August 5, 2014, Louisville, KY.
Hall of Fame City of Canton, Ohio knows how to throw a celebration
What a weekend!! Where do I even begin with this amazing event held in the Hall of Fame City of Canton, Ohio. The NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement/Festival/Game is a must event to attend for any so-called National Football League fan. I urge all NFL fans to try the event at least once when either your team is represented in the Hall of Fame game, or when anyone from your team is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Question. Does anyone know what city found the NFL? The NFL one of America’s richest traditions was founded in the city of Canton Ohio. In 1922 the Akron Ohio Pros were the first world champions of the NFL. This is why fans of the NFL & NFL Legends like John Madden, Warren Sapp, Deion Sanders, and Marcus Allen flock to the City of Canton, Ohio every year. I never knew that Canton was instrumental in creating a league that many across the country are absolutely in love with. Nice feather to have in your cap Canton.
Pro Football Hall of Fame 14′ Grand Parade
The Staff for Analyzed Sports departed Louisville, KY around 2:45 am Saturday morning August 2nd, 2014. Driving to Canton from Louisville is about a 5-hour commute on Interstates 71N, 70East, and 77 North. Analyzed Sports arrived in the Hall of Fame City of Canton around 8:00 am EST in time to attend the Annual Grand Parade. The Grand Parade was full of energy as close to 200,000 spectators lined the 2-mile strip for an opportunity to see the Class of 2014 Enshrinees. The Parade also featured returning Hall of Famers, giant helium balloons, marching bands, floats, classic cars and other specialty units. An Awesome sight to see was Legendary Wide Receiver Steve Largent catches a pass from a spectator in the crowd then spiking the football while riding down the street. Texas Southern University Marching Band filled the Canton Streets with a cool chant and a fantastic drum-line. It was definitely a sight to see. Check the video of Texas Southern ’s parade march below. The Grand Parade lasted about 3 hours, and overall this was a cool experience to witness in Downtown Canton Ohio.
Lodging Search in the Hall of Fame City
Due to missing the deadline to apply for hotel reservations for all media outlets, Analyzed Sports was still in search of a place to room for a few nights. Note: It’s approaching high noon. The PGA and the NFL Hall of Fame Festivities were going on during the same weekend, so rooms were expensive and hard to find. Hearing the phrase from the receptionists working Hotels’ front desk saying were SOLD OUT was all-too-common. Hotels within 20 miles of Canton inflated their prices to take advantage of the special events within their town. Rooms that were normally $50 to $120 a night were going for over $200 and $300 dollars for one night. After several phone calls, and several hours of riding from town to town, Analyzed Sports found a good deal in the hometown of KING LEBRON JAMES. The suite was just outside of Cleveland in Akron and a 30-minute drive from Canton. It wasn’t too bad of a drive. The Ticket for the Suite cost $159 plus Ohio’s 15% sales tax. SOLD. Pulled up just in time to check in at 3 pm. Time to get ready for the 2014 Enshrinement.
Class of 2014 Enshrinement Ceremony
I was truly impressed with how well the Pro Football Hall of Fame staff had this event organized. The event staff should be applauded for their thoughtfulness, organization, and gratitude they showed the visitors of their city. Kudos to all who contributed. After parking at the fairgrounds and taking the shuttle to Fawcett Stadium, Analyzed Sports is finally on the scene around 5 pm to cover the enshrinement ceremony. It was an absolutely beautiful sight to see. Michael Irvin, Warren Sapp, Marshall Faulk, and Deion Sanders worked for the NFL Network and ESPN cameras while the Buffalo Bills fans worked the entire stadium. Buffalo Bills fans were definitely well represented. The Bills fans probably outnumbered the Giants fans 10 to 1. Maybe more. Put it this way, it wasn’t even close. The two chants heard the most in Fawcett Stadium were “Kelly Tough” “Kelly Tough” and “Let’s Go Buffalo”
2014 Hall of Fame Speech Best Quotes
After meeting up with the Analyzed Sports staff to go over the game plan for the Speeches, I make my way up to the Press Box to focus on the best quotes from the Class of 2014 Pro Football Hall of Famers. Here is a combination of the Analyzed Sports best quotes, along with some of the best pictures taken by the staff at Analyzed Sports.
