Every year for the last three years, journalists, commentators and experts on Pope Francis have gotten out of bed one morning early in October, waiting to swing into action should the Nobel Peace Prize Committee select the pontiff, who’s always a heavy favorite in both bookmaker odds and on-line speculation.

And, so far, every year we’ve all gone back to bed relatively swiftly, because the pope wasn’t the pick.

Bringing home hardware, however, is not the only definition of victory. Another way of looking at winning is getting exactly what you want out of a situation, and by that standard Pope Francis seems a big winner indeed.

Think about not only who actually won, but who else was considered a favorite and thus benefitted from the attention and buzz that rumors of an impending Nobel Prize always generate.

The recipient of the award announced in Oslo on Friday was Colombia’s Juan Manuel Santos for his efforts to negotiate an end to the world’s longest-running civil conflict. The choice appeared to be aimed not merely at applauding Santos’s efforts but also reviving the peace deal after it went down to a stunning defeat in a popular referendum.

It’s a cause obviously near and dear to the heart of history’s first pontiff from Latin America. Francis has acknowledged engaging in telephone diplomacy with Santos along the way to try to help move the ball, and he’s also dangled the prospect of a papal visit to Colombia as an incentive to encourage all sides to make the decision to lay down arms irreversible.

If winning the Nobel does help revive momentum for a new deal in the wake of the plebiscite result, it would be precisely the outcome that Francis himself likely would have desired.

Who else was in the mix?

There was Syria’s “White Helmets” brigade, a group of 3,000 local volunteers, many of them former tailors and carpenters and students and engineers, dedicated to saving lives when fighter jets and helicopters drop barrel bombs, cluster explosives, phosphorus bombs and chlorine shells on Syrian neighborhoods or hospitals.

As an online petition supporting the White Helmets’ candidacy put it, “they wake up every day to save the lives others are trying so hard to take. These volunteer rescue workers have saved 62,000 lives in Syria and for that, they are under constant attack.”

There’s no global hotspot today of greater personal concern to Francis than Syria.

In late September, as the bombing of Aleppo heated up, Francis descried the assault, saying those responsible for the bombing must answer to God.

Francis said at a public audience in St. Peter’s Square that he’s “united in suffering through prayer and spiritual closeness” to Aleppo’s people.

The very next day, Francis said that “the logic of arms and oppression, hidden interests and violence” continues to wreak devastation in this country and Iraq, and that despite the efforts, the world hasn’t been able to end this “exasperating suffering.”

“The limit imposed upon evil, of which man is both perpetrator and victim, is ultimately Divine Mercy,” the pontiff said, quoting his predecessor, St. John Paul II. Humanitarian aid workers, Francis said, are for those suffering a “sign that evil has limits and does not have the last word.”

Although the pontiff did not specifically name the White Helmets, many heard an echo of their heroism in his words.

Certainly if the White Helmets drew new visibility and international support out of the boomlet around their Nobel campaign, Francis will certainly take pleasure in the outcome.

Also in the mix were the Greek islanders, meaning those Greeks on the frontlines of receiving the tidal waves of people washing up in the Aegean Sea who constitute Europe’s greatest refugee crisis since World War II.

As a petition from academics nominating them put it, “On remote Greek islands, grandmothers have sung terrified little babies to sleep, while teachers, pensioners and students have spent months offering food, shelter, clothing and comfort to refugees who have risked their lives to flee war and terror.”

Once again, it’s tough to find an issue of more burning concern for Francis than the European refugee crisis.

Last April, Francis made a day trip to the Greek island of Lesbos, which ended with the pontiff bringing 12 Syrian Muslim refugees with him back to Rome aboard the papal plane to begin new lives.

Two months later, nine more Syrian refugees were settled in Rome on the pope’s personal initiative. At the pope’s invitation, the Community of Sant’Egidio has played the lead role in making sure the refugee families are settled and have opportunities to find education, work, and eventually their own housing.

As he wrapped up the Lesbos trip, Francis dispatched this tweet through his various @Pontifex Twitter accounts.

“Refugees are not numbers, they are people who have faces, names, stories, and need to be treated as such.”

In that context, it’s hard to imagine that the pontiff wasn’t delighted to see the Greek islanders enjoy the respect and admiration the Nobel ferment created, and to hope it will encourage them, and others like them, in their efforts.

Pope Francis is one of the most visible and celebrated figures on the face of the planet, and therefore arguably on a short list of people least in need of the visibility and moral authority the Nobel Peace Prize confers.

From his point of view, be probably feels like he won big in 2016: The causes he cares about got a boost, while the honorifics which leave him cold missed him. As a bonus, he doesn’t even have to go to Norway in December to pick up his prize.