Marvin Harrison, Orlando Pace and ESPN’s Tom Jackson among those honored at Hall of Fame ceremony
Saturday was a day of celebration in Canton, Ohio
Saturday night marked the enshrinement of the NFL’s newest Hall of Fame class, and it included the first African-American coach to win an NFL championship — Tony Dungy. Along with Dungy, the inductees included Brett Favre, Kevin Greene, Orlando Pace, Ken Stabler, Dick Stanfel, Ed DeBartolo Jr. and Marvin Harrison.
During Harrison’s speech, he made sure to note just how influential and important Dungy, his old coach with the Indianapolis Colts, was to him not just on the field, but off of it, too. Harrison said that Dungy showed him and his teammates how to be men, “but the most important thing is,” Harrison said, “you taught us about fatherhood.”
When it was Dungy’s turn, he made sure to mention the 10 African-American assistant coaches in the NFL during Dungy’s rookie year. He thanked them for paving the way and said, “We were in the ’80s, trying to decide if we could make a career in coaching or not. Without those 10 coaches laying the groundwork, the league would not have the 200-plus minority assistant coaches it has today. And we would not have had Lovie Smith and Tony Dungy coaching against each other in Super Bowl XLI.”
Dungy also thanked former NFL coach Dennis Green, who died last month at age 67. “He went out of his way to teach me the responsibilities of being a head coach,” Dungy said. “I thanked him many, many, many times over the years, but I really wish I could thank him one more time tonight for everything he did to help me take that final step.”
Pace said getting to this moment and being inducted into the Hall of Fame was forever his goal. From high school to college to the pros, he always thought about wearing that gold jacket. “I never spoke to anybody about my goals,” Pace said, “but it fueled the fire inside of me that I unleashed in every game I played.”
The night also marked the final on-air sendoff for ESPN’s Tom Jackson, who is retiring after a memorable 29-year run. Jackson and Chris Berman even sent it back to SportsCenter one last time: