In light of the recent induction ceremony into the NFL Hall of Fame, I wonder one thing. What kind of speeches do we have to look forward to?
The generation of players that are currently being inducted and enshrined are the humble ones, the thankful ones, and the deserving ones.
Their speeches emulate that excitement and that honor.
Gary Zimmerman (Minnesota Vikings, Denver Broncos OL) spoke through humility and graciousness when he said, "...more than anything, I could not have done it alone." The man meant every word.
Zimmerman explained the herd mentality of the offensive line, the way that if one fails they all fail. He then said, "[it is] difficult for me to stand up here alone."
He even explained the "curse" in Denver in knowing that if he failed, he would "forever be known as the guy who lost the franchise." He spoke of nights when he got no sleep knowing that he was responsible for John Elway's blindside. He thanked Elway for "all the sleepless nights."
Through emotions and tears, Art Monk (Washington Redskins, New York Jets, Philidelphia Eagles WR) explained the honor he felt to be involved in the "history and tradition of the game. It is about an elite group of athletes that made the game what it is today."
Monk remembered the luncheon the day prior, in which he sat with all of those currently enshrined in the HOF. He described the " privilege to be sitting in a room with [the best to ever play the game]."
I wonder what to expect in the future. What will the egotistical athletes of today do or say? Who will they speak to?
Will they fight through tears and thank the agent that got them their first $50 million?
Will they bash the quarterbacks that made them look like a hall-of-fame player in the first place?
Will they feel the sense of humility that Zimmerman felt? Or the honor that Monk basked in?
I worry that the "me-first" mentality of today's greats will be our greatest representation.
Ron Artest. Shaquille "Tell-me-how-my-ass-tastes" O'Neal. Stephon Marbury.
Manny Ramirez. Alex Rodriguez. Barry Bonds.
Sure, they may not all be hall-of-fame caliber. I'm not here to argue who will and will not make the cut.
My fear is the words that will come out of the mouths of these players or those like them.
Terrell Owens has cried before. About a quarterback no less. But never to thank him for making him great. In Owens' mind, he already was. The 100 touchdown receptions had nothing to do with Steve Young or Donovan McNabb.
Shaquille O'Neal thanked Dwayne Wade once. After Wade won Miami a championship. Only then, though, did O'Neal speak in favor of a teammate, perhaps because it was anyone other than Kobe Bryant.
I worry that the Hollywood attention that our athletes receive will be the downfall of the time-honored tradition of the induction ceremony.
The greatest achievement, it seems, in the careers of today's players does not take place on the field, but rather in the offices upstairs.
Number 1 picks holding out for a contract-JaMarcus Russell. Second round picks holding out for a contract-Brady Quinn.
Russell threw two touchdowns and four interceptions and earned a portion of his $31.5 million guaranteed contract.
Quinn has two career touchdown passes and has not started a game. He is currently under a 5 year, $20.2 million contract.
Who will thank the players that made them great when the biggest focus is how big their bi-weekly paycheck will be?
I anxiously await the honorees of the next twenty years. Not for the fireworks above the stage, but the fireworks at the podium.