The Buffalo Bills announced Thursday that longtime Vice President of Communications Scott Berchtold would be stepping down and named Philadelphia Eagles Director of Public Relations Derek Boyko to replace him. Boyko grew up in Western New York but has been with the Eagles for 17 years.
Berchtold has run the Bills communications department for almost 30 years under both founding owner Ralph Wilson and current owners Kim & Terry Pegula. He has been a prominent voice for the team in the evolution from print to digital media, and from the days when star players could maybe get away with some shenanigans to a 24-hour news cycle. He will move to the newly-created position of “Special Assistant” to the department.
“Derek brings a wealth of NFL experience to the Bills organization and will be a very valuable addition as the leader of our communications department,” said team president Russ Brandon. “On behalf of the Bills organization, I would like to thank Scott for his class and dignity while steering our communications efforts for close to three decades. As we welcome Derek and his successful track record to the organization, we also look forward to the continued benefit of Scott’s experience, as he will oversee a number of important projects in his new position.”
Boyko grew up in Kenmore and graduated from Canisius College. While with the Eagles, their staff won the Rozelle Award from the Professional Football Writers Association of America in 2002 and 2004. Boyko also served on the NFL public relations staff during Super Bowls XL, XLI, XLII and XLIII according to the team’s press release.
Over on the Eagles side of the equation, beat writers and bloggers have been weighing in on Boyko leaving the Eagles.
“This is really bad news for people who cover the Eagles, and for Eagles fans. Good for Derek, who is from Buffalo,” tweeted Les Bowen of The Philadelphia Daily News in a series of posts. “Derek Boyko is a pro. Promotes collegiality, boosting coverage of team by helping reporters. He's leaving Eagles. Read into that what u will.”
The Eagles PR staff was embroiled in a scandal this season when they had a beat writer from The Philadelphia Inquirer removed during a game after a disagreement with management. Bowen said Boyko wasn’t in the press box and was “on the field at the time,” noting that if Boyko was there the incident “never would have happened.”
Our SB Nation Eagles blog, Bleeding Green Nation, also had glowing things to say about Boyko.
“This is a big loss for the Eagles organization,” writes Brandon Lee Gowton. “Derek did a great job as the team’s head PR guy. Speaking from personal experience, he was very approachable and willing to help with anything I ever needed. I truly appreciate him allowing Bleeding Green Nation to have credentialed access (with multiple writers) to Eagles practices and games every year. BGN wouldn’t fully be what it is today without his assistance.”
Bowton went on to tell a personal story about Boyko to reinforce his caring nature.
“Not only is Derek a true professional, but he’s also just a great guy. Shortly after I was terminated at Philadelphia magazine earlier this year, Derek reached out with a thoughtful, encouraging message. He didn’t need to do that, but that’s the kind of guy Derek is.”
The full piece over at BGN has more quotes from surprised Eagles beat writers.
Boyko has weighed in on his Twitter page.