ESCANABA - Bob McGinn has built a tremendous resume as a sportswriter and has an equally tremendous reputation for his incredible work ethic and his concise, penetrating insights into professional football.
He is the consummate sportswriter with his knowledge, accuracy, analysis, tireless devotion and countless contacts.
That all came together this week when he received the prestigious Dick McCann Memorial Award for his expert reporting on the National Football League.
An Escanaba native, McGinn is the Milwaukee JournalSentinel beat reporter for the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers. He has held that post since 1991, after covering the Packers with the Green Bay Press-Gazette from 1979.
He joined the Press-Gazette in 1975, after a short stint with the now defunct Delta Reporter. He spent his 1973 summer vacation from the University of Michigan as an intern with the Daily Press.
"This is like the writer's wing of the Hall of Fame," McGinn said in a telephone interview this week after receiving notification of his award. "I'm just shaking.
"For a player, the Hall of Fame is that pinnacle. For a football writer, this is pretty much it. I'm extremely humbled. It is a thrill beyond belief."
The 1970 Escanaba Holy Name graduate was inducted into the Upper Peninsula Sports Hall of Fame in 2008. He is also a five-time winner as sportswriter of the year in Wisconsin and has earned a bevy of other writing awards.
"These are just giants, people as a kid I read and looked up to," he said of McCann winners since the award began in 1969. "There are some great football writers on here, the best. To have my name there is so gratifying and humble, for a kid from Escanaba and from Holy Name."
McGinn remembers being in the Press-Gazette office when then P-G sportswriter Art Daley won the same award in 1977. Daley, one of the industry's true gentlemen, died earlier this year.
Many of the previous winners have become friends with McGinn through their NFL connections, such as Peter King of Sports Illustrated, Jerry Green of the Detroit News, Len Pasquarelli of espn.com and the late Joel Buchsbaum of Pro Football Weekly.
"This is a fraternity of writers, and I know them so well. What a thrill to be in their company," said McGinn, who is married to the former Pat Casey of Escanaba. "I've been really lucky, the places I worked, the people I've been around, the people in the football world who went out of their way to teach me the game."
He also paid credit to his late parents (Denis and Catherine McGinn), teachers, coaches, bosses and friends for their support and guidance.
He is also the author of the "Ultimate Super Bowl" book, an extensive look at each of the first 43 Super Bowl games. He has covered 25 of the past 27 Super Bowls and used his sterling research abilities and numerous contacts to provide a glowing in-depth look at what made champions of those 43 teams.
Asked about Super Bowl XLV, McGinn talked about how the Packers overcame a glut of injuries to win their final six games and their fourth Super Bowl.
"The way this group of people and coaches overcame a seige of injuries was remarkable, and it made for a compelling story," he said. "The offense just came together and their defense played above."
He also credited defensive coordinator Dom Capers and a strong corps of assistant coaches for the success.
Like all true writers, McGinn reports on the game, sticks to the facts and provides exquisite analysis. He is not a cheerleader or a homer, like most broadcasters who constantly use "we" and "us" when they announce games.
"When I do a feature on an undrafted rookie in mid-August, I try just as hard on that as I do on a Super Bowl game story," he said.
We have worked together at the Daily Press and Press-Gazette and have played softball and golf over the years. He actually provided my first golf lesson back in 1973. I am proud to call him a very good friend.