NFL Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony 2012: Biggest Moments of Class's Induction
Dry eyes were few and far between at this year's NFL Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Canton, Ohio.
The six-man 2012 Hall of Fame class were each officially inducted to the greatest fraternity in football Saturday night, and with each induction came a heartfelt speech and story that was sometimes emotionally difficult to listen to, albeit incredibly inspiring.
Four linemen—Willie Roaf, Chris Doleman, Cortez Kennedy and Dermontti Dawson—were inducted in the class as well as New York Jets great running back Curtis Martin and 84-year-old Jack Butler.
Here are some of the biggest, best and most touching moments of the 2012 induction.
Saints Players Attend Moving Roaf Speech
It would be a vast understatement to say that the New Orleans Saints have had a tough time since the end of last season.
Yet, they still managed to stay out on the eve of their first preseason game in the same stadium to pay tribute to one of the best Saints players ever, Willie Roaf.
Roaf was the first enshrinee to speak Saturday night, and he was the first of many inductees to use a strong relationship with his parent as the focal point of his speech. His father, Clifton, presented Roaf at the ceremony.
Roaf's father traveled all the way from Arkansas to see all—but one—of his son's home games during both his professional and collegiate career.
Now that's commitment.
Terrible Towels Were Aplenty During Speeches of Dawson and Butler
The Pittsburgh Steelers had two historic players being inducted to the Hall of Fame this year, so you know one of the loudest and proudest fanbases would be out in full force Saturday in Canton.
The 84-year-old legend Jack Butler addressed Steeler nation, staying still and motionless for several seconds as the crowd gave him a rightful standing ovation. Hinting at his age, Butler ended his speech with a fitting phrase.
"Heck, I'm just happy to be here," Butler said (via Mike Sando, ESPN.com).
The second Steelers HOF enshrinee was Dermontti Dawson, who spoke in the second-to-last spot. His reflection on the role his parents played in shaping him as a child was a very touching and contemplative moment.
Curtis Martin Shows Unconventional, Inspiring Perspective on Life
With the final speech of the night and one tough childhood, it was no secret that Curtis Martin's speech would be a very emotional one.
Growing up in a dangerous community with an abusive father, Martin told grueling, heartbreaking stories of the physical torture his mother was put through when he was younger than five years old. With stomach-churning descriptions and his mother in attendance, it definitely made for an uncomfortable feeling at first.
But it ended up transforming into a moving story on how his mother did everything to raise Curtis and keep him from trouble.
From moments when he was nearly murdered on the streets of Pittsburgh to injury problems, Martin emotionally told the story of how role models in his life—particularly his mother and Bill Parcells—kept him going down the right track and turned a kid who didn't care for football into the fourth-best rusher in NFL history.
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