Hall of Fame Game Put to Shame?

CANTON – The NFL Hall of Fame Game is one that seems to diminish in meaning a little more each year, similar to that of the NFL Pro Bowl. However, if you were excited for this year’s game, you would be disappointed.

Shortly after the top of the seven o’clock hour, the NFL released on Twitter that the game had been cancelled due to poor field conditions.

This is not too unfamiliar, however, as last year’s game also faced much criticism over field condition. Even more talk was raised after Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham’s season was ended via a torn ACL at last year’s event.

The issue with the field was actually the paint in the end zones and at midfield. The paint was “congealing” which in layman’s terms basically means it took on a very rubbery texture, almost that of tar, and the players would not be able to grip the surface well.

Leaving the premises, I was able to catch a few comments from some fans. Many weren’t too shaken up over the ordeal. Others, however, were not as kind.

“That’s absolutely terrible” said one father of a Packer family that had made the trip from Wisconsin. “We travel all this way and they can’t play the game because someone messed up the paint? Absurd”.

Hall of Fame President David Baker was even booed shortly after 8 when he came out to address the fans on what had really went wrong with the field conditions.

So far, there have been no indicators on fan refunds for tickets or anything like that. However, it is safe to assume that the preparation of next year’s game will be under much tighter supervision.

The majority of fans seem to embrace the cancellation fairly well, acknowledging that there really is nothing at stake. Those that made the trip though…… well based on the Packer family from earlier and some other fans on Twitter, the NFL will have some explaining (or not) to do.

At the end of the day, losing money on a preseason ticket game can’t be too fun. However, if you asked a Packer fan if it would be worth losing Aaron Rodgers to injury in the Hall of Fame game, well, pretty easy answer to that one.

2016 NFL Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony

CANTON — The annual Hall of Fame weekend here in Canton is one of celebration, and that is exactly what the enshrinement ceremony Saturday night was all about.

The air was electric as many fans of the league (the majority of which were Packers fans sporting their own Brett Favre jersey) came to celebrate the accomplishments of a few greats. The sheer sight of a Brett Favre highlight playing on one of the three big screens surrounding the stage had fans in an uproar.

Marvin Harrison was the first to speak as the long time, record-breaking Indianapolis Colt had his blue and white faithful going crazy. He was not to leave out his teammates, however, as shout outs were given to future Hall of Famers Peyton Manning, Edgerrin James, and Reggie Wayne, who all played next to Harrison many years in Indy.

Next was the Ohio native Orlando Pace, which many fans went crazy for since Pace played his college ball just down the road at The Ohio State University. Pace’s brought tears to both his mother’s eyes and the eyes of many in attendance. Of course, this was not all without a quick O-H-I-O chant with the Buckeye natives prior to his speech.

Following this was the induction of the late Dick Stanfel, who was enshrined on behalf of his three sons. Stanfel was a long time right guard with the Detroit Lions and really helped revolutionize the position.

Of course, what is a hall of fame enshrinement ceremony without a Pittsburgh Steelers. Tough as nails Kevin Greene had the Terrible Towels waving in Canton.

“I’ve never experienced anything like being a Pittsburgh Steeler”, Greene said. “When I was playing here I felt like I was unblock-able”.

Greene, who is also a former member of the U.S. military, gave shout outs to all the men and women who serve our country and also to his very decorated military brother.

The late Ken Stabler was to follow, and if you didn’t believe Raiders fans were insane, the reaction to Stabler’s enshrinement would easily be enough to change your mind. “The Snake”, who led his Raiders to two Super Bowls and winning in 1977 in Super Bowl XI against the Minnesota Vikings, was enshrined on behalf of his grandsons, former Raider and hall of fame receiver Fred Biletnikoff, and other Raider greats.

Former San Francisco 49er owner Ed DeBartolo Jr. also had many interesting stories, many of which involved meeting his players directly after games and even staying with them for long periods of time in the hospital when an injury would occur.

DeBartolo chose to reflect on “The Catch” from the 1982 NFC Championship Game and where he was when it happened. Apparently, his view was actually blocked by an officer on a horse who gave him a thumbs up after the play happened. “That’s how I found out”, DeBartolo said. “My view was blocked by a horse’s a—“.

Tony Dungy was next to speak as his enshrinement was presented by his longtime friend and former Steelers great, Donnie Shell.

Dungy was the youngest African American defensive coordinator to enter the NFL and he was also the first African American head coach to win a Super Bowl when he led his Colts over the Bears in 2006. Dungy, much like Marvin Harrison, was sure to give love to his Colts fans.

“They made me feel like native Hoosiers”, Dungy said. “My family and I are forever grateful for that”.

Last (but certainly not least) was Brett Favre. The very sight of him walking on stage cued the Packer faithful into a “Go Pack Go!” chant that could be heard from McKinley High School.

“I was going to ask if I could play the first series here tomorrow night” Favre said. Based on how fans reacted to that sentiment, it’s safe to say no one would have an issue with it. And heck, he’s came out of retirement before, what’s once more?

Favre definitely wrapped up a remarkable night down at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, as the lessons and stories told from those NFL greats are ones that anyone could remember for a lifetime.

 

 

2016 NFL Hall of Fame: Media Day

WZIP had a chance to cover one of the biggest events in Canton, Ohio. The NFL Hall of Fame. Khalil Smith and Dahmere Epperson had a chance to ask questions to soon to be Hall of Famers Tony Dundy, Marvin Harrison, Chris Martin, and Dermontti Dawson. Dermonttti shared with us stories about his life before the fame. After having a bad experience playing ninth grade football, Dermontti Dawson chose to not go out for his high school team his sophomore year. He didn’t join the football team until his13667742_10154425236677888_3477638463942591378_o junior year after being recruited due to his size by the school’s football coach. Tony Dundy also answered a question for us. Tony is the first African American coach to win a super bowl. Dahmere Epperson asked what advice he would give to aspiring young coaches? ” aspire to make a difference” -Tony Dundy  “It was surreal experience that will last a life time.”- Dahmere Epperson .  WZIP also gave a youth perspective. WZIP had the youngest group of representatives there.  Hall of Fame coach Tony Dundy: The first African American Head Coach to win a super bowl. He asked ” What advice would you give to young males aspiring to be as successful as you?” Overall this was a wonderful experience. WZIP appreciates the opportunity to be apart of this momentous occasion and WZIP looks forward to being the next NFL induction ceremony. We would like to thank all of the Honorees for the opportunity to answer our questions.