CANTON, August 5, 2017 – After many years of bumps and bruises, successes and failures, the Pro Football Hall of Fame welcomed seven new members last night.
The class of 2017 included a diverse group of members including a kicker (Morten Anderson), a safety (Kenny Easley) and two running backs (Terrell Davis, LaDainian Tomlinson), quarterback (Kurt Warner), defensive end (Jason Taylor) and legendary Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. The last time a kicker was inducted was in 1991, a safety hasn’t been inducted since 1998 and 2017
The last time a kicker was inducted was in 1991, a safety hasn’t been inducted since 1998 and 2017 were the first time two running backs were inducted into the hall since 1994.
The Hall of Fame festivities are spread out over a week, with a preseason football game on Friday. The official induction into the Hall of Fame gave each of the 2017 inductees time to commemorate the occiasion.
Kenny Easley, took the stage and gave a 22-minute speech, where he spoke to family and friends and even mentioned the Black Lives Matter cause.
“Black lives do matter, and all lives matter, too,” Easley said. “But the carnage affecting young black men today from random violence to police shootings across this nation has to stop.”
Jason Taylor was the next inductee to speak. He used his speech to talk about his playing career and even acknowledged his horrible season in 2008, when he played for the Washington Redskins.
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) August 5, 2017
The next man to speak was Morten Andersen, who had a very interesting path to the NFL. Andersen grew up in Denmark and didn’t know what football was until he moved to the United States in high school as an exchange student.
Andersen grew up in Denmark and didn’t know what football was until he moved to the United States in high school as an exchange student. Andersen developed skills as a kicker and started for his high school team, leading him to a career as an NFL kicker for the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons.
Fans from both teams loved him and showed their appreciation together at the ceremony. Andersen still remains the leading scorer in Saints history as well as the second-leading scorer in Falcons history.
A Saints and Falcons fan working together
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) August 6, 2017
The other star who entered football’s sacred hall is Terrell Davis. John Elway credits Davis’ strong performances as the reason Elway and the Broncos won two Super Bowls. During his 20-minute speech he told the story of how he almost left the NFL before his career even started.
As a rookie in 1995, Davis was playing a game in Tokyo and decided he did not want to play pro football anymore, so he attempted to get a flight back to the United States but the front desk only spoke Japanese, so Davis was unable to leave and instead decided to give the sport another shot.
Davis is best known for winning two Super Bowls, receiving two Offensive Player of the Year awards and earned one NFL MVP award during his illustrious seven-year career.
— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) August 6, 2017
After Davis came Tomlinson, he was a strong player in the NFL during his career with the San Diego Chargers. During his speech he thanked his friends, former teammates and coaches and even San Diego Chargers owner Dean Spanos. Tomlinson also spoke about how his mom was influential to his career.
“People ask me, ‘Who do you get your work ethic from? it was my mom,” Tomlinson said. “I was motivated to work hard by watching her.”
Tomlinson also used his time to speak about being a united country.
“Let’s not slam the door on those who might be different from us,” Tomlinson said. “When we open the door for others to compete, we open the door for one nation, under God with liberty and justice for all. On America’s team, let’s not choose to be against one another, let’s choose to be for one another.”
— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) August 6, 2017
Following Tomlinson was Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
The Cowboys owner gave the longest speech, clocking in at 37 minutes. Jones thanked everyone including former coach Jimmy Johnson, John Madden, Herschel Walker and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and even thanked former Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.
In a surprise move, he even thanked his team’s rivals.
— Michael Irvin (@michaelirvin88) August 6, 2017
“I love Eagles fans. I love Giants fans. I love Redskins fans,” Jones said. “You’re here tonight because you love the game and I’m here tonight because I love the game. Thank you guys.”
— NFL (@NFL) August 6, 2017
The final speech of the night came from Kurt Warner.
Warner was the former quarterback for St. Louis and Arizona. Warner managed to thank almost everyone that helped him achieve a dream he did not think he would accomplish. Warner started out as a grocery clerk, then went to playing indoor football to NFL Europe to Rams to Super Bowl winner in 1999.
Kurt Warner even thanked the man, who he replaced because of an injury. Trent Green was the Rams starting quarterback but was injured during a preseason game in 1999. As these eight gentlemen enter the hall, NFL fans are sitting back and wondering who will enter the sacred hall next year.