Contributor / Contributor
Class of 1972
Lamar Hunt Enshrinement Speech 1972
Presenter: William H. Sullivan
Thank you very much, Jim. Ladies and gentlemen. It might be that there is a happier person in the world today than I, but I don't know what his name would be. So, today we salute a man who can neither kick, nor pass, no block nor punt. The AFL's first enshrinee-- the incomparable Lamar Hunt. It was just 13 years ago today when he launched the AFL on its in creditable way. And, you know, they all laughed when Lamar sat down at that sparsely attended press conference in Harry Wismer's apartment and noted that he was commencing a new league which someday would be an appanage with the established NFL.
The laughter was subdued and has changed to applause only seven years later when he sat alongside Commissioner Pete Rozelle and Tex Schram and announced the concelebration of a marriage between the fastidious tradition-ladden old NFL and the brash upstart new American Football League. Now that mirth wasn't confined to the press conference room alone. From coast to coast: the new concept was ridiculed, downgraded, derided worst of all ignored. But since that time, a lot has happened; disbelievers became converts; agnostics became devout American League Football League fanatics. And the reasons for numerous for I humbly submit that the man who is being honored here today search more than anyone individual in our time to rewrite the pages of sports history to indicate that where there is a will there is still a way. To show that those who are willing to pay the price can achieve success, and the price today as yesterday and as tomorrow is hard work. It took a stern man to shrug his shoulder at the barbs, the scorn, the snobs and the rebuffs.