Something that stood out to me about the Hall of Fame ceremony is that every one of those guys who were honored were different, but the thing that was crystal clear to me was the passion each have for the game of football. Because of that they lived their lives in a way that enabled them to become great at what they did.
Marvin Harrison, one of the players inducted, was undersized and almost frail looking, but found a way to withstand the punishment he received to become a truly great receiver. If you just looked at that little body he has you would think there is no way he could do what he did in the NFL, but he willed his way to making it happen.
The owner of the San Francisco ’49ers, Edward DeBartolo, was also inducted and his speech stood out to me when he talked about the importance of caring about the players in his organization for more than just their production on the field. It might not be important to a lot of people, but I can guarantee you it is important to the players and was part of the reason for his success. If you care about them they know it and it is not something you can fake. If it is a phony thing, they know it, too.
I also liked what Orlando Pace said about setting his goal, when he was just 13 years old, to get into the Hall of Fame and then being able to follow through after becoming the most dominating offensive lineman in the NFL for five or six years. He had a real commitment to what he did.
Brett Favre’s speed featured what I thought was one of the most profound statements of the event when he said when he looks back over his career he can’t be apologetic for the effort he gave trying to compete, win and become the best he could be. That was the way he played all the time, doing it with no fear. I know Brett and that is exactly the way he approached the game of football.
The quarterback also talked about how important his family has been in his life, which was a theme from other inductees, too. Having a loving family, regardless whether it was tough love or whatever, is important to success.
I liked Tony Dungy’s speech and am impressed with his success in the game, but my favorite one was when Kevin Greene came on the stage. I know I am not an impartial observer because he is an Auburn man, but I thought Kevin’s acceptance speech was off the charts. His comments reminded me a bit of the way he played. There was plenty of intensity and passion.
Kevin’s work ethic was tremendous at Auburn and in pro football. I really liked what he had to say about the importance of the people he had for his heroes like his daddy, his brothers as well as the coaches and teammates who helped him along the way. The way he ended his speech with what I thought was a very patriotic stance on America was strong, too.
Overall, I thought it was a great night for the National Football League. If it is ever re-run and you haven’t seen it, those speeches are well worth your time to watch.