Enshrinement week for the Pro Football Hall of Fame is upon us, albeit with some changes this year. The celebration takes place from Aug. 3-6 in Canton, Ohio with ESPN and the NFL Network providing extensive coverage.
It begins Thursday, Aug. 3, however, with the annual Hall of Fame game, which this year will be an exhibition game between the Arizona Cardinals and Dallas Cowboys and will air on NBC. Starting this year, the game, which kicks off the NFL’s preseason schedule, moves from a Sunday night slot to that of Thursday, and will be the first event on the enshrinement schedule, rather than the last. Don’t expect high-profile players like Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer or Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott to take the field.
Meanwhile, both teams are affiliated with inductees headed for the H.O.F. For the Cardinals it is quarterback Kurt Warner, who played in Arizona from 2005–2009, and while under his leadership made their only Super Bowl appearance. Warner seemingly came from nowhere, cutting his teeth in the Arena Football League before the then St. Louis Rams made him their backup. When Trent Greene went down in a preseason game in 1999, Warner got his chance, and led the Rams to a Super Bowl victory that season.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is also being inducted in the H.O.F. As an owner, Jones has won three Super Bowls, but it’s his business savvy that has helped the NFL’s stock rise considerably since he took over the Cowboys prior to the 1989 season.
Also being inducted is Denver Broncos running back Terrell Davis, who won two Super Bowls alongside John Elway in the late 1990s. He’ll be joined by kicker Morten Anderson, whose long NFL career was spent with five teams, including 12 seasons with the New Orleans Saints. Seattle Seahawks safety Kenny Easley, defensive end Jason Taylor (who spent most of his career with the Miami Dolphins) and long-time San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson are also being inducted.
There will also be some interesting presenters stepping to the podium when the induction ceremony is held on Saturday, Aug. 5. Former Dolphins and Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson will speak on behalf of Taylor, who played for him in Miami. Johnson, of course, coached for Jerry Jones from 1989-93 and won two Super Bowls with the Cowboys.
Jerry Jones’ wife, Gene Jones and Kurt Warner’s wife Brenda Warner, will be the presenters for their husbands, being only the third and fourth wives to do so in the history of the Hall of Fame. The only other players to have their wife speak on their behalf were Brett Favre and Mike Singletary.