’s business centers.

To book the Drury Plaza Hotel at the special group discount rate go to the following link…

Drury Hotel Pittsburgh

Reservations may also be made by calling 1-800-325-0720 and referring to the PFRA group number 10011744.

Individual reservations must be cancelled prior to 12:00 p.m. on the day before the reservation's confirmed date of arrival in order to avoid a non-refundable fee equal to one night’s room rate plus tax. Hotel requires a valid payment card and photo ID to be presented at check in. Check In Time: 3:00 p.m. Check Out Time: 11:00 a.m. Arrangements may be made for baggage storage with the Hotel’s front desk staff. June 25, 2023 is the cut-off date for the special group discount rate. Reservations made after that date will be subject to prevailing rates and availability.

The Convention itinerary will include our usual mix of speakers and tours.

To view the full itinerary, click here


The following speakers have agreed to make presentations at the Convention. Additional speakers will be added.

Joe Ziemba is the author of When Football Was Football: The Chicago Cardinals and the Birth of the NFL (1999 Nelson Ross Award by the Professional Football Researchers Association (PFRA) for recent Achievement in Football Research and Historiography) and Bears vs. Cardinals: The NFLs Oldest Rivalry. He is also the recipient of 2021 Ralph Hay Award by the PFRA for Lifetime Achievement in Pro Football Research and Historiography. Joe will make a presentation on “The Worst Team in NFL History!”

Rudy Dicks is a freelance writer from Pittsburgh, and is the author of The '63 Steelers. He worked in newspapers for nearly 30 years as a reporter, copy editor, sports editor, and managing editor for daily papers in Ohio, New Jersey, and New York. As a sportswriter, he has covered boxing, basketball, major league baseball, college and pro football, and track and field.

Richard Peterson is the author of Growing Up with Clemente and Pops: The Willie Stargell Story. His essays on the Steelers have appeared in the .Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Pittsburgh Quarterly. He is professor emeritus of English at Southern Illinois University. He is the co-author with Stephen Peterson of The Turnpike Rivalry: The Pittsburgh Steelers and The Cleveland Browns and The Slide: Leyland, Bonds and the Star-Crossed Pittsburgh Pirates. Stephen has also worked as a teacher and screenwriter.

Chris Willis has worked at NFL Films as Head of the Research Library since 1996. Books written by Chris include Old Leather: An Oral History of Early Pro Football in Ohio, 1920-1935 (2005 Nelson Ross Award by the Professional Football Researchers Association for Outstanding Recent Achievement in Pro Football Research and Historiography), The Columbus Panhandles: A Complete History of Pro Football's Toughest Team, 1900-1922, The Man Who Built the National Football League: Joe F. Carr, Dutch Clark: The Life of an NFL Legend and the Birth of the Detroit Lions, A Nearly Perfect Season: The Inside Story of the 1984 San Francisco 49ers, Walter Lingo, Jim Thorpe and the Oorang Indians: How a Dog Kennel Owner Created the NFL's Most Famous Traveling Team, Red Grange: The Life and Legacy of the NFL’s First Superstar and Bronko: The Legendary Story of the NFL’s First Two-Way Fullback. Chris was also the 2012 recipient of the PFRA's Ralph E. Hay Award, presented for Lifetime Achievement in Professional Football Research and Historiography. Chris will make a presentation about the Galloping Ghost and his barnstorming tour game in Pittsburgh on December 10, 1925.

Joshua Milton Anderson is a chess teacher, tournament director, and the president of the Chess Journalists of America. He has written articles for both Chess Life and the Professional Football Researchers Association’s (PFRA’s) The Coffin Corner and contributed to the PFRA’s Great Teams in Pro Football History Book Series. Joshua will make a presentation entitled “Breaking the Mirror: How the 1947 Playoff Game Drastically Altered the Philadelphia - Pittsburgh Rivalry.”

