Ernie Stautner’s enshrinement speech transcript

History Published on : 1/1/2005

1969 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony
September 13, 1969
Pro Football Hall of Fame, Canton, Ohio

ART ROONEY: I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the enshrinees, and their families. Just before we came out on the platform, a mutual friend has said that this had been the first time that he had ever seen Ernie Stautner out of a uniform, and how well he looked. And I told him that I thought that he looked OK out of a uniform, but he looked much better to me in a uniform than he did out of it.

For 14 years, Ernie was not only Pittsburgh's greatest lineman, but one of the greatest lineman in professional football. For nine years he was chosen for the all-pro game and then I was trying to recollect in the 14 years that he played for us had he ever missed a game and I can't remember of him ever missing a game.

I remember one year in spring, not spring training, but in training season that he in the first week he had gone to the hospital and had his knee operated on but he was ready to play in our first league game. Not only did Ernie play defensive football for us but many times when the going (got) rough, which was often, he played offense too. He's been a credit to all athletes, and certainly been a credit to professional sports. I am grateful to Ernie for choosing me in bestowing upon him me honor as his presenter, and I'm proud now to give you Ernie Stautner.

ERNIE STAUTNER: Thank you Mr. Rooney. Ladies and Gentlemen. There (are) three distinct events in my life which stand out and I'd like to mention them at this time.

Ernie_StautnerThe first, of which I have little recollection, was when my parents chose to move our family from Germany to this country. It was through their fortitude and initiative that I was able to grow up in a land where such an honor as this could come to me.

The second, was when I first was involved in football as a boy of 11 in the sandlots of Albany, New York. In the game of football, while to some, was just a mere game, became for me a strong motivating force which carried me on to Boston College and through 15 memorable years with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Art Rooney. Little did I really know then that football with all the pains and mental anguish that go with it would bring me such great personal pride and pleasure.

The third and finally and still an unbelievable event in my life is this occasion. It truly surpasses all my dreams and expectations. To be selected to Professional Football's Hall of Fame happens to very few and I feel extremely proud to be one of those chosen.

But, you know no one receives such a distinctive honor through their efforts alone. In my case, it was greatly through the efforts of my great owner, Mr. Rooney, my coaches who taught me well, my family who encouraged me, and my opponents who realistically made me work but particularly because of my teammates of the Pittsburgh Steelers that I am here.

My thanks to them and to all who were responsible for this – my proudest moment. Thank you very much.

Ernie Statuner, 1925-2006