A week ago former Steelers linebacker Kevin Greene and former Steelers player/coach Tony Dungy were enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
Today is a perfect time to take a look back at some of the tidbits that took place surrounding the entire enshrinement weekend.
Greene, who is from Florida, had made a promise a while back that if he were elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame he would enjoy every minute of it. And he did, beginning with the trip to Canton. While other enshrinees flew first class, Greene drove from Florida, but took the long way. He wanted to pick up two of his best friends along the way to reminisce, so he went from Florida to Alabama to St. Louis, Missouri to Canton. That's quite the road trip, but one that he said he "Enjoyed every minute of," and would do it all over again.
- Dungy, who was enshrined for his time as a head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Indianapolis Colts, wore his love for the Steelers on his sleeve during the entire weekend.
Dungy played for Hall of Fame Coach Chuck Noll and throughout a press conference held the day before enshrinement he continually shared lessons learned from Noll.
When I asked him what Noll meant to him, he became emotional talking about the family Saturdays that Noll instituted for his players, a day when they could bring their kids out to practice and see what dad was doing. Dungy used to bring his late son James to those practices, and when recalling it, couldn't hide his emotions.
"I was with Chuck Noll for 10 years, two as a player and eight as a coach," said Dungy. "He was just the best in so many ways. He was a teacher, an instructor, he encouraged you. I learned so much from him, as a player, as an assistant coach. The thing that I learned more was that football can't define you. It's what you do, it's not your life and it doesn't define you. He lived his life that way. We had family Saturdays."
Dungy took a deep breath, and then the emotions took over.
"I can still remember my oldest son James during defensive period when I was on the field sitting on John Stallworth's lap, and vise-versa," said Dungy. "When they would go out their kids would sit on our laps. Coach Noll wanted the kids to know where their dads work and what was happening. We did that every Saturday. "
Dungy also got emotional when I asked him about late Steelers owner Art Rooney Sr., and he shared a special story about a letter "The Chief" sent after he was traded to San Francisco following his second season.
"A story I will never forget about 'The Chief,'" said Dungy. "I was there two years as a role player and I get traded to the 49ers. Two weeks later my mom gets a letter she got from Art Rooney. She read it to me."
As Dungy started to recall the letter, his voice cracked once again.
"It says it was great having your son here," recalled Dungy. "Anytime you want to come back you are always a Steeler. That was 'The Chief'."
- Greene's wife Tara sang a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem prior to the enshrinement, and as she walked off the stage one of the first people to congratulate her was Steelers' President Art Rooney II, something that meant the world to her.
- Dungy choose his former roommate and Steelers teammate Donnie Shell as his Hall of Fame presenter. Dungy also was very vocal about his feelings for Shell and that he should also be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
"I don't know how I got into the Hall of Fame before he did," Dungy told me during the Hall of Fame parade.
Dungy also gave a shout out to Shell deserving of it during his Hall of Fame speech. Here is hoping Shell's day comes.
- One of the greatest parts of Hall of Fame weekend is seeing the interaction between all of the legends of the game. As we waited to interview Joe Greene, he was having some of his fellow Hall of Famers autograph a book he has. It was incredible to see the man I view as the greatest to ever play the game do that and it will be an incredible keepsake for him and his family.
Last year Jerome Bettis arrived in Canton as a member of the Class of 2015, flying into Canton with his family and having someone take care of every tiny detail he needed. This year Bettis flew into Pittsburgh, drove to Canton with his wife Trameka, and realized when he arrived he had to have his Gold Jacket steamed. So, where do you take a Gold Jacket to be steamed? Of course a local cleaner you just happen to be lucky enough to have answer their phone. Bettis handed over the jacket to me, and soon enough, it was back in his hands steamed and ready to go for the Gold Jacket dinner that was starting in half an hour.
- Bettis said the best part about coming back to Canton this year was interacting with the other returning Hall of Famers and getting to spend time with them. While we were talking with him for an upcoming feature on Steelers.com, within just a few minutes he was greeted by Hall of Famers Jim Brown and Franco Harris.
"That is what this family and fraternity is all about," said Bettis. "To have the opportunity in 10 steps to talk to Jim Brown, arguably the best running back in NFL history, and to get a hug from Franco Harris, arguably the best running back in Pittsburgh Steelers history, just to have that interaction is why I say it's humbling."
- If you were watching the enshrinement on television and saw a shot that said it was Levon Kirkland, well you probably knew it wasn't. Yes, Kirkland was there, but the one shown on camera was Greene's former Carolina Panthers teammate Lamar Lathon. There were people pointing out who everyone was, and Lathon and Kirkland were both properly identified before Greene went on stage but somehow it got lost in translation. The two shared a good laugh about it afterwards and got some heckling from Greg Lloyd about it as well.
- There were times during the speeches when portions of the crowd would stand and cheer for something a particular enshrinee said. But nobody got a bigger and complete standing ovation, than Greene when he thanked police, firefighters, paramedics and the military. Not only was everyone on their feet, but there were men and women in tears.
- While Packers fans packed Tom Benson Stadium for the enshrinement, I can say with confidence that Steelers fans turned out in much larger numbers in 2015 for Bettis' enshrinement. Nothing will ever top that sea of Terrible Towels in Canton.