The Pro Football Hall of Fame Welcomes a New Class

(Somewhere on the PA Turnpike) —  As a recently acknowledged “NFL Historian”, one of the bigger events on my NFL calendar and many other fans is the Pro Football Hall of Fame weekend (August 3rd – 5th).  As a credentialed member of the media, I will get the up close “fan” view and it will be awesome to once again be in the presence of the home of pro football greatness for the second year in a row. Last year was very special for me as I got to walk through the hallowed halls of the HOF for the first time and I was able to see the evolution of the game from the early 1900’s to Today’s game. The place is definitely special with “Old School” meeting “New School” as you can see and hear about artifacts from early pioneers Jim Thrope and Fritz Pollard to today’s superstar’s like LT. Last Year’s weekend also was special to me, because I got the opportunity to congratulate my colleague from The Field Generals and “Third and a Mile” Warren Moon in person on his induction into the Hall of Fame, becoming the first African American quarterback to receive the honor. However the occasion was bittersweet because my favorite player growing up in Philadelphia Reggie White was posthumously inducted in the Hall of Fame.

BIGPLAY Radio is excited to part of the festivities again and we will be on the scene to bring you the sights and sounds of induction weekend. This year’s inductions will be held on August 4th at 6PM (Thank Goodness, last year my BIGPLAY partner David Kindervater and I almost melted on the field). With the 2007 incoming class, the Hall of Fame will grow to 249 members. The induction class will feature a good mix of older and younger enshrinees that conjure up images of the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. This year’s group includes (listed w/ presenter): Cleveland Browns bruising Guard Gene Hickerson (Bobby Franklin – Former Pro and College Teammate), Dallas Cowboys enigmatic tough leadership WR Michael Irvin (Jerry Jones – Owner), Houston Oiler/Tennessee Titans ironman O-lineman Bruce Matthews (Mike Munchak – HOF), Detroit Lions smooth pass catching TE Charlie Sanders (William Clay Ford – Owner),

Buffalo Bills do-everything RB Thurman Thomas (Marv Levy – HOF), and St. Louis Cardinals smart coverage DB Roger Wehrli (Larry Wilson – HOF)

I am also looking forward to the great annual tradition of former enshrinees joining the latest class on stage in Canton. This year the largest contingent of Pro Football Hall of Fame members are expected including Troy Aikman, Dan Dierdorf, Eric Dickerson, Tony Dorsett, Dan Fouts, Frank Gifford, Joe Greene, Jim Kelly, Jack Lambert, Ronnie Lott, John Madden, Warren Moon, Barry Sanders, Gale Sayers, Bart Starr, Lynn Swann, Kellen Winslow and others.

I will definitely have more HOF memories to tell during and after the events of August 4th, so stay tuned.

Lloyd’s Leftovers

  • The Professor Goes in the HOF – I also want to send out kudos to fellow Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) member ESPN Sr. Writer John Clayton, who will be the 2007 Recipient of the Dick McCann Memorial Award. The award, which is given by our organization is named after the first director of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and it is presented annually in recognition of long and distinguished reporting in the field of pro football. The “Professor” as he is known is a skilled writer and regular contributor to all of ESPN’s outlets including SportsCenter and ESPN the Magazine. Not many people know it, but John has been covering the NFL for 35 years starting in high school writing about the great Pittsburgh Steelers teams of the 1970’s. I recently had the honor of working with him on a project about former Steeler quarterback Joe Gilliam and it was unbelievable the knowledge and memories that he possesses. Congrats to him and he now joins former recipients Ray Didinger of NFL Films ‘95, John McClain ‘06, Paul “Dr. Z” Zimmerman ‘96, and many other distinguished football writers.
  • The Best Filmaker in the Business Goes in HOF – The Pro Football Hall of Fame will honor NFL Films President Steve Sabol with the Daniel F. Reeves Pioneer Award. Sabol, who I had the pleasure of meeting this past February on radio row at the Miami Convention Center for Super Bowl XLI, is the best filmmaker that I know (sports or not). Under his watch NFL Films has won 92 Emmys and the organization continues to be the artistic vision of the NFL.  Steve has received 35 of those Emmys himself for his writing, cinematography, editing, directing, and producing. No one in all of television has earned as many Emmys in as many different categories. Sabol also hosts the studio’s Emmy award-winning series NFL Films Presents. Established in 1972 and named after the late Daniel F. Reeves, the Pioneer Award is given periodically to an individual who has made a significant innovative contribution to professional football. Sabol is just the seventh person to receive the prestigious award.

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