It’s back! Even if it’s a pre-season game, it’s football.

It will be a celebration of both the past and present.

That’s the agenda this weekend in Canton, Ohio, birthplace of the NFL.

First, the past is saluted with the Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony on Saturday at 7 p.m. Eastern on NFL Network and ESPN. History will be at the forefront as the Hall of Fame class of 2016 is inducted, sporting their new gold Hall jackets in front of returning Hall of Famers and thousands of fans.

“This is a wonderfully spectacular tradition, one of the greatest in all of sports,” Hall of Fame president David Baker told NFL Network and the Associated Press. “Nowhere can fans see so many of the greatest heroes of the game in one place at one time. There’s no better way to kick off the NFL season.”

The Hall of Fame class of 2016:

INDUCTEE – POSITION(S), TEAM(S), YEARS
Edward DeBartolo, Jr. – Owner, 1977-2000 San Francisco
Tony Dungy – Coach, 1996-2001 Tampa Bay; 2002-08 Indianapolis
Brett Favre – QB, 1991 Atlanta; 1992-2007 Green Bay; 2008 New York Jets; 2009-10 Minnesota
Kevin Greene – LB/DE, 1985-1992 Los Angeles Rams; 1993-95 Pittsburgh; 1996, 1998-99 Carolina; 1997 San Francisco
Marvin Harrison – WR, 1996-2008 Indianapolis
Orlando Pace – T, 1997-2008 St. Louis; 2009 Chicago
Ken Stabler – QB, 1970-79 Oakland; 1980-81 Houston; 1982-84 New Orleans
Dick Stanfel – G, 1952-55 Detroit; 1956-58 Washington

“…AND NOW, TO PRESENT…”

Always of interest are the names of the “presenters” of the Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees on their special day.

Brett Farve selected his wife Deanna to represent him, which marks only the second time a wife will present her husband during the enshrinement ceremony. Kim Singletary, wife of Pro Football Hall of Famer Mike Singletary, served as a presenter in 1998.

“Deanna is the best teammate I’ve ever had,” says Favre. “She has been by my side throughout this journey and I’m so excited that she gets to play such an important role for me.”

The Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2016 presenters:

INDUCTEE (PRESENTER – RELATIONSHIP)
Edward DeBartolo, Jr. (Lisa DeBartolo – Daughter)
Tony Dungy (Donnie Shell – Teammate)
Brett Favre (Deanna Favre – Wife)
Kevin Greene (Dom Capers – Coach)
Marvin Harrison (Jim Irsay – Indianapolis Colts Owner)
Orlando Pace (Justin Pace – Son)
Ken Stabler (John Madden – Coach)
Dick Stanfel (Marv Levy – Coach)

Then on Sunday night, it’s back to football (there’s a game, in case you forgot) with the first game of the year – the annual NFL/Hall of Fame Game at 8 p.m. Eastern at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium on ESPN – when the Indianapolis Colts and Green Bay Packers meet.

Sunday marks the debut of the NFL’s new rules governing touchbacks on kickoffs. For the 2016 season, after a touchback resulting from a kickoff or safety kick, the ball will now be placed at the receiving team’s 25-yard line. The NFL/Hall of Fame Game will cap a memorable weekend for Colts and Packers fans one night after three of their famed legends are formally enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Longtime Packers quarterback Brett Favre and former head coach Tony Dungy and wide receiver Marvin Harrison are among the eight-man class of inductees.

“I always talked during our era that, not only was it great but it was so entertaining,” Colts owner Jim Irsay told the Associated Press and USA Today about the impact Dungy and Harrison had on the organization’s history. “Those were really special guys on those teams.”

The Colts appearance will mark the fifth time the team has played in the NFL/Hall of Fame Game (1964, 1982, 1996, 2008).

“Everybody is going to play,” says Colts head coach Chuck Pagano on whether the extra game will alter the players’ workload. “Every practice, every game and every snap that these guys take is going to define and determine roles. It is going to be great to cut these guys loose against a great organization and a great football team like the Green Bay Packers.”

Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers is looking forward to seeing his former teammate honored in Canton.

“It’s exciting for Brett and it is fun to be able to be out there and to see him put that jacket on is going to be really special,” Rodgers told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “To join the ranks of the greatest players off all time in our sport is pretty amazing and I’m really happy for him.”

The Packers will play in the preseason classic for the fifth time in franchise history (1969, 1980, 1993, 2003).

“The young guys are going to have more opportunities,” says Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy of playing in the Hall of Fame Game. “The fifth preseason game, nobody’s going to benefit from that more than those guys.”

Advertisements