An Introduction To Greatness

By Lloyd Vance
Updated: June 7, 2008

PHILADELPHIA – This off-season, the NFL has instituted a great idea in my opinion by having rookies from all 32 NFL teams visit the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

The rookie tours will be headed by team’s player development director and will include speakers representing former NFL players, Pro Football Hall of Fame personnel and others. The move is an expansion on the annual orientation program that should give rookies a greater appreciation of the NFL.

I know with agents, video games, NFL Network, SportsCenter, sports talk radio and every other outlet pulling at them, NFL players maybe stuck in “now” and may not know about the history of the game.

But hopefully by immersing themselves in the NFL’s over 88-year storied history — players and coaches like Jim Thorpe, Fritz Pollard, Red Grange, Jim Brown, George Halas, George Taliaferro, Earl Campbell and many other legends — the rookies will understand that the game is greater than themselves.

There is even talk of moving the entire Rookie Symposium to Canton and the NFL is exploring the feasibility.

Surprisingly the rookies visit to the PHOF is the brainchild of noted Philadelphia Eagles’ favorite opposing player and Dallas Cowboys receiver Michael Irvin, a 2007 Hall of Fame Inductee.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell recently talked about the conversation he had with the NFL legend that led to the idea. The Commish said “It’s actually an idea that Michael Irvin gave me at the Hall of Fame last year and as you know he made what I thought was one of the most emotional and powerful speeches when he was inducted”.

“We talked about the power of the Hall of the Fame. We talked about the power of the players who played the game and the coaches that coached the game”.

I love the entire idea, because the Pro Football Fame is the place where I like to say, “The legends come to rest”. Every year when I cover the hall of fame inductions, I try to see a little bit more, but there is so much history that a month locked in the hallowed building wouldn’t be enough.

Here’s hoping that the rookies through their tours understand that they are new keepers of the NFL flame.