The Haggar Gold Jacket Report is a weekly update on recent news surrounding the very select group of men who’ve earned a place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Super Bowl XLVI awaits around the corner. But, before the kickoff of the National Football League’s biggest game of the 2011 season occurs Sunday night the Pro Football Hall of Fame will announce the Class of 2012. That announcement will take place live on Saturday, Feb. 4 at 5:30 PM ET on NFL Network’s Road to Canton: Pro Football Hall of Fame: Class of 2012 presented by Allstate.
Two current Hall of Fame quarterbacks DAN FOUTS and WARREN MOON will be on the set of the 90-minute special to welcome and interview the newly-elected enshrinees.
The Road to Canton: Pro Football Hall of Fame: Class of 2012 presented by Allstate is not the only involvement the insurance company has with the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Allstate also partners with the Pro Football Hall of Fame with its Hometown Hall of Famer program. This national initiative honors the hometown roots of pro football's greatest legends with special ceremonies and plaque dedication events. The plaques will live permanently at a designated local venue in the Hall of Famer's hometown communities.
The late GEORGE HALAS, a Class of 1963 charter member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame was honored on Dec. 6, 2011 at his alma mater Crane High School on the west side of Chicago. Unfortunately, news of the school’s impending closure had dampened the ceremony, but Halas’ heirs have stepped up to help.
Along with the plaque and ceremony the Hall of Famer also receives a check for $20,000, which Patrick McCaskey, Halas’ grandson, requested go towards Crane’s fledgling football program. The money will be used to replace old gear and to get new uniforms to make the program attractive again.
But the McCaskey family hasn’t stopped there. They are trying to preserve Halas’ legacy of striving for success not only by winning championships but by helping people. McCaskey wrote a letter to the Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard and stated.
“Please reconsider closing, phasing out, or changing the school status from what it is today. The rich history of the school, along with an extensive list of outstanding alumni, deserves the respect of having their legacy continue on into the future so they have a home to which they can return.”
“We lend our support to the principal, Richard Smith, the staff, students and community to keep Crane High School a neighborhood school, just as it was when my grandfather attended Crane. The children of the neighborhood need a neighborhood school to attend that sits in close proximity to where they live. Please let the tradition continue on just as the tradition of the Chicago Bears continues on.”
Speaking of awards and honors, the NFL is premiering its first-ever NFL Honors awards show this weekend. The star-studded football and entertainment event airs this Saturday on NBC from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET preceded by a special “Red Carpet” show on NFL Network. NFL Honors will salute the top players and performances from the 2011 season and feature many Hall of Famers on the “Red Carpet.” Be on the lookout for Connie, Jarrett and Brittney Payton (family of the late WALTER PAYTON), TROY AIKMAN, MARSHALL FAULK, MICHAEL IRVIN, JIM KELLY, JOE MONTANA, ANTHONY MUÑOZ, JERRY RICE, BARRY SANDERS, DEION SANDERS, SHANNON SHARPE, DON SHULA and STEVE YOUNG.
One of the many honors given out during Super Bowl week is the Shula NFL Coach of the Year Award. Named for Hall of Fame Coach DON SHULA, the honor is awarded to coaches nominated by NFL teams and by USA Football, the sport's national governing body on youth and amateur levels. Nominees are active football coaches at NFL, college, high school and youth levels. They were chosen for their character and integrity, inspirational leadership, commitment to the community, and on-field success.
The Shula NFL Coach of the Year award was established last year and Shula explained his feelings about his name being associated with the award.
"I am honored that Commissioner Goodell has created this award to honor football coaches that live with integrity and have the right impact on other people," Shula said. "I always relished the teaching and mentoring aspect of being a coach as being the most important thing we did. I look forward to working with Commissioner Goodell and his team to recognize that positive impact that our game can have on our society."
And while most of the focus this week is on the Super Bowl, it didn’t stop Hall of Fame running back TONY DORSETT from attending the Harmony Home Children’s Advocacy Center’s annual fundraiser in Odessa, Texas. Harmony Home is one of 61 nonprofit advocacy centers for abused children in Texas. The organization provides services to lessen the trauma and heal the hurt of abuse to children and their families through interviewing, therapy, victim services, investigation and prosecution.
Like so many Hall of Famers Dorsett enjoys his charity work.
“It’s been a big thing for me since I became a public figure,” Dorsett said.
One of his largest philanthropic efforts is a Celebrity Golf Classic to support a Pittsburgh based ministry that provides services to people with mental and physical disabilities, including children.
Links related to this story:
HOF Bios: Troy Aikman, Tony Dorsett, Marshall Faulk, Dan Fouts, George Halas, Michael Irvin, Jim Kelly, Joe Montana, Warren Moon, Anthony Muñoz, Walter Payton, Jerry Rice, Barry Sanders, Deion Sanders, Shannon Sharpe, Don Shula, Steve Young
More: Chicago Bears team history, Class of 2012 announcement
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