Pro Football Hall of Fame Presents Countdown to Canton on Sirius NFL Radio. Listen each Friday morning from now through Enshrinement Day on August 8. Hosts Bob Papa and Randy Cross welcome a different Hall of Fame legend each Friday at 10 Eastern to talk some football. Don’t miss as these football greats share stories from their careers, to what it was like on their induction day, and a personal perspective on the Hall’s newest class – Bob Hayes, Randall McDaniel, Bruce Smith, Derrick Thomas, Ralph Wilson, Jr. and Rod Woodson.
Stop by Profootballhof.com each week leading up to Bob and Randy’s interview. We’ll take a look back at that week’s featured Hall of Famer and recount his enshrinement day. The Hall’s research staff will also dig into the archives and hone in on events that helped shape the careers of these Hall of Fame legends.
This week’s guest: JIM KELLY, Class of 2002
Once the chants of “Let’s Go Buffalo,” subsided, Kelly began his speech. His carefully selected words focused on the theme of family. Of course, of most importance, was his immediate family as he talked about his upbringing in East Brady, Pennsylvania with and the strong values instilled in him by his mother and father. He continued to talk about his lifelong relationship with his five brothers. And, his, emotional close to the speech focused on his wife Jill, his two daughters, and his young son Hunter, who later passed away from a fatal disease called Krabbe leukodystrophy.
In 2002, the Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony shifted from the front steps back to Fawcett Stadium, the site of the first three enshrinements in the 1960s. Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly was the last enshrinee to step to the podium. A raucous crowd consisted mostly of fans who had made the four-hour car ride from Western New York.
Kelly also used the day to talk about his extended family. He reflected on the bonds he had with his teammates, the hordes of Bills fans, and his many close friends who supported him over the years. As Kelly spoke, dozens of football legends already inducted in Canton sat behind him on stage. The impact of the moment was not lost on Kelly.
“It is truly a great honor to be here, especially with you guys today and especially with you, John (Stallworth). I loved watching you growing up as a Pittsburgh Steeler kid, unbelievable,” shared Kelly. “I've had the distinct pleasure of playing on some pretty good football teams, and today I join the greatest team of them all - the Pro Football Hall of Fame.”
Read Jim Kelly’s Enshrinement speech transcript>>>
Kelly dominates boyhood team
Jim Kelly, who began his pro football career with the USFL’s Houston Gamblers, joined the Buffalo Bills in 1986. For the next 11 seasons, he led the club to its greatest success in franchise history highlighted by an unprecedented four straight AFC championships.
Kelly had many great moments and spectacular games during a NFL career that saw him pass for more than 35,000 yards and throw 237 touchdowns.
But, one particular performance may stand out over the many others. In Week 2 of the 1991 season, Kelly lit up the team he grew up watching. He threw a career-high six touchdowns to lead the Bills to a thrilling 52-34 win over the Pittsburgh Steeelrs. He finished with 363 yards passing.
Kelly’s touchdown barrage began with a 53-yard TD pass from to Hall of Fame receiver James Lofton midway through the first quarter. Kelly also connected with Andre Reed on a 15-yard touchdown play early in the second half. Kelly’s favorite target of the day, however, was wide receiver Don Beebe who was on the receiving end of four of Kelly’s touchdowns (34, 14, 11, and 4 yards).
More from Profootballhof.com
Jim Kelly’s HOF Bio
Team Histories – Bills
USFL Standings, 1983-85
Top 20 Passers - Rating | Yards | TDs | Completions | Attempts
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