The Pro Football Hall of Fame inducted seven distinguished gentlemen in the class of 2017.
Since 1963, the Hall of Fame (HoF) has inducted 310 members who played an influential role in professional football. The ceremony took place at the new Tom Benson Hall of Fame stadium in Canton, Ohio. All inductees recieved gold jackets.
Two of this year’s inductees call Texas home. Dallas Cowboys owner, President and General Manager Jerry Jones accepted his induction the day after his team won 20-18 in the annual HoF game against the Arizona Cardinals. Jones bought the team in 1989“We were the worst team in the NFL so we got to pick first in the draft. We were so lucky to be so bad. That first pick was a no-brainer. It was Troy Aikman,” said Jones as he pointed to his first quarterback in the crowd.
The team won only a single game that season but began a habit of cultivating exceptional players and coaches. Under Jones, the Cowboys have won three Super Bowl championships and are worth $4.2 billion. According to Sports Illustrated, the Cowboys are the most valuable sports franchise in the world.
Former NFL running back LaDainian Tomlinson was also inducted. Tomlinson was born in Rosebud, Texas. and educated at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. He played for the San Diego Chargers from 2001-2009 and then the New York Jets 2010-2011.
In his speech, Tomlinson spoke of meeting his hero running back from the Cowboys, Emmitt Smith, at a football camp. He said, “A 12-year-old kid who entered camp lacking his self-confidence as an athlete left on top of the world, feeling he could truly fulfill his dream to play in the National Football League.”
Tomlinson’s achievements include rushing 1,000 yards for his first eight NFL seasons and holding the record for rushing touchdowns in 18 consecutive games in 2004 and 2005.