Tuesday, February 08, 2011


NFL Hall of Fame Inductees-2011

“Turn out the lights! The party’s over!”

Those were the words of “Dandy” Don Meredith, a former Dallas Cowboy. Every Monday night, when there was no doubt in the outcome of a National Football League contest, Meredith would sing that tune, horribly.

The Super Bowl party is over in Dallas. The Packers emerged victorious, and Aaron Rogers, the Packer quarterback, won the award as the Most Valuable Player.

Unless cooler heads prevail, the lights could be out for quite some time. The owners and the players are miles apart in terms of a settlement on a collective agreement. The 2011 season is in serious jeopardy.

Last Saturday, the NFL announced the latest group of inductees to enter the NFL Hall of Fame. The selection committee had done their work, and had come up with the chosen few. The envelope was passed to the master of ceremonies, and the names were read.

I have a concern or two about the process.

First of all, the timing of the announcement is just not right. The league is in the midst of a furor of media activity about the big game. The hall of fame announcements pale in comparison to the big game hype. Wait a couple of months before releasing the information. The Induction Ceremony is held in August, so there is no great rush.

Secondly, one of the inductees announced is Ed Sabol. Ed never pulled on the shoulder pads nor laced up the boots. But I would venture to say he did more for the game than any of the other inductees. He was a filmmaker, and began filming NFL games in 1962. He masterminded the brilliant films and documentaries that promote the game, revolutionizing the manner in which sports are presented. His company has won 52 Emmy awards. There was some grumbling from players that they didn’t like a cameraman taking one of the hall of fame slots that should have gone to a player.

Unfortunately, the selection committee is limited to choosing players, owners, builders, officials, and filmmakers in one category. Most other sports halls of fame have several pigeon holes for selection. The format needs to be changed for football.

The Hall does have a wonderful induction ceremony at which each inductee gets the “yellow jacket”, is inducted, and has a chance to respond. Quite often, the response speeches are priceless.

Here are the other six inductees, alphabetically:

Richard Dent-Defensive End. He played fifteen seasons, mostly with the Bears.

Marshall Faulk-Running Back. He split his time of twelve seasons between the Rams and the Colts.

Chris Hanburger-Linebacker. All fourteen seasons were with the Redskins.

Les Richter-Linebacker. He began his career in 1954, and spent nine seasons with the Rams.

Deion Sanders-Cornerback-Kick Returner. He played for the Falcons, the 49ers, the Cowboys, the Redskins, and the ravens for fourteen seasons.

Shannon Sharpe-Tight end. He played fourteen seasons with the Broncos and the Ravens.

It is indeed a great honour to be inducted into the hall of fame in one’s particular sport. Players do not begin their careers with that in mind. At the end of a fine career, an athlete might wonder, for a moment about the possibility. For these chosen ones, that is now about to come to fruition. Thursday, August 6th, in Canton, Ohio.

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