Overtime Character


We have a really terrific program at the Hall of Fame called Heart of the Hall of Famer. It’s one of our award-winning youth and educational initiatives where we connect Gold Jackets (a term used for our living Hall of Famer) to schools through videoconferencing.  In fact, as I’m typing this blog, Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews is here talking to and taking questions from students in classrooms across the country. Now, the really cool part is that Bruce isn’t talking about X’s and O’s or about his playing career, he’s talking about what we call the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Gold Jacket Standards of Character – commitment, integrity, courage, respect, and excellence. Bruce is relating to his young audience, what it takes to be a Hall of Famer in everyday life.  It’s a really, really good program and the feedback from teachers and students alike is remarkable.


With Bruce being here today, it got me thinking about all the Hall of Famers I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with in just the past couple weeks either at events around the league or here at the Hall of Fame or as guests on our new Pro Football Hall of Fame on SiriusXM show (each Saturday on channel 88 from 2-4 pm ET), who like Bruce epitomize great character. 

Hall of Famers like Randall McDaniel who during an interview on our radio show last Saturday, spoke effusively about how much he enjoys teaching second grade special needs children.  Man, can you imagine what goes through the mind of a second-grader when the former Vikings guard – all 280 pounds of him – enters the room for the first time? And, I thought my third grade teacher, Sister Modesta was intimidating. But, like that kindly old nun who tolerated this oft-misbehaving class clown, Randall is nothing short of a patient gentle giant and a great example of “character.”

Now, as out of place as a big former offensive lineman may seem in a second grade classroom, here’s another Hall of Famer sighting that might surprise you.  This past week Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Fame wide receiver Lynn Swann was in Canton as a guest conductor of the Canton Symphony Orchestra. Yes, I know it’s not what you would call a “giant leap” for this former ballet student to be at the Symphony, but I guarantee you, Lynn is the only Hall of Famer who, I kid you not, has his own Conductor’s baton.  Lynn appeared with the Symphony as it performed “Soundtracks of the Gridiron.” Swann not only took over the podium from Maestro Gerhardt Zimmermann to conduct his alma mater USC’s fight song, he led the orchestra through their presentation of the Cleveland Browns’ fight song.  The good-natured Maestro Swann, however, jokingly instructed the audience not to tape that portion of his performance and referred to it as “sacrilegious.” 


We also had an opportunity recently to chat with Alan Page in Minnesota at the Vikings Week Four Game where during halftime Hall of Fame President David Baker presented Mick Tingelhoff his Hall of Fame ring. Page, who spent 15 seasons with the Vikings and Chicago Bears, had just 27 days earlier retired as an associate justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court, a 23-year career.  Talk about integrity. Which reminds me, another guest we had on our SiriusXM show was Hall of Fame wide receiver Steve Largent, who in his post-NFL career served in the U.S. House of Representatives for eight years.  The list could go on and on.

I guess my point is this, as David Baker likes to say, “These guys didn’t fall out of bed great.” They worked hard and continue to use the same qualities, and standards of character that made them Hall of Fame players in their everyday lives. I think it’s worth noting.


As promised, I’ll continue to update the Super Bowl rematches taking place during this Super Bowl 50 season. Here you go:

1 Sept. 13 Miami at Washington SB VII - Miami 14, Washington 7; XVII - Washington 27, Miami 17 Miami, 17 at Washington, 10
2 Sept. 21 New York Jets at Indianapolis SB III - New York Jets 16, Baltimore 7 New York Jets, 20 at Indianapolis, 7
3 Sept. 27 Pittsburgh at St. Louis SB XIV - Pittsburgh 31, Los Angeles 19 Pittsburgh, 12 at St. Louis Rams, 6
3 Sept. 28 Kansas City at Green Bay SB I - Green Bay 35, Kansas City 10 Kansas City, 28 at Green Bay, 38
4 Oct. 4 New York Giants at Buffalo SB XXV - New York Giants 20, Buffalo 19 New York Giants, 24 at Buffalo, 10
6 Oct. 18 Baltimore at San Francisco SB XLVII - Baltimore 34, San Francisco 31 Baltimore, 20 at San Francisco, 25
6 Oct. 18 Arizona at Pittsburgh SB XLIII - Pittsburgh 27, Arizona 23 Arizona, 13 at Pittsburgh, 25
6 Oct. 18 Kansas City at Minnesota SB IV - Kansas City 23, Minnesota 7 Kansas City, 10 at Minnesota 16
7 Oct. 25 New Orleans at Indianapolis SB XLIV - New Orleans 31, Indianapolis 17 TBD
8 Nov. 1 Green Bay at Denver SB XXXII - Denver 31, Green Bay 24 TBD
10 Nov. 15 Minnesota at Oakland SB XI - Oakland 32, Minnesota 14 TBD
10 Nov. 15 New England at New York Giants SB XLII - New York Giants 17, New England 14; XLVI - New York Giants 21, New England 17 TBD
11 Nov. 22 Dallas at Miami SB VI - Dallas 24, Miami 3 TBD
12 Nov. 29 Pittsburgh at Seattle SB XL - Pittsburgh 21, Seattle 10 TBD
13 Dec. 6 Philadelphia at New England SB XXXIX - New England 24, Philadelphia 21 TBD
15 Dec. 20 Buffalo at Washington SB XXVI - Washington 37, Buffalo 24 TBD
15 Dec. 20 Green Bay at Oakland SB II - Green Bay 33, Oakland 14 TBD
15 Dec. 20 Cincinnati at San Francisco SB XVI - San Francisco 26, Cincinnati 21; XXIII - San Francisco 20, Cincinnati 16 TBD
16 Dec. 27 Dallas at Buffalo SB XXVII - Dallas 52, Buffalo 17; XXVIII - Dallas 30, Buffalo 13 TBD

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Written by: Joe Horrigan