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Inside The Bills

Top 10 Hall of Fame speech excerpts

Posted by Chris Brown on August 9, 2009 – 6:17 pm

There may be some argument with my choices, but here is my top 10 list of speech excerpts from the Buffalo presenters and inductees at the Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony Saturday night.

10. Rich Eisen – “When did Buffalo move to Canton?”

9. Chris Berman – “Bruce, Mr. Wilson, I think we have a Buffalo home game.. It’s as if everyone in Buffalo is being inducted.”

8. Bruce Smith – On his first attempt at football in high school – “The first day was a nightmare. The second day I quit. Coach called my house that day and spoke with my father. After the conversation ended my father asked me, ‘Why weren’t you at practice? Are you sick? Is something wrong?’ I said, ‘No sir. Football is just too hard. It’s too hot and it’s too painful.’ My father gave me a look I will never forget. In his baritone voice he said, ‘Son, whatever you do in life don’t ever quit.’”

7. Ted Cottrell – On Bruce Smith – “He wasn’t a football player. He was a football performer. The field was his stage and he was the star.”

6. Bruce Smith – “In the annals of NFL history the sum total of my career will be defined by the 15 years I spent playing for the Buffalo Bills. And what a ride it was. Four consecutive AFC Championships, the potency of the no huddle offense, the greatest comeback in NFL history and the record breaking attendance set by the greatest fans in the NFL.”

5. Bruce Smith – “I can remember arriving for my first minicamp with Andre Reed in 1985. And the first practice in the middle of May we noticed dark clouds off in the distance. Within minutes it began to rain, hail and snow. After 30 minutes of downpour the sun began to shine and I thought, ‘What the hell have I gotten myself into?’”

4. Ralph Wilson – “It has been a grand ride for me and tonight is the high point. Thank you to so many players, coaches, my family, the Bills family, passionate Bills fans, the Hall of Fame voters and the Hall of Fame staff… closing in on 91 I still feel that I have youth on my side. And I want to thank all of you very much for this honor.”

3. Bruce Smith – “Thurman Thomas, known to his teammates as Squatty. You are no doubt the most complete running back of our era. My life would be a little less bright if I didn’t have you to laugh and joke with. P.S. I hid your helmet.”

2. Ralph Wilson – when the Bills were down 21-7 at halftime in their preseason finale in 1960. – “Friends of mine in the stands said, ‘Why don’t you go down and talk to the team. You can’t do any worse.’ And I said, ‘What am I going to tell them?’ and they said, ‘Well tell them something.’ At their urging I went down and walked into our locker room and there was our head coach Buster Ramsey with that expression on his face that said, ‘What are you doing in here?’ I said I want to talk to the team. And I gave that team one of the most inspiring fight talks. It was reminiscent of one of those speeches by Knute Rockne or Vince Lombardi. And we lost the game 51-7. Shortly thereafter Buster said to me, ‘Hey Ralph, next time talk to the other team.’

1. Chris Berman – “50 years later the Bills still belong to Buffalo because your owner gave you his word.”


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