“Finally, as a servant leader, I want to go about it with a great deal of humility. Because I believe, as my mother taught me, it’s never, never in a position to toot your own horn, because humility as I once learned is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less. Someone also taught me that most people will forgive what you say. Some will forgive what you do. But no one will ever forget how you made them feel”.
“Now, they told me that I only had ten minutes up here, but let me start off by telling you I’ve waited almost 30 years to get to this podium, so don’t rush me, guys. I’m going to be here for a minute”.
“I want to pay special recognition to the sports writers. The people who wrote something. I know you had a hard time because most of you guys weren’t even alive when I played. So I know you worked hard to get me in, and I do appreciate it”.
“In September, you football guys know when the weather changes. It goes from dead hot summer to the fall. We all know because it’s getting time right now. We’re itching right now on this stage. We know it’s getting ready to be football season. Yeah, you fans know it’s getting ready to be football season. So how do you know? Some people say you got to be a Christian to know God talks to you. No! God is talking to us all the time.”
“Waleria, my beautiful daughter, you’re my baby girl, and Daddy is always there for you. I told you I was going to give you a shout out. So everyone watching tonight, go follow my daughter on Instagram. Love you”.
“Football has been a blessing. It has changed my life and those around me. It is a bond that keeps a family together, and provided opportunities where there was just inspiration and determination. The thing I’ve learned along this incredible journey, I’m not only cheering for the rest of my life, but pass it on to anyone that loves the game. Thank you, go Seahawks, and I love Seattle.”
I hope I inspire young punters to achieve their dreams to one day play in the NFL and maybe even be elected into the Hall of Fame. It’s been a long, long overdue, but now the Hall of Fame has a complete team. Punters are a very important part of the team, regardless how many times they step on to the field. It only takes one play to change the outcome of a game. So punters, keep the faith. You are an important part of every game.
“But the toughest individual I’ve ever met in my life is Jim Kelly, No. 12. How do I find the words, man, to say anything about you? You’re the reason why I’m standing here today. Your belief in me that I could get the job done at any time will resonate with me the rest of my life. Every time I looked into your eyes in the huddle I knew we could get it done. I knew we had a chance to win. Leadership beyond reasonable doubt. Those around you gravitated to your leadership and what you said. You taught us not to quit. We always joked about what I would say every time I left the huddle whether it was a run or a pass play. “Right here, Bro’.” I said that every time. I didn’t care if it was a run or a pass. I was open. But we laugh about it now because I wanted the ball. That was my passion. I wanted the ball every single time. I wanted you to be proud of me and know that you could count on me at any time. You know our old saying, Bro’, 12 plus 83 always equals 6. ”
“I know my life now is like teleprompters and scripts and all that stuff. I just wrote some things. This is from the heart. This is not TV Michael. This is football Michael. This is what you saw on that screen. Life is about lessons. My life is improbable. I am an absolutely improbable Hall of Famer. I am an improbable football player because I didn’t grow up saying, I’m going to do this.”
After Michael Strahan calmly informed the media he had a party to go to, Analyzed Sports packed up the equipment and headed north up 77 to get some rest from a very exhausting and fulfilling day. Sunday will be filled with Music, Food, Tailgating, the Enshrinees Gameday Round Table, and bringing in the first NFL preseason game between the New York Giants vs. the Buffalo Bills. Thank you again Canton, Ohio for making this a Hall of Fame weekend for all who attended. Congratulations to Derrick Brooks, Ray Guy, Aeneas Williams, Claude Humphrey, Walter Jones, Andre’ Reed, and Michael Strahan. Special Thanks to Pete Fierle, Corey Krupa, Jon Kendle, and the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce for making this all possible.
Giants defeat the Bills 17-13 in 2014 NFL Hall of Fame Game