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Exploring the Hall of Fame at Their Own Pace

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04/05/2016

Orlando Pace had only toured through the Pro Football Hall of Fame museum once. Believe it or not that was with his high school basketball team when they drove from Sandusky, Ohio to play a school in Northeast Ohio. Little did he know then that someday down the road he would be in the same company as his football idols growing up.

Pace and Dick Stanfel’s sons, Richard and Jon, made a special trip to the Hall to prepare for the upcoming Enshrinement ceremony in August. Pace and Richard were accompanied by their wives Carla and Mary.

They were welcomed by the Hall of Fame staff with loud cheers and applause when the group walked through the front entrance.

“Dad was a very humble and modest guy, but this would have brought a big smile to his face too. He would have loved it, quietly and sort of modestly, but he would have been taken back by the staff and the amount of attention that he’s getting this week and then heading into the Hall. It would have been something that he would have been very proud of. I think for our family this is something that’s bitter sweet for us, but we know it will be a wonderful ride and we’re happy to take the ride now and then all the way through forever. So it’s very special [for] our family,” shared Richard with the staff.

After taking the time to personally thank every member of the staff, the group received a guided tour by football’s foremost historian and Hall of Fame Executive Vice President Joe Horrigan. The tour included a behind the scenes look at the Hall’s 2-D and 3-D archives.

“As a player you played the game, but you don’t necessarily know how deep it goes back especially with African Americans. And just to see that part of it was eye opening for me,” commented Pace.

During his tour, Pace reaffirmed with pride and honor that his 16-year-old son will present him. He also mentioned that many of his former teammates from his high school, college and professional teams will be supporting him during induction. These teammates include Eddie George, Gold Jacket Marshall Faulk, Kurt Warner, Isaac Bruce and Tory Holt to name a few.

Pace’s mom, Joyce, met up with her son in the afternoon to help him plan for August. She took the time to talk with ProFootballHOF.com about what her son was like growing up and his career.

After the tour concluded, the Paces and Stanfels headed over to Tozzi’s on 12th restaurant to speak to a sold out crowd of Hall of Fame Luncheon Club members. They then headed back to the Hall of Fame to map out the details of Enshrinement weekend with Hall of Fame staff.

The day ended with Pace speaking to members of the media.

The Class of 2016 will be officially Enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Aug. 6.

Pace was integral member of the Rams’ potent offense that transformed the franchise into a perennial winner. By his third season, Pace and his teammates entertained the NFL with its “greatest show on turf” offense that produced three straight seasons  of scoring more than 500 points and ranking as the NFL’s highest rated offense (1999-2001). Pace helped lead his teams to two Super Bowls, winning one of them. For his efforts he was named All-Pro in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2004. He was also selected to seven consecutive Pro Bowls and is a member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s.

Stanfel was drafted in the second round of the 1951 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions. He quickly established himself as one of the team leaders. The Lions advanced to the NFL championship game in the first three seasons in which Stanfel played. Detroit won back-to-back world titles in 1952 and 1953. He earned first-team All-Pro honors in five of his seven seasons including all three years he played for the Redskins. In addition, Stanfel was voted to four Pro Bowls during his career. His impact as a player was noted during the 1954 season when he was voted to the Pro Bowl despite the fact that he missed considerable playing time due to injury. He was named to the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 1950s.

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