Favre, Harrison lead 2016 in Hall of Fame enshrinement
CANTON, Ohio--On another glorious summer night at the birthplace of the National Football League, eight immortals had their busts unveiled in an emotional ceremony that raised to 303 the number of players, coaches and contributors enshrined in th...
CANTON, Ohio-On another glorious summer night at the birthplace of the National Football League, eight immortals had their busts unveiled in an emotional ceremony that raised to 303 the number of players, coaches and contributors enshrined in the hallowed Pro Football Hall of Fame.
An NFL MVP three consecutive years from 1995 to 1997, quarterback Brett Favre played 20 seasons and 302 games with the Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers, New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings. He was selected to play in 11 Pro Bowls and retired with league records for passing yards (71,838), touchdown passes (508), completions (6,300) and attempts (10,169). Favre also set playoff records for yards (5,855), attempts (791), completions (481) and 20 consecutive games with a touchdown pass.
The Indianapolis Colts, who will face the Green Bay Packers in the first preseason game of the year on Sunday night, featured head coach Tony Dungy and wide receiver Marvin Harrison.
Dungy changed the losing culture of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after being hired in 1996. Before Dungy's arrival, the Bucs experienced 12 double-digit losing seasons in the previous 13 years. They were in the playoffs in 1997, and qualified for the postseason four times, before he was fired after the 2001 season. The Colts came calling eight days later, and in seven seasons they had 12 or more victories six times and won Super Bowl XLI as he became the first African-American coach to win a Super Bowl.
Harrison played all 13 of his seasons with the Colts and finished with 1,102 receptions, 14,580 yards and 128 touchdowns. In 2002, he set the NFL record with 143 catches and totaled 1,722 yards and 11 touchdowns. For his career, he finished second to Jerry Rice in career receptions, most consecutive games with a reception (190) and most career 100-yard games (59).
"Coach Dungy, what you brought to our team and to me was more important that anything," Harrison said. "You taught us how to be teammates. You taught us how to be men. But the most important thing is you taught us about fatherhood."
Despite the record-breaking 143-catch season, Harrison recalled offensive coordinator Tom Moore being upset with him at the start of the following year's training camp. Wondering why, Moore told him, "You should have had 150."
Former San Francisco 49ers owner Edward J. DeBartolo Jr. guided his franchise to five Lombardi Trophies and in a period of time from 1981 to 1998 (not including the strike-shortened 1982 season), the 49ers averaged 13 victories a season, including the postseason, won 13 division titles, made 16 playoff appearances and advanced to the NFC Championship Game 10 times. Before this year, DeBartolo presented five players at their Hall-of-Fame induction.
Outside linebacker Kevin Greene, who played 15 seasons with the Rams, Steelers and Panthers, totaled 160 sacks in his career, including 97.5 when he was 30 or older. He led the NFL with 14.5 sacks in 1996 when he was 34 years old. His 160 sacks were the third most all time when he retired and he had seasons of double-digit sacks 10 times. That was the second-most ever at the time of his retirement.
The first overall choice in the 1997 draft, left tackle Orlando Pace kept pass rushers away from quarterback Kurt Warner and helped open holes for running back Marshall Faulk during the St. Louis Rams' "Greatest Show on Turf" years that began in 1999. Warner won the league MVP award in 1999 and 2001, and Faulk won it in 2000. During Pace's 12 seasons in St. Louis, the Rams had more gross passing yards (50,770) than any other team in that span.
The Snake, quarterback Ken Stabler, was singular in his approach to the game. In Oakland, he led the Raiders to five consecutive conference championship games and his 59.85 completion percentage was second all time at his retirement. After 10 seasons with the Raiders, he finished his career with the Houston Oilers and New Orleans Saints.
Guard Dick Stanfel played seven seasons with the Detroit Lions and Washington Redskins. He was named All-Pro in five of those seasons, and was named to the All-Decade Team of the 1950s. He was also named a team MVP with Detroit in 1953.