Ryan Christiansen is a professor of English at North Dakota State University and a published technical writer, creative writer, and award-winning journalist. He has contributed to the PFRA’s Great Teams in Pro Football History Book Series and The Coffin Corner. Ryan is the author of Border Boys: How Americans From Border Colleges Helped Western Canada to Win a Football Championship and the recipient of the 2019 Bob Carroll Memorial Writing Award honoring that year’s best original article published in The Coffin Corner. Ryan will make a presentation about the Minneapolis Marines and Minneapolis Red Jackets entitled “Hard Knocks in Mill City: The Minneapolis Marines and the Minneapolis Red Jackets.”

Greg Tranter is a prominent sports historian, curator and author with a specialized expertise in Buffalo Bills history. He has authored three books on Buffalo sports history including: Makers, Moments & Memorabilia, A Chronicle of Buffalo Professional Sports, RELICS, The History of the Buffalo Bills in Objects and Memorabilia and his most recent book titled, The Buffalo Sports Curse, 120 years of pain, disappointment, heartbreak and eternal optimism. Greg has curated multiple exhibits including Icons: The Makers and Moments of Buffalo Sports. He also authored and acts as the tour guide for the Buffalo Sports Heritage tour. Greg is the Assistant Executive Director of the Pro Football Researchers Association and the Managing Editor of The Coffin Corner. In 2018, Greg received the PFRA’s Bob Carroll Memorial Writing Award, and in 2022 its Nelson Ross Award for Outstanding Recent Achievement in Pro Football Research and Historiography. Greg will make a presentation about his upcoming book on the Providence Steam Roller: New England’s First NFL Team.

Teresa Conn and Lisa Horton

Teresa Conn and Lisa Horton are the Co-Head Coaches of the Pittsburgh Passion Women’s Pro Football team.
Teresa is the Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) and Co-Owner of the Passion. Franco Harris was also a Co-Owner until his untimely death last year.

Under Teresa’s leadership, the Passion has won three National Championships and five Divisional Championships, and Teresa was instrumental in the following events and accomplishments relating to the Pittsburgh Passion:

  • The first women’s football franchise in history to broadcast games on an ESPN Platform,
  • Franchise featured in Sports Illustrated and on ESPN’s Sports Center,
  • The first women's football franchise in history to broadcast games on a major television network, Fox Sports Network,
  • Partnership with the National Football League (NFL) and USA Football,
  • Hosting the 2012 Women’s Football Alliance Championship Game at Heinz Field. This was the first time Women’s Football had ever played in a professional NFL Stadium,
  • Serving over 300 charitable community events per year, and:
  • An Emmy Nomination for televised Pittsburgh Passion Football by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
As the CEO of the Pittsburgh Passion, Teresa is responsible for oversight and facilitation of all aspects of the organization, including budgeting, partnerships, fundraising, personnel, marketing, travel, community engagement, and relationship management.

Teresa is also the President of the Passion for Life Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to teaching life lessons through sport. Teresa is also a Character Education - Lifetime Wellness Coach. Her Character Education Program provides examples of how to apply loyalty, respect, honesty, hard work, accountability, and leadership in everyday life as well as team activities. Her philosophy is…qualities that will build a successful sports team are the same that build successful companies, families, friendships and all “teams” in life.

Lisa played 15 years in the world of women’s full-contact pro football with many notable successes. Lisa was selected as a first team All-American 14 times during her career, for the NWFA, WFA, and IWFL respectively. She led the Pittsburgh Passion to 3 undefeated National Championships during her career and was named game MVP in all 3 games. Additionally, she received League MVP 5 times. With career totals of over 18,000+ total passing yards, 200 Touchdowns, and 3,000+ rushing yards, it is easy to see the impact that Lisa has left on the sport of women’s football. Lisa was the starting QB for the Pittsburgh Passion for 14 seasons and has represented her sport at the highest level. In 2017, Lisa was also one of three QB’s that led the Women’s USA National Team to a Gold Medal in Vancouver. In 2022, she participated as both a coach and player on the US National Team that won the gold medal in Vantaa, Finland. Her jersey is displayed in the Heinz History Center as she hit an amazing milestone of passing for over 10,000 career yards in 2014. She is one part of the reasons that the Pittsburgh Passion has the largest women's football following and are the most recognized franchise in the country. Led by Lisa, the Passion has won the Dapper Dan Sportswoman of the Year Award, and has been featured in Sports Illustrated and on the ESPN Top 10 Countdown (the first and only time for a women's football franchise). Lisa was selected as recipient of the NFL Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship with the Cleveland Browns in the Summer of 2022 as assistant Running Backs coach.

