What were the 2022 Pro Football Hall of Fame induction best moments?
The 2022 Hall of Fame class was inducted into pro football’s most sacred grounds and as always the inductees gave memorable speeches from Canton, Ohio.
Saturday afternoon’s Hall of Fame Enshrinement ceremony left many memorable moments on an unforgettable day from Canton, Ohio. This year’s class of eight enshrinees put on their gold jackets for the first time as their pro football legacies were set in stone for eternity.
There were seven former players and a former official that were given the sports’ greatest honor, and each of the 2022 Hall of Fame class members got their chance to pay tribute to those who help get them to that moment. As always, the speeches were the highlight of weekend as each of the eight shared anecdotes, thanked family, friends and teammates
Tony Boselli, offensive tackle
Toni Boselli was Jacksonville Jaguars first ever draft pick back in 1995, and boy did they ever get it right. The tackle was a big powerful hog on the Offensive line that served as the leader of the bunch for seven years in Jacksonville. He was named a First Team All-Pro three straight years and became the first ever Jaguars player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. At the end of his speech Boselli belted out “Duval” which is Jags fans battle cry, paying homage to the County in which the team plays.
Cliff Branch, wide receiver
Cliff Branch was a speedster for the Los Angeles and Oakland Raiders in the 70s and 80s. His 15 year NFL career saw the wide receiver win three Super Bowls, and the No. 21 lead the NFL in receiving yards in 1974. Branch had such an impact on those teams the reigned for almost two decades, the franchise had a banner at the top of the stadium that read “SPEED KILLS #21.” Branch passed away in 2019, but his legacy lives on and his sister Elaine Anderson made sure everyone knew that Branch was present watching down with a couple of other Raider legends.
Art McNally, official
On Saturday McNally became the first on-field official to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. He was one of the most respected officials to ever and he was involved with the game for almost a half century. He served as the NFL’s supervisor of officials for 20 years, then was the director of officiating for the NFL for a couple years as he coordinated, directed and monitored NFL game officials. McNally finally retired after the 2015 season,
Sam Mills, linebacker
Sam Mills was like a fine wine that got better with time. His first years of pro football were anything but smooth as he was released from the Cleveland Browns after preseason after going undrafted out of college. Once he entered the league after two championship winning years in the USFL, he was there to stay. He spent most of his playing career in New Orleans, but finished his career with the Carolina Panthers. He was named a First-team All Pro in 1996 at the age of 37. His widow, Melanie, ended her speech for the late Sam Mills and ended it with one message. Keep Pounding.
LeRoy Butler was a hero in Green Bay for over a decade. He was Brett Favre’s counterpart on the defensive side of the ball for the Packers, redefining the role of safety as he was named a First-Team All-Pro four different times. He and Favre won the Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl XXXI, and he was named to the NFL’s 1990′s All-Decade Team not to mention he was the inventor of the Lambeau Leap.
Richard Seymour, defensive lineman
Seymour was one of the monsters on the defensive line for the New England Patriots during their decade of dominance. He was in Foxborough from 2001-2008 and won three rings with the Pats while being named a First-Team All-Pro three times. He spent the last few years of his career in Oakland, and took a big chunk of his speech to talk about the team he rooted for as a kid and was lucky enough to play for in the final years of his career. He talked about how fortunate he was to play and learn under the late Al Davis, and made sure to thank his family for everything they did throughout his career.
Dick Vermeil, coach
When you think about coaches in the NFL, you think for tough, hard nosed, no nonsense guys that are all about the Xs and Os. While there were few better than Vermeil at the Xs and Os he was also a coach who wasn’t afraid to show his sensitive side. He was a players coach that orchestrated “The Greatest Show on Perf” with his St. Louis Rams side in the late 90s. He won the Super Bowl and the AP NFL Coach of the year in 1999. Much like he did when he a coach, he was quick to give credit to those around him through out his long coaching career. The person Vermiel said was the most impactful on his life and career was his wife, Carol Vermeil.
Bryant Young, defensive lineman
Bryant Young gave the most rousing, emotional speech of the day, after the former San Francisco 49er was inducted to the Hall of Fame. Young won a Super Bowl with the Niners in his rookie year and would go on to be named to four Pro Bowls. He was also named Comeback Player of the Year in 1999 after suffering a devastating injury the year before. His broken leg required a rod to be inserted to repair the broken bone, but he fully recovered and would go on to record 70 tackles and 11 sacks. He would go on to play for another nine years after his injury. His speech was highlighted by an emotional tribute to his son Colby, who lost his battle to cancer at the age of 15. He ended his speech letting Colby know his memory still lives on, and a standing ovation was given around Tom Benson Stadium.