The sport of football has come under fire recently for a variety of off-field issues, but Saturday night reminded everyone why he or she is a fan of the game.
Seven new inductees were enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Along with the enshrinement came seven fantastic speeches. Nobody adhered to the 10-minute rule, but who was going to complain about listening to NFL legends regale those inside Fawcett Stadium with stories of their playing days?
When you enter any sort of Hall of Fame, you're permitted to talk for as long as you want. Luckily, there wasn't an orchestra next to the stage to play off each of the inductees when he went over.
Below are three of the biggest highlights from Saturday night's event.
Claude Humphrey Becomes a Household Name
Claude Humphrey is completely unknown to at least a generation of football fans. It's one thing to go on Pro-Football-Reference.com and look up his numbers. It's completely different to have a picture of the man himself.
Humphrey offered a glimpse on Saturday night, whether it was talking about the birds and the bees or revealing how he and his grandson go to church early so that they can eat chicken wings and go back to sleep. That's a true grandpa right there.
The entire speech is worth viewing. It says something that he arguably gave the best one of the entire night:
Claude Humphrey putting some distance between him and the others for best speech of the night.— Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) August 3, 2014
The younger fans who tuned in to the enshrinement ceremony got a new view of Humphrey. They also want to know when and where he goes to church so they can get in on those chicken wings, too.
Jim Kelly and Andre Reed Hook Up 1 More Time
Jim Kelly is in the midst of a very public fight with cancer, so seeing him in Canton was awesome. He was vibrant and looked in good spirits. Upon being introduced before the Hall of Fame ceremony began, Kelly received a standing ovation from fans and players. It was moving.
When Andre Reed stepped up to the podium, you knew it was going to get emotional. The two formed one of the most fruitful quarterback-wide receiver combinations in NFL history, per ESPN Stats and Info:
Jim Kelly-Andre Reed tandem held NFL record for career receptions (663) until 2004 when eclipsed by Peyton Manning to Marvin Harrison— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 2, 2014
During his speech, Reed said that Kelly was the "reason why I’m standing here today" and called his QB the "toughest individual I’ve ever met," per Pro Football Talk's Mike Wilkening.
The coup de grace came when Reed's speech was over and Kelly hit him with one more pass.
It sounds corny and cliched, but moments like those are why you love sports. You didn't need to be a Buffalo Bills fan to well up a little at the sight of those two sharing one more connection through the air.
You'd Follow Michael Irvin Where, Aeneas Williams?!
Aeneas Williams gave the kind of speech that makes you want to run through a wall afterwards. He brought so much passion and love for the game, and it radiated throughout all of Canton.
The most entertaining part was when he spoke about the Arizona Cardinals' lone trip to the playoffs in his decade with the franchise. In the 1998 season, the Cardinals beat the Dallas Cowboys in the Wild Card Round before succumbing to the Minnesota Vikings the next week.
Williams remembers that win in Dallas very fondly, though, and said that he was tasked with shadowing Michael Irvin no matter where he went. Irvin wasn't to be given a moment's reprieve, even if it was in a more private setting, per NFL.com:
Aeneas Williams on covering Michael Irvin in a 1998 upset over the Cowboys: "If he went to the restroom, I had to go flush it."— NFL: AroundTheLeague (@NFL_ATL) August 3, 2014
The eight-time Pro Bowler also spoke about how the roof was open in the old Texas Stadium so that God could look in. However, after that game, Williams quipped that owner Jerry Jones' confidence in the higher power was shaken, resulting in his having to build a completely new stadium, per NFL.com's Adam Rank:
"God must not be with (the Dallas Cowboys) anymore." Aeneas Williams taking credit for building the Cowboys new stadium. Awesome. #HOF14— Adam Rank (@adamrank) August 3, 2014
The next time a Cowboys fan runs into Williams, he or she should probably hug him or shake his hand—something to show some gratitude for helping to get AT&T Stadium built.