Pro Football Hall of Fame 2022 Induction Ceremony Recap

Pro Football Hall of Fame 2022 Induction Ceremony

Football heaven was back, from Canton, Ohio. ESPN uber-announcer Chris Berman was again the master of ceremonies. 

Leroy Butler — The Green Bay Packers strong safety created the Lambeau Leap. 

He praised his mother for reminding him that “It’s not about what you have on or what you have, it’s how you act.”

“I don’t say hello to fans at Pick ’n Save. I say hello to owners.”

The Packers are owned by the fans, who have non-voting shares of stock. 

Sam Mills — The New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers linebacker was nicknamed “The Field Mouse.” He was only 5 ft 9. 

This is the Pro Football Hall of Fame, not the National Football League Hall of Fame. Mills won championships with the Philadelphia Stars of the United States Football League. Mills died in 2005 at age 45 from stomach cancer. His motto “Keep pounding” is the official Panthers mantra. A statue of him is outside Panthers stadium. 

Along with Vaughn Johnson, Pat Swilling and Ricky Jackson, Mills was a member of the feared Dome Patrol.

His widow Melanie Mills spoke about Sam Mills the person. 

“He never forgot he was just a man.”

“He’d go bowling with anyone who asked.”

“Keep pounding everyone. That’s what Sam would want you to do.”

Richard Seymour — The New England Patriots and Oakland Raiders defensive tackle was a key defensive cog in three Super Bowl wins for the Patriots. While everyone knows quarterback Tom Brady, many people forget that those early Patriots teams were carried by their defense. This is especially true of the 2001 team that started their dynasty. Seymour playfully reminded us of this.

“I didn’t get here alone. None of us did. None of us could have.”

“Football may be what I do, but family is who I am.”

Seymour fought back tears as he praised his high school sweetheart turned wife Tania. 

His mom drove him to his first football tryout, and he was scared to get out of the car. 

“We had a young quarterback, but we made it work.”

Despite only playing four years for the Raiders, he had kind words for the Raider Nation.

About Al Davis, “He believed football was a game of values.”

Art McNally — He is the first official to be enshrined in Canton. The 97-year-old Canton spent 57 years in the NFL, many of them as a referee. 

His phone number was actually in the Philadelphia phone book. Fans called him up to argue calls, and he would take their calls as long as there was no profanity.  He helped develop the instant replay system. He believed that the game should be officiated with “a heavy dose of common sense. Due to his age, he watched from his home while his grandchildren gave very brief remarks in his honor. 

Tony Boselli — The offensive tackle was the very first pick in the history of the Jacksonville Jaguars, who began their existence in 1995. Injuries cut his career short after only seven seasons. This is why his entry in Canton took so long. He is the very first person associated with the Jaguars to make the Hall of Fame. 

He played other positions in high school and was even a waterwboy.

“I was a d@mn good waterboy.”

He thanked his wife Angie’s parents “for not messing her up.”

He had special praise for former Jaguars coach Tom Coughlin, known for his strict rules.

He concluded by celebrating his father, who passed away from cancer in May of 2021. 

Bryant Young — The San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle won a Super Bowl his rookie year. In his second season he suffered a gruesome and devastating leg injury that had people wondering if he would walk again, much less play football. In his third season, he was the comeback player of the year. The bulk of his speech focused on his family. Those who heard his words understood why. 

He said that his wife represents everything the Hall of Fame gold jacket represents. “Sacrifice, selflessness, integrity.”

He praised his brothers, one who beat cancer and another one who fought in Operation Desert Storm. Yet his most emotional moments came in talking about his son. Colby Young died of brain cancer at age 15. 

“From my pain, I found purpose.” 

“In an isolated world, personal connections matter more than ever.”

Cliff Branch — The Oakland Raiders wide receiver was known for his blinding speed. He was the heart and soul of the long ball offense that Al Davis loved. In 1983 he combined with Jim Plunkett for a 99 yard touchdown catch. He was a member of all three Raiders Super Bowl wins. He passed away during Hall of Fame weekend in 2019. Owner Mark Davis called Branch his “best friend.” Branch’s sister Elaine Anderson spoke in his honor. 

His entry into the Hall of Fame was “delayed but not denied.”

“21 (Cliff Branch’s number) is seated front and center with Al Davis and John Madden.”

When he was drafted by the Raiders, Cliff’s “blood turned silver and black.” He loved that the fans kept showing up to games with signs that read “speed kills.”

Dick Vermeil — The former Philadelphia Eagles, St. Louis Rams and Kansas City Chiefs coach was known for being very emotional, hugging everyone and crying. He did not disappoint. While everyone else was given six minutes, Vermeil as the final speaker went for 24 minutes. 

He kept giving credit to his players and deflecting it from himself. 

“Players win games.”

He named a bunch of other coaches that he felt deserved to join him in the Hall of Fame. 

Of Philadelphia Eagles fans, Vermeil said “I feel like I know each one of you personally.”

Vermeil mentioned that the Hall of Fame should start adding assistant coaches, beginning with Mike Martz and al Al Saunders. 

He said that he saved his family for last because otherwise he “wouldn’t get through the rest of it.”

Of his wife, he said that, “As a football coach, Carol Vermeil has no equal.” They have been married 66 years. 

He named a bunch of other coaches that he felt deserved to join him in the Hall of Fame. Mike Holmgren, Dan Reeves, Marty Scottenheimer, Mike Shanahan, George Seifert, and Don Coryell were among those he felt should be enshrined. 

He wrapped it up by praising the Greatest Show on Turf players who helped him win a Super Bowl ring with the 1999 Rams. 


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