CANTON, Ohio — The Pro Football Hall of Fame has many traditions. The busts, the gold jackets … and taking bets on who will be the fastest to break down and cry during their induction speech.
Former Eagles WR Tommy McDonald was determined not to cry when he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998. Although tears of laughter likely rolled down the cheeks of many Hall of Famers.
McDonald delivered a speech that was part Ric Flair, part Don Rickles, along with a boom box and chest bump thrown in to make it one of the most memorable speeches in the history of Hall of Fame speeches — regardless of the sport. McDonald even took his bust and tossed it in the air. But don’t worry, those hands that caught 84 career touchdown passes did not let him down.
“I am so emotional, I would have started crying otherwise,” McDonald said while making the rounds at the McKinley Grand Hotel in downtown Canton. “I wanted to let everybody know how happy I was to get in.”
Sadly, the Hall of Fame class of 2009 did not consult McDonald while constructing their own speeches. But few would likely be able to follow McDonald’s act.
NFL.com columnist Nick Bakay did lay down the template for future generations, should anybody try to recapture McDonald’s magic.
– Adam Rank