On Saturday, seven highly-deserving individuals were enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Like usual, the speeches given by those being celebrated were inspiration, filled with passion and emotion, and clearly given from the bottom of each person’s heart. Here, now, the class of 2013 speeches in order (videos and bios courtesy of the NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame website):
Taken in 1st round (4th player overall) in 1996 … Strong pass protector and effective run blocker … Led way for running back Jamal Lewis who became fifth player in NFL history to rush for 2000 yards in a season, 2003 … NFL Alumni’s NFL Offensive Lineman of the Year, 2002 … Named first-team All-Pro six times … All-AFC nine times … 11 Pro Bowls … Selected to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of 2000s … Born July 31, 1974 in Washington, D.C.
Drafted in 1st round by Packers in NFL; 3rd round by Chargers in AFL, 1963 … Big-play performer on Packers dynasty … Started OLB in three straight NFL championship wins, 1965-67 and Super Bowl I and II victories … Intercepted 27 passes for 449 yards, 1 TD … All-Pro second-team in 1968-69 … First-team All-NFL, 1967-69 … Three Pro Bowls … Named to NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1960s … Born May 3, 1941 in Mt. Holly, New Jersey.
Drafted by Cowboys in 2nd round (46th player overall) in 1994 … Versatile, played every position on offensive line except center during 12 seasons with Dallas … Led way for Cowboys and 49ers single-season rushing records (Emmitt Smith in 1996 and Frank Gore in 2006) … Named first-team All-Pro seven straight years … First-team All-NFC six times … Elected to 11 Pro Bowls … Named to NFL All-Decade Teams of 1990s and 2000s … Born November 27, 1971 in Los Angeles, California.
Reversed the fortunes of four NFL teams … Regular season record: 172-130-1 … Postseason record: 11-8 … Overall record: 183-138-1 … Led Giants to Super Bowls XXI and XXV victories … Guided Patriots to Super Bowl XXXI appearance … Had best two-year turnaround of 1-15 team when led Jets to 9-7 record, 97 and 12-4 record, 1998 … First to coach four different teams into the playoffs … NFL Coach of the Year 1986, 1994 … Born August 22, 1941 in Englewood, New Jersey.
Selected in 2nd round (31st player overall) in 1968 draft by Broncos … Traded during training camp and became key member of KC defense that guided team to Super Bowl IV win two seasons later … Leader of 1975 Oilers to help team to first winning season in eight years and just second in 13 seasons … Named NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year and first-team All-Pro, 1975 … First- or second-team All-AFC five times … Six Pro Bowls … Born March 10, 1946 in Yuma, Arizona.
Drafted in 1st round (12th player overall) in 1995 … Amassed 96.5 career sacks … 1999 NFL Defensive Player of the Year … Started in two NFC championship games, one Super Bowl … Recorded two tackles, one sack, two passes defensed, and forced fumble in Bucs’ 48-21 win over Raiders, Super Bowl XXXVII … All-Pro four straight times (1999-2002) … All-NFC five times … Seven Pro Bowls … Named to NFL’s All-Decade Teams of the 1990s, 2000s … Born December 19, 1972 in Orlando, Florida.
Fourth round pick by Philadelphia in the 1987 Supplemental Draft … Durable, played full 16-game schedule 13 of 16 seasons … Recorded eight straight 1,000-yard seasons … Caught 70-plus passes in 10 seasons … Scored 130 career touchdowns, amassed 1,101 receptions – both second most ever at time of retirement … Had 100-yard receiving games 42 times … Selected to eight Pro Bowls (1994-2001) … Named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1990s … Born November 25, 1965, in Troy, Ohio.