Canton, 20 former players, coaches and contributors were inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in its 2020 class on Saturday night after postponing the ceremony for more than a year due to the Ohio-Govt-19 epidemic. Each member received a gold jacket, a bronze bust and a football indestructible spot.
Fans flocked to Tom Benson Stadium from all over on a relatively cold evening in Northeast Ohio. This is the first time in the Hall of Fame induction nights, as the 2021 class is set for Sunday. Most of the fans were dressed in black and gold as Steelers fans made their presence felt throughout the evening. The fair share of Golds, Broncos and Cowboys fans was also there to cheer the respective promoters.
Twelve out of 20 spoke: Troy Polamalu, Cliff Harris, Steve Adwater, Paul Tagliabeau, Steve Hutchinson, Don Shell, Isaac Bruce, Jimbo Coward, Edgar James, Harold Carmichael, Jimmy Johnson and Bill Gowher. The other eight – Bobby Dillon, Winston Hill, Alex Carras, Steve Sopol, Duke Slater, Mac Speedy, Ed Sprinkle and George Young – were elected posthumously.
Take a look at the first few memorable moments of the two inaugural ceremonies this weekend.
Steelers Nation captures Canton
The three were former Steelers on Saturday nights, so Pittsburgh fans flocked to Canton to cheer on Bill Gaur, Tony Shell and Troy Polamalu. Many former Steelers traveled to Canton. The list includes fellow Hall of Famers Mel Blunt, Franco Harris, Lynn Swann, John Stallworth, Dermondi Dawson and Rod Woodson. It was like the fourth quarter of a playoff game when he took the stage for his Hall of Fame speech.
Polamal gets a jacket and an amazing bust, promoting Hines Ward
Just before the ceremonies officially began, former Steelers security Troy received his gold jacket in front of a discriminating Steelers crowd. Polamalu could not get his jacket on Friday night because he tested positive for COVID-19 last week. After obtaining medical permission and arriving in Canton, Polamalu received a loud reception at night. Heinz Ward, a former teammate of the Hall of Fame induction, was crowned champion.
Bolamalu’s bust was amazing – you can Read all about it here. See for yourself.
Edge knocks down the house
One of the most welcome speeches of the night was delivered by Edgarine James, who was humorous and insightful when he was on stage. James talked about how often he was stereotyped for his treadlocks and gold teeth. James said he was true to himself when he embraced those who accepted him. Regarding Manning, James said: “We can not be different as people, but when we landed on the field, we joined as brothers.”
James brought the crowd to its feet at the end of his speech while discussing how to bring the country closer.
“If you do your job, the world will be a better place.”
The pitch of Harold Carmichael
The first speaker of the night, former Eagles receiver Harold Carmichael, presented his case for Dick Vermeil to gain his Hall of Fame reputation. Vermeil (who lost the Eagles Super Bowl XV, but won his Rams Super Bowl XXXIV) that led the Eagles and Rams to the Super Bowl appearance was on hand to watch Carmichael receive his gold jacket.
Inspirational message from Cliff Harris
Former Cowboys defensive back Cliff Harris ended his speech by explaining how his former Division II athlete went to the Hall of Fame. Each of his last seasons he played in five Super Bowls with a Pro Bowler, Harris Cowboys, and won two.
The (former) champions are here
At the end of his speech, former Broncos defender Steve Atwater asked his former Broncos team to stand up. Members of the Broncos Super-Bowl Championship teams in the late 90s include John Elway, Darrell Davis, Rod Smith, Phil Romanowski, Mark Schleret and Neil Smith.
A quick Walter Baden story
Jimbo Coward is now the second member to receive a gold jacket in the 1985 Pierce offense. First Walter Baden, he retired as the all-time rushing leader of the NFL. Coward shared a story about Baton, who died tragically in 1999. He said every player except Beaverton shared a hotel room down the road. Howard said Beaverton would usually sneak into the room with Coward and Fullback Matt Sue.
Johnson’s HOF pitch
Jimmy Johnson Zack Thomas and Darren Woodson – pillars of his defense in Miami and Dallas – lobbied to get their own bronze breasts and gold jackets. Johnson shared a coaching philosophy that allowed the Cowboys to go from 1-15 to Super Bowl champions in three years.
The final speaker of the night, Guerrero thanked many who passed away for a good part of his speech: his parents, his first wife, Kay, former Steelers chairman Dan Rooney, former Steelers linebacker and 2016 Hall of Fame inductor Kevin Green and longtime NFL coach Marty Scottenheimer. Scottenheimer coached, and then hired Coher among his staff in Cleveland and Kansas City.
“Thanks to the coach for doing so much for so long,” Coher said. “One day you will be on the Hollow of Fame.”
Better than the others
- Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabu echoed James’ sentiments as it relates to listening and learning from today’s athletes. “Like Edge [Edgerrin James] Keep it up and don’t talk until you learn. ” he said, By NBC Games. “Don’t act before you know it. The voices of the players need to be heard. They need to be discussed. And, and they need to be criticized if their ideas are not properly grounded. But listen to the players’ voices because they have a lot to teach us all.”
- The most emotional moment of the night may have occurred when Steve Hutchinson talked about his six children. When he showed his soft side on Saturday night, Hutchinson’s treatment got his gold jacket off against defensive linemen for a dozen seasons.
- Isaac Bruce must have been watching “The Last Dance” while writing his text. Former Rams Widewood led his inner Michael Jordan while recalling his previous suspicions.
If you want to read more about each of the 2020 Indexes, check out our live blog below to revive the festival:
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