We had a busy day in Canton, Ohio as the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2012 is now only hours away from their enshrinement. I’ll take you through a busy first 24 hours in Canton, with the help of photos, and then quickly explain what’s ahead for the next day.
– A late-arriving flight into Cleveland left about an 80-minute drive into Canton. Upon our arrival at the McKinley Grant Hotel, we were treated to the presence of none other than John Randle. It was only two summers ago when we were in Canton to watch Randle go into the Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2010. It was great seeing John. He’s a very outgoing individual, and this type of weekend has a tremendous amount of sociability to it so he feels very comfortable in the environment.
– This morning the goal was to corral as many Vikings-relevant personalities as possible inside the hotel so we could interview them for internal TV purposes. We spoke with several individuals, including current Hall of Famer Paul Krause as well as former Vikings coach and current personnel consultant Paul Wiggin (Doleman’s position coach in Minnesota) and both Doleman’s father and son. Below is a photo of Krause getting mic’d up for his interview.
– We also had a chance to chat with the man himself for a few minutes.
– Everyone who’s inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame receives a gold jacket. There was a room inside the hotel that contained jackets belonging to current Hall of Famers who had their jackets re-sized. We found our way into the room, and the representatives from Haggar were kind enough to allow us to snap a photo of former Vikings OL Gary Zimmerman’s jacket.
– Speaking of the gold jackets, this year’s class of Hall of Famer’s received their gold jackets tonight at what they call the Enshrinees’ Gold Jacket Dinner, which was held at Canton Memorial Civic Center. There was a cocktail hour followed by a dinner and then the ceremony at which the Class of 2012 received their jackets.
– To open the ceremony, the Cleveland Recruiting Battalion Color Guard (representing the United States Army) presented the colors and a three-person band called New Hollow performed the National Anthem. New Hollow did a great job with the National Anthem; here’s a photo just before they began the performance:
– The ceremony was an impressive celebration of the sport of professional football. The event was emceed gracefully by ESPN’s Trey Wingo, and other featured speakers during the program included: Canton Mayor William J. Healy II; Candy Wallace (2012 General Chairman, Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce Committees); Stephen A. Perry (President/Executive Director, Pro Football Hall of Fame); and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
The Class of 2012 was introduced, and they stood on stage together as a group. Then, current Hall of Famers who are in town for tomorrow’s enshrinement were introduced, providing an incredible spectacle as the game’s immortals marched on stage to shake hands with each member of the Class of 2012. It was a surreal moment to sit there and witness that interaction.
– Former NFL Director of Officiating Art McNally was presented with the Daniel F. Reeves Pioneer Award.
– The late Tom “Killer” Kowalski was honored with the Dick McCann Memorial Award.
– Len Dawson of the Chiefs Radio Network and of KMBC/NBC TV/HBO Sports was presented with the Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award.
– Finally, at the end of the ceremony, the Class of 2012 was re-introduced to the stage along with their presenters and they received their gold jackets. It’s the highlight of the ceremony and a fitting end to a wonderful celebration of the game of pro football.
Tags: Chris Doleman
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 13 Comments »