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Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2019: The Eight New Inductees of the Hall of Fame
On Saturday, August 3rd, 2019 a new class of 8 different individuals were enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. The Hall of Fame class of 2019 which was voted in last February included Gil Brandt, Johnny Robinson, Kevin Mawae, Pat Bowlen, Ty Law, Ed Reed, Champ Bailey, and Tony Gonzalez. Let’s take the time to look back on the careers of all of these great contributors to the game of professional football.
Gil Brandt was an excellent and highly successful executive for the Dallas Cowboys from 1960 – 1988. Throughout his time with the Cowboys he was a 2 time Super Bowl champion (VI, XIII) as well as a 5 time NFC champion (1970, 1971, 1975, 1977, 1978). Brandt helped lead Dallas to the winning their division 13 times, and experiencing 20 consecutive winning seasons. For his services he was inducted into the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor on November 2nd, 2018.
"What is amazing to me about Gil Brandt is his attention to detail," says Cowboys owner, Jerry Jones. "He developed concepts and going into areas of evaluations that were unique. He was one of the first to ever create a computer bank, back when the computers were pretty antiquated compared to today."
"I'm here today because of a great organization like the Dallas Cowboys that had an owner, a general manger, and a head coach who believed in my ability to find talented players and build a roster," explained Brandt.
"It was professionally fulfilling for me that so many of the traits that we identified as scouting metrics and landmarks in the early days have been used by the greatest football coaches, scouts and evaluators of the current generation," he finished.
As a member of the Kansas City Chiefs Johnny Robinson was a Super Bowl IV champion and a 3 time AFL champion (1962, 1966, 1969). He was named to the NFL’s First Team All Pro as well as made the Pro Bowl in 1970. That year he also led the league in interceptions. He was a 6-time AFL All Star with the chiefs from 1963 – 1968. He was a 5-time AFL First Team All Pro (1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969). This defensive back led the AFL in interceptions in 1966 and was named to the illustrious AFL All Time Team.
"It's been 47 years since I last played professional football," says Robinson during the induction speech. "After all this time, I thought I had been forgotten. I can't tell you how pleased I was to be notified that I had been selected as a senior finalist after all these years."
Robinson's Career Statistics
Kevin Mawae played for the Seattle Seahawks (1994–1997), the New York Jets (1998–2005), and the Tennessee Titans (2006–2009). He was an 8-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman (1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2008, 2009). Mawae was selected to the NFL’s First Team All Pro on 7 different occasions (1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2007, 2008).
"Coach Bill Belichick, I never felt more challenged mentally in game than when I faced your teams," Mawae stated. "I came to love the puzzle of figuring out your defenses and the chess match that those games became. I didn't win all of them, in fact, my teams lost most of them. I think we were 4-13 against you. That sucked. That was awful. I still hate the Patriots. Everyone hates the winners. Congratulations to you in all your success, and thank you for making me a better player."
Mawae's Career Statistic
|Year||Age||Tm||Pos||No.||G||GS||Holding||False Start||Decl/Offs||All Pen.|
This legendary owner of the Denver Broncos had quite a successful career guiding the Broncos to 3 Super Bowl championships (XXXII, XXXIII, L). Unfortunately, he passed away on June 13th, 2019 resulting in his family having to take over his beloved role as the owner of the Denver Broncos. Due to Bowlen not being alive during the Hall of Fame ceremony his children took the stage in his honor.
As a staple of the New England Patriot’s defense for a long time, Ty Law, won three Super Bowls (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX). He was selected to the NFL’s Pro Bowl 5 times (1998, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005). Law was assigned to the NFL’s First Team All Pro twice (1998, 2003). He led the National Football League in interception in two seasons (1998, 2005).
"We started this s---," says Law.
"Thank you for showing me how to me a true professional," Law exclaims. "It's no mistake or coincidence that you are the greatest coach this game has ever seen. I love you Bill. Thank you."
"I get my competitiveness, my will to win, from my mama," he adds. "I had to earn every win I got and she talked trash with the best of them. Mom, you always had my back, even when I was dead ass wrong. You had my back; you are my rock. We had our personal struggles. At times, we bent, but we never broke."
