The Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2014 has arrived in Canton, Ohio to be immortalized with the NFL’s greatest honor. Michael Strahan, Andre Reed, Derrick Brooks, Walter Jones, Aeneas Williams, Ray Guy, and Claude Humphrey began their emotional roller-coaster weekend by gathering on the front steps of the Hall of Fame with their new-found fraternity members for a group photograph.
The group photo, symbolizing the acceptance of the new class is just the beginning for the new members. Shortly after the photo-opp, the group gathered for their sacred annual Hall of Fame luncheon. The luncheon, which is closed off to the public and media, is an opportunity for previous inductees to personally welcome the new class, and share what it means to be part of such an exclusive club.
Following the luncheon the Hall of Fame Class of 2014 met with media and answered questions. Joining them for the press conference were Hall of Fame legends Steve Largent, Harry Carson, Curley Culp, and Jan Stenerud.
The evening brought in the Gold Jacket Ceremony, perhaps the most emotional event of them all. It is here that this year’s class is presented with their exclusive Hall of Fame jackets placed on them by their chosen presenters. The ceremony captures the essence of each player’s career and celebrates the passion, drive and fulfillment each has achieved in receiving the NFL’s greatest honor.
Ray Guy of the Oakland Raiders now becomes the first Punter ever elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Guy was a finalist in the selection process seven times and finally was chosen as a senior candidate. Likewise Buffalo Bills Wide Receiver Andre Reed was a finalist seven times until he finally gets the nod which many consider long overdue.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Linebacker Derrick Brooks and Seattle Seahawks Tackle Walter Jones did not have to wait to get into Canton. Each was elected in their first year of eligibility, a testament of their dominance at their position.
Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams Cornerback Aeneas Williams is elected on his third time as a finalist. Williams went to eight Pro Bowls during his career and is a member of the NFL All-Decade Team of the 1990’s.
Claude Humphrey becomes the first player who played primarily for the Atlanta Falcons to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Humphrey was a Hall of Fame finalist four times before being elected as a senior candidate.
Lastly the ever-popular Michael Strahan gets enshrined in just his second year of eligibility. Strahan holds the NFL record for most sacks in a single season with 22.5 and led the New York Giants to perhaps the greatest Super Bowl upset in NFL history with a 17-14 victory over the previously unbeaten New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.
Be sure to check out the slideshow for exclusive photo highlights of the transpiring events.