CANTON, Ohio…The skies are gray and dreary, and it’s raining here in Canton, Ohio this afternoon, but hopefully the skies will clear in time for tonight’s induction ceremony at Fawcett Stadium, where Bruce Smith and Ralph C. Wilson Jr. will be among six enshrinees into the 2009 class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Already noticed as we were making our way to the Hall of Fame complex was the myriad of jerseys and outfits that fans are wearing, representative of all the teams in the National Football League. We are making comparisons to our experience at last year’s Grey Cup festivities in Montreal, when fans of all the CFL teams gathered to celebrate their league and their sport. Despite the gloom of the day, there is excitement in the air here in Canton, and for Buffalo Bills fans and supporters, this should be a special day indeed, perhaps the last such one at this event that we Buffalo folks will see in a long long time.
Ralph Wilson is slated to speak first, and he will be introduced by ESPN anchor Chris Berman. Wilson is legendary for his longwindedness, and we are wondering if his placement on the program was deliberate, so as to keep the show moving. For him this is a day that is a long time coming, and gratefully, he has lived long enough to experience the joy of this accomplishment for himself.
But don’t discount Bruuuuuuuuuuuce Smith either. My guess is that he will become choked up and lose it at some point in the program.
The ceremonies begin at 7PM EDT, and will be televised live on ESPN.