Both Teresa and Lisa have been inducted into the Minor Pro Football Hall of Fame at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh for their accomplishments.

Jon Kolb was an offensive lineman with the Steelers from 1969-1981 and a four-time Super Bowl Champion. He is a member of the Steelers All-Time Team and a member of the Steelers Hall of Honor.

Dan Darragh was a quarterback with the Buffalo Bills from 1968-1970. Dan played collegiate ball at the College of William & Mary where his head coach was future Bills Hall of Famer Marv Levy. Dan is a member of the William & Mary Hall of Fame.

Erin Grayson Sapp holds a PhD in English and American History from Tulane University. She has served as a scholar-in-residence for the Historic New Orleans Collection, writing for their magazine, giving talks on local athletics, and researching the Sugar Bowl and Saints-related topics. Erin will make a presentation based on her recent book Moving the Chains: The Civil Rights Protest That Saved the Saints and Transformed New Orleans entitled “The Legacy of the 1965 AFL All-Star Walkout.”


Three add on activities have been added to the schedule, one for early arrivals on Thursday afternoon, one on Friday afternoon and one on Sunday morning.

The Thursday July 27 add on activity for early arrivals is a tour of the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh from 1:00-5:00. Included in the tour is the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum and behind the scenes tours of the Center’s collections management area, storage area, archives and library. The Heinz History Center was recently named the second best history museum in the country by a USA Today reader's choice poll. The fee for the tour is $18 plus parking. Deadline for reservations for the Thursday add on is July 20, 2023.

The Friday July 28 afternoon add on activity is a tour of the Latrobe (PA) Area Historical Society from 1:00-3:00 including the presentation "Latrobe: Home of Professional Football...Or Are We?" by Society President Mary Lou Townsend. Latrobe is approximately an hour from Pittsburgh. The presentation is Mary Lou’s attempt to separate fact from myth about Latrobe's role in the beginnings of professional football in the 1890s.

Mary Lou was born and raised in the Latrobe area. She has a life-long love of learning; so after teaching English for thirty-seven years in the Greater Latrobe School District, she became a volunteer at the Latrobe Area Historical Society. She has been its president since 2011. For the last fifteen years she has also been the editor of the Latrobe Historical Gazette, the society's quarterly publication. The presentation about professional football is one of many that she has presented on various aspects of Latrobe history.

There is no charge for the Latrobe tour and presentation, but donations are welcomed. Deadline for reservations for the Friday add on is July 21, 2023. To make reservations or if you have any questions, contact George Bozeka at, 330-571-0112, or 330-867-1950.

The Sunday July 30 morning add on is a Tour of Acrisure Stadium (formerly Heinz Field) including the Steelers Museum from 10:00-12:30. Fee for the tour is $10 plus parking. Depending on availability, parking is normally free around the Stadium on Sundays, but there may be a charge if the Pirates have a home game or there is another event in the area (currently $8-$15). The deadline for reservations for the Sunday add on is July 23, 2023.

Please stay tuned to The PFRA Coffin Corner Magazine, PFRA Website, and PFRA Forum for additional details and announcements. If you have any questions regarding the PFRA, the 2023 Convention, Convention add ons, or hotel reservations please contact 2023 Convention Organizer George Bozeka by email at, or by phone at 330-867-1950 or 330-571-0112.

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