Larry Allen, Cris Carter, Curley Culp, Jonathan Ogden, Bill Parcells, Dave Robinson, and Warren Sapp join the NFL Hall Of Fame today, and it’s a terrific class of pro football legends that go in and make the storied facility even more so.
The NFL promises a celebration of both the past and present.
That’s the agenda this weekend in Canton, Ohio, birthplace of the NFL. The Pro Football Hall of Fame is celebrating 50 years with its Golden Anniversary Reunion. A record number of Hall of Famers will be in Canton – the most Hall of Famers from one sport in one place at one time.
“We are truly excited that so many Hall of Famers will be on hand this year to help celebrate both the enshrinement of the newest Class as well as our 50th Anniversary,” says Pro Football Hall of Fame President and Executive Director Stephen Perry. “This will be the first time many of our Hall of Famers will see the new Hall of Fame and we’re anxious to see their reaction. We know they will be pleased.”
First, the past is saluted with the Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony on Saturday at 7:00 PM ET (NFL Network and ESPN). History will be at the forefront as the Hall of Fame class of 2013 is inducted, sporting their new gold Hall blazers in front of a record number of Hall of Fame members and thousands of fans.
“I drive up from Cincinnati every year to the induction weekend,” says former Bengals tackle and Pro Football Hall of Famer Anthony Munoz. “Celebrating the 50th year of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and having all of those guys here, it is as good as it gets even for a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.”
The Hall of Fame class of 2013:
Larry Allen, Guard/Tackle, Dallas Cowboys,49ers 1994-2007
Larry Allen is one of the strongest, if not the strongest player in NFL history. He’s recorded as having a 700-lbs bench press capability when at full health. The focal point of a running game that propelled Emmitt Smith into the NFL and Dallas record books as the team’s all time leading rusher, Allen ushered in the era of the 300-pund offensive lineman who could move.
Cris Carter, Wide receiver, Eagles, Vikings, Dolphins, 1987-2002
Cris Carter, was so good at the craft of pass catching you literally took him for granted. Carter wasn’t the fastest receiver, and not the strongest, but he was the most complete, all purpose, and most of all, reliable one. This entry is long overdue.
Curley Culp, Defensive tackle, Chiefs, Oilers, Lions, 1968-1981
Curley Culp played for two AFC teams that regularly battled my Oakland Raiders: the Houston Oilers and the Kansas City Chiefs. Culp didn’t have the speed of Mean Joe Greene of the Pittsburgh Steelers, but he did have the power, and was an excellent 3-4 nose tackle, at a time when that defense was just starting to become standard in the NFL.
Jonathan Ogden, Tackle, Ravens, 1996-2007.
Jonathan Ogden was the anchor of the right side of the Ravens’ o-line, and so quick that few got past him. The UCLA grad was selected in the first round by the Ravens and projected as one who would be a 10-year-player – that was more than correct.
Bill Parcells, Head coach, Giants, Patriots, Jets, Cowboys
Bill Parcells is as much a brand as a head coach. His particular style of teaching was the antithesis of that of the late Bill Walsh and Tom Landry: more in your face, and street, not cerebral at first glance. But appearances can be deceiving: Parcells was known for fast adoption of new ideas where he felt they were appropriate.
Dave Robinson, Linebacker, Packers, Redskins, 1963-1974
The reason why many teams did not run to the outside well against the Green Bay Packers wasn’t Ray Nitsche, it was Dave Robinson on the outside. He anchored the position for the Packers, then went on to join George Allen and his “Over The Hill Gang” with the Washington Redskins.
Warren Sapp, Defensive tackle, Buccaneers, Raiders, 1995-2007
Warren Sapp is simply one of the best 4-3 defensive tackles ever to play the NFL game, and I argue that his abilities were still never fully realized. But with that, give credit to Tony Dungy for making him the centerpiece of the vaunted Bucs Defense that eventually won a Super Bowl for Tampa Bay, though one year after Dungy’s departure. Sapp’s greatest plays and games are the stuff of legend – I remember when he and the Bucs took apart the San Francisco 49ers in 1997 and in a game no one picked them to even be in. Sapp had 2.5 sacks in that game.
The ceremony is today, with the Hall Of Fame Game Sunday Night.