The count is 81 and growing, the number of members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame who will be on hand in Canton, Ohio, August 8 to celebrate the enshrinement of the Class of 2009 – Bob Hayes, Randall McDaniel, Bruce Smith, Derrick Thomas, Ralph Wilson, Jr., and Rod Woodson.
“To have this level of support from our Hall of Famers is terrific,” commented Hall of Fame President/Executive Director Steve Perry. “It is indicative of the great sense of pride felt by all the members of this very exclusive fraternity.”
The most recent count suggests that the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders will be the most represented team at the Enshrinement Ceremony with eight returning Hall of Famers, including John Madden who recently retired from his second career as an NFL television broadcaster. The Dallas Cowboys are close behind with seven returning Hall of Famers, while Buffalo, Pittsburgh, and Washington will each have six.
At 87 years old, halfback Bill Dudley, who played in the 1940s for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Detroit Lions and Washington Redskins, is the oldest Hall of Famer planning to attend. Dudley is also the sole living member of the Class of 1966, which is the earliest class represented this year.
Eighteen of the returning Hall of Famers, including Lance Alworth, Len Dawson, Willie Lanier, Don Maynard, and Fred Biletnikoff, played the majority of their careers in the American Football League, which is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its first season. Buffalo Bills guard Billy Shaw is the only Hall of Famer who played exclusively in the AFL. Shaw has not missed an Enshrinement Ceremony since being elected in 1999.
For the first time since he was elected in 2001, Hall of Famer Jack Youngblood will not be the last to be introduced at the Enshrinement Ceremony. Since the returning Hall of Famers are introduced alphabetically, that dubious distinction will now go to 2008 Enshrinee Gary Zimmerman. Gary, along with all the members of last year’s Class of Enshrinees, is returning to Canton to welcome this year’s Class.
Welcome to Immortality, a Hall of Fame tradition>>>
List of Hall of Famer members returning for Aug. 8 enshrinement>>>
Enshrinement Ceremony tickets are still available. Prices range from $10 for end zone seats, $28 sideline and $60 floor seats. Tickets may be purchased at the Pro Football Hall of Fame box office, by calling (800)-913-9788 or clicking here>>>
Tickets for the 2009 Pro Football Hall of Fame Game are also available. The Buffalo Bills will face the Tennessee Titans (playing as the Houston Oilers) at Fawcett Stadium on Sunday, Aug. 9 at 8 PM ET. Purchase tickets>>>
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