Patriots ties with executive award

The Sporting News announced its 2010 NFL Executive of the Year Award today, and the results had a strong Patriots connection.

Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff, the former Patriots director of college scouting, earned the honor for the second time in three years. Kansas City Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli, the former Patriots vice president of player personnel, was the runner-up.

Both Dimitroff and Pioli have proven that while some former Patriots coaches have struggled when landing a promotion with a new team, that hasn't been the case on the executive level.

The Sporting News Executive of the Year award is considered by many in personnel as the gold standard, as the winner is chosen after general managers, assistant general managers, owners, personnel men and head coaches are surveyed.

There were a lot of worthy choices this year -- Dimitroff, Pioli, Tampa Bay's Mark Dominik (third-place finisher), Pittsburgh's Kevin Colbert and Green Bay's Ted Thompson among them.

One could make a case that the combination of Bill Belichick/Nick Caserio/Jon Robinson in New England would also be worthy of consideration. The 2010 Patriots season was solid from a personnel perspective, but perhaps the lack of a clear-cut No. 1 personnel man might have affected the vote.