Fresh off their Pro Football Hall of Fame induction, the six living inductees – Eddie DeBartolo Jr., Tony Dungy, Brett Favre, Kevin Greene, Marvin Harrison and Orlando Pace -- took part in the 2016 Gameday Roundtable.
Steve Wyche from the NFL Network emceed the event, hitting on topics including who the most-recent enshrinees think deserve to join them (Favre said former Packers coach Mike Holmgren) and what current player looks like a sure bet to be in Canton someday (Favre said Aaron Rodgers, while Greene said Clay Matthews – a player he coached in Super Bowl XLV).
While there were moments when it felt like the gift opening the day after a wild wedding celebration, a couple topics provided a payoff for the fans in attendance.
When Wyche asked the group who trash-talked the players the most during their career, Favre piped up with the quickest response. Pointing to Dungy, Favre declared Warren Sapp, who Dungy coached in Tampa Bay, as the “king of trash talking.”
“The problem was, he usually backed it up,” Favre said with a grin. “He hit me every single play, but one of my favorite Warren Sapp stories was, and it’s funny because after you play against someone and compete and fight and hate someone -- I hate to use the word ‘hate’ but I think people understand what I’m saying. Like I hated playing against Kevin Greene. Like, he was wild. And I’ll get back to Warren in a second, but he wasn’t really a trash talker. It was like you threw it and he’d tap you on the shoulder and he was like, ‘I’m getting closer, I’m getting closer.’ And you were like, ‘He is getting closer!’
“Now Warren Sapp, on the other hand, he would start before the first play. We played the first Monday night game in Raymond James Stadium. Warren had arrived at this point and been playing at a high level for several years and that defense started getting really good and we started a new left guard. First start for him ever. And the guy ends up being a great player for New England for a long time, Joe Andruzzi was his name. No one knew what Joe was going to do and how great of a career he would have, but he was starting against Warren Sapp. The place is electric; they’re blowing the cannon out of the pirate ship and all this stuff. We walk up to the line, we did not run shotgun at the time, and Joe is right here. Warren Sapp is lined up across from him and gets down on one knee, looks up at Joe and says, ‘Joe, you picked the wrong night to make your first start.’ And when I said ‘hut,’ Joe’s still in his stance. Warren and I are back there and Warren says, ‘It’s gonna be a long night for him.’ And it was.”
Pace then jumped in with a story about Vikings Hall of Fame defensive lineman John Randle that drew more laughter.
“I’m a young guy at the time and I don’t realize that John reads players’ bios prior to the game,” Pace said. “So he knows your wife, he knows your kids. So he’s playing inside on my guard and sitting there saying, ‘Hey, I got Kim’s picture – which is his wife – in my back pocket.’ And I’m like, ‘Oh my God!’ And I’m just a rookie so I’m like, ‘How do you know his wife?’“
When Wyche asked which teammate had their back throughout their career, Packers fans were already yelling out the answer.
“Frank Winters was my roommate for 12 years. I probably had his back more than he had mine. He was from Hoboken, N.J., I’m from Kiln, Mississippi. It took us five years to figure out what each other were saying,” Favre laughed. “And I’m telling you the truth, like I would say, ‘Frank, cut the TV off,’ and he’d say, ‘Cut what?’ That’s the way we talked. But we made it work on the field. And he was a non-drafted, Plan B free agent. He was a guy that no one wanted, a deep snapper, a journeyman that became a 12-year starter, and we hit it off right from the start. He was just a blue-collar, hard-working (guy). If he had to hold you, he held you. As long as they didn’t call it, it was legal. If he had to trip you, he tripped you. Whatever it took. Hey, he’d look around, ‘No flag? It was a good block.’ But in the game, that’s the way it is.”
And then the fun started.
“You know what?’ said Greene, interrupting the applause. “Let me say this, all offensive linemen are just like he described! Every one of them. Pull you down by the facemask, trip you.”
Said Pace laughing, “It’s all go until they call it. Everything’s fair game unless they call it.”
“That’s not right man, that’s not right,” Greene answered back, shaking his head.
“Not Orlando!” said Dungy.
“Yeah, now let’s flip this,” Wyche said. “What about those defensive lineman?”
“Oh, yeah, these guys grab your jersey. They hold, too. They never call defensive holding,” Pace said.
“We can actually use our hands and pull a little jersey. You guys aren’t supposed to!” Greene said.
The only one enjoying this more than the crowd might’ve been the quarterback that got it started.
“Look at ‘em, they’re about to fight now,” Favre joked.
Favre’s retired from the game, but clearly not the antics.