"You can't wait for someone else to validate your purpose," he explained. "You have to believe in yourself. You can't wait for somebody else to tell you you're great. You have to believe in yourself. You can't wait for society to tell you that you're beautiful or that you're a good person. You have to believe that for yourself. I thank each and every one of you for believing in me and my dreams. Because of you, my legacy lives on. Thank you for this incredible honor."
Law's Career Statistics
Ed Reed is known as one of the greatest defensive backs that ever lived. He is a Super Bowl champion (XLVII), and elected to the Pro Bowl 9 times (2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012). Reed was named to the NFL’s First Team All Pro for 5 seasons (2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010). In 2004 he was chosen as the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year. He also led the NFL in interceptions 3 times (2004, 2008, 2010).
"Everyone has their own greatness and you reach your own greatness depends on your environment, your structure, the company you keep and your attitude," says Reed. "There will be good and bad, right and wrong. Your reaction of choice -- good or bad -- has consequences that affects you and those around you. No matter what, encourage those around you and yourself.
"I stayed encouraged. That guy there, no matter what, was focused. He stayed encouraged. There was some hard times. There was a lot of tears. Even now. I tell you, each one of you, stay encouraged. Encourage each other. Help somebody. We should. We're supposed to. That's what being a human is about, leaving this place better than when we got it. That's all it's about y'all. Man I love y'all."
Reed's Career Statistics:
Although this outstanding defensive back never won a Super Bowl, he was a 12-time Pro Bowler (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012). Bailey was a 3-time NFL First Team All Pro (2004, 2005, 2006). In 2006 he led the National Football League in interceptions. During his playing career with both the Washington Redskins and the Denver Broncos, he was a shut down cornerback that would often neutralize the opposition’s best receiving threat.
"I'm a firm believer that if you want to create change is to start with your friends and your family," explained Bailey. "We say this to all of our white friends: When we tell you about our fears, please listen. When we tell you we're afraid for our kids, please listen. When we tell you there are many challenges we face because of the color of our skin, please listen. And please, do not get caught up in how the message is delivered."
"Most of us are athletes, but we're black men first," Bailey stated. "Understand this, the things that make us great on the field -- like our size and our aggression -- are the same things that can get us killed off the field. I believe if we start listening, there's no telling the progress we can make. If we can't get our friends to listen, then no one will. To my black brothers, if you don't have anything positive to say about our social challenges, please keep your mouth shut."
Bailey’s Career Statistics
Tony Gonzalez was another truly amazing pro football player that worked hard his entire career chasing that elusive Super Bowl, but he was never able to win one unfortunately. He was however a 14 time Pro Bowl tight end (1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013). Tony was honored by making the NFL’s All Pro First Team 6 times (1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2008, 2012).
Gonzalez unbelievably led the league in receptions in 2004 which is usually a feat accomplished by a wide receiver not a tight end. His legacy is represented very well in the NFL record books. He owns the majority of major statistics and records for tight ends, and he was the best tight end of all time. He also now owns the record for the longest Pro Football Hall of Fame speech (39:05).
"True success is about more than making a lot of money or being recognized as one of the best at what you do," says Gonzalez. "True success is about giving back. It's about kindness. It's about quality of relationships. It's about finding joy in other people's joy. Trust me, I have learned these things the hard way at times. These principles combined with doing what you truly love to do will no doubt make you an all-star in the most important game there is and that's the game of life."
Gonzalez's Career Statistics
“2019 Pro Football Hall of Fame induction: Champ Bailey's plea, Ed Reed's bust, Tony Gonzalez's record and more: Here's a look at all the action that unfolded from Canton, Ohio on Saturday night”, John Breech, cbssports.com, August 3, 2019.
“Johnny Robinson”, pro-football-reference.com, August 7, 2019.
“Kevin Mawae”, pro-football-reference.com, August 7, 2019.
“Ty Law”, pro-football-reference.com, August 7, 2019.
“Ed Reed”, pro-football-reference.com, August 7, 2019.
“Champ Bailey”, pro-football-reference.com, August 7, 2019.
“Tony Gonzalez”, pro-football-reference.com, August 7, 2019.
Written by: David Green