2022 Pro Football Hall of Fame: Best moments

The Pro Football Hall of Fame welcomed eight new members on Saturday. 

Hall of Fame induction is the best particular person honor that may be bestowed upon a participant as soon as his profession involves an finish, and former Inexperienced Bay Packers defensive again LeRoy Butler — a four-time All-Pro who helped the Packers win Tremendous Bowl XXXI — defined why.

“When you play for the Green Bay Packers, a lot of doors open up,” Butler stated. “When you win a Super Bowl, all doors open up. But when you make the Hall of Fame, football heaven opens up.”

Sam Mills’ widow, Melanie Mills, gave a Hall of Fame speech in honor of the previous New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers linebacker, sharing a motto her husband used as motivation, as he went from being an undrafted free-agent to a five-time Pro Bowler.

He used the identical motto throughout his battle in opposition to most cancers earlier than he died in 2005. 

“Thank you for this honor,” Melanie Mills stated. “For believing in Sam and for helping to keep his story alive. Keep pounding, everyone — that’s what Sam would want you to do.”

Throughout his speech, Richard Seymour, who helped the New England Patriots win their first three Tremendous Bowls, recalled his first reminiscence as a soccer participant whereas thanking his mother.

“It was 31 years ago to this month when you drove me to my first football tryout and I didn’t even get out of the car,” Seymour stated. “Mom, if I told you three decades later that I would be wearing a gold jacket, you would have no reason to believe me. But you believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself.”

Artwork McNally made historical past on Saturday, turning into the primary sport official to ever be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 

Thought of to be the “Father of Modern Officiating,” McNally labored as a sport official from 1960-67 earlier than working because the NFL’s supervisor of officers from 1968-1987 and later the director of officiating from 1988-90. McNally, who turned 97 in July, gave a prerecorded speech. 

“This is the greatest thing I think for an official,” McNally stated. “Do the job, hopefully nobody knows you’re even around, make the calls the proper way they should be with a heavy dose of common sense.”

Tony Boselli additionally made historical past Saturday, because the five-time Pro Bowl offensive sort out turned the primary Jacksonville Jaguars participant inducted into the Hall of Fame. 

Boselli shared how his highschool coach killed his goals of turning into a quarterback, which ended up being the very best factor for him in the long term. 

“I was destined to be an offensive lineman, but not before a short stint as a tight end on the sophomore team and water boy for the varsity team,” Boselli stated. “I was a damn good water boy. … Not the most glamorous path, but all credit to you coach. It was the right path.”

Former defensive sort out Bryant Younger helped the San Francisco 49ers win Tremendous Bowl XXIX in 1994. The 89.5 sacks he recorded over his 14-year profession are additionally probably the most in 49ers’ historical past. 

Younger stated it was becoming that he was part of the 2022 class as a result of 22 was his late son Colby’s favourite quantity. Younger paid tribute to Colby, who died of most cancers on the age of 15.

“We assured Colby we would keep his spirit alive and continue speaking his name,” Younger stated. “On Oct. 11, 2016, God referred to as Colby residence.

“Colby, you reside on in our hearts. We’ll all the time converse your identify.”

Cliff Branch was the lone wide receiver inducted to the Hall of Fame on Saturday. He helped the Raiders win three Super Bowls in the late 1970s and early ’80s, leading the league in receiving in 1974. He was also a three-time All-Pro. 

Branch died at age 71 in 2019. His sister, Elaine Anderson, said her brother is still enjoying the day, likely with a pair of other Raiders legends who have passed on. 

“I can inform you there is a candy spirit on this place in the present day,” Anderson said. “Our Clifford, No. 21, wouldn’t miss his enshrinement for nothing. He longed for at the present time and 21 is sitting entrance and middle with Al Davis and John Madden.”

Former head coach Dick Vermeil closed out Saturday’s ceremony. 

Vermeil, whose NFL head coaching career began with the Philadelphia Eagles and ended with the Kansas City Chiefs, won his only Super Bowl as head coach of the Rams, spearheading the “Biggest Present on Turf” in 1999. He gave a special shoutout to one of the players from his championship Rams squad.

“Kurt Warner, his story is true,” Vermeil said. “The place would I be with out Kurt Warner? I would not be standing right here. Gosh, thanks for the contributions all of you guys made.”

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