There is a full slate of 16 preseason games this weekend starting tonight as the NFL’s 102nd season moves into full gear.
However, before we look ahead to see who will be the new starting quarterback in New Orleans now that Drew Brees has retired or before we monitor how 11-year veteran tight end Dan Campbell does in his first full-time head coaching assignment in Detroit, let’s quickly review some of the highlights of this past weekend’s memorable events in Canton during the two Enshrinement ceremonies on Saturday and Sunday nights:
- Peyton Manning (to no one’s surprise) gave an outstanding acceptance speech and emphasized the need to nurture our great sport: “When we leave this stage, it is no longer about us. it is about cultivating the game that has given so much to us. It’s about nurturing football to live and thrive another day, another year, another decade, another generation. The future of this game is ours to shape. A legacy is only worthwhile when there’s a future to fuel.”
- Former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue during his acceptance urged his audience to listen to the views of active players and NFL alumni: “We need to respect the players for what they represent as leaders in sports and in society. The perspectives of players should be considered when they speak out on issues important to the league and the community. We have learned over the decades that player causes can create dialogue that identifies common interests we all share. In examining what makes the NFL so compelling, it always comes back to the players and coaches who have clear views and exceptional goals.”
- The enshrinement of Steelers safety Donnie Shell rekindled memories of the late Steelers scout and front office executive Bill Nunn who deserves so much credit for helping to build the Steelers dynasty in the ‘70s. He scouted players such as Shell, Mel Blount, John Stallworth and dozens of other players from Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Nunn was enshrined posthumously into the Hall of Fame in late April but his name again resonated often last weekend as one of the true contributors to our sport.
- Finally, Alumni President Bart Oates was in Canton with many of our partners and sponsors, including Sanford Health and 444 Coins. Bart was honored to present to the inductees an NFL Alumni Enshrinement Coin from 444 Coins to commemorate their entrance into football immortality and lifetime membership to NFLA. The new Hall of Famers were most appreciative!
Canton was again was a great experience for all the new inductees and their families. We at NFL Alumni now welcome them as Honorary Members of our well-respected non-profit organization and offer them any assistance that we can provide! Congrats, Brothers!