The NFL Hall of Fame will open its door to six players and one owner on Saturday, Aug. 5. For the athletes, this is the end of lifelong journey to be enshrined with the best men to
ever play the game. For some, it is the culmination of a dream that began in their younger years, and for others, it started as soon as they hung up their cleats.
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, on the other hand, continues his journey as an owner in a quest to win more one more Super Bowl. He bought the Cowboys in 1989 and fired popular coach Tom Landry. He then hired his former college teammate, Jimmie Johnson, to lead team.
The duo achieved two Super Bowl victories before their egos blew up the partnership. Jones then hired former University of Oklahoma head coach Barry Switzer, who led the team to another Super Bowl win.
Jones has been controversial figure as an owner but has made the Cowboys one of the most valuable sports franchises in the world.
Joining him in the Hall of Fame this weekend will be kicker Morten Andersen, running backs Terrell Davis and LaDainian Tomlinson, quarterback Kurt Warner, defensive end Jason Taylor and safety Kenny Easley.
Longtime fans of the New Orleans Saints will remember a time when the team’s offense just had to get past midfield for Andersen to kick a long field goal. The Saints’ defense had to hold opposing offenses to low point totals as the offense struggled at time, but he was the one weapon that kept New Orleans in the game and winning on several occasions. When he retired, Andersen had set NFL records for career points (2,544), field goals (565) and games played (382).
Legendary quarterback John Elway might not have his two Super Bowl rings if it wasn’t for Davis. Elway struggled in the Super Bowl until Davis landed in Denver to give the Broncos a running game that it didn’t have in previous seasons. The Broncos drafted Davis out of the University of Georgia in the sixth round, and he made the most of his opportunity by winning the starting job as rookie. Injuries robbed the running back of a long career, but his short time in the league didn’t diminish his greatness.
San Diego Chargers fans must be wondering “what if” as Tomlinson enters the Hall of Fame. He could do everything as a running back. He had the ability to run between the tackles and outside, he could catch the ball, and he could pass block. He was named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player in 2006. The running back spent the first part of his career with Drew Brees as his quarterback and Philip Rivers later in his career. Brees is a Hall of Famer, and Rivers may end up in the Hall of Fame one day. Tomlinson still never reached a Super Bowl with either man at quarterback—the only hole in his Hall of Fame résumé.
Nearly everyone knows the story of Warner. He went from stocking groceries and playing in the Arena Football League to NFL Europe to leading the St. Louis Rams to a Super Bowl victory. He then brought the Rams another Super Bowl only for some young upstart named Tom Brady to deny him his second win. After the Rams cut ties with him, Warner reemerged with the Arizona Cardinals and helped turn the long downtrodden franchise into a winner. He led them to a Super Bowl, as well, only to come up short against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Taylor was one of the best pass rushers in NFL history. His relentless pursuit of quarterbacks helped him finish his career seventh in all-time sacks with 139.5. Opposing teams had to account for the former Miami Dolphin defensive end on each play that he was on the field. He was nearly unblockable during passing downs with his solid passing rushing skills.
Easley played safety for the Seattle Seahawks from 1981 to 1987 and was the Seahawks’ player representative during the 1987 strike season. He later needed a kidney transplant that he claimed was because of medication that the team doctors gave him. Easley was one of the best players in franchise history before this current group of winners came to Seattle.
ESPN and the NFL Network will broadcast the enshrinement ceremony this Saturday, with coverage beginning at 6 p.m.