clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

NFL Football Is BACK! HOF Game Open Thread

The offseason is OVER, the preseason has arrived at last! As always, Open Thread Responsibly!

IL: Arizona Cardinals v Chicago Bears
Kurt Warner #13 of the Arizona Cardinals is tackled by Alex Brown #96 of the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on November 8, 2009
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The National Football League makes it’s 2017 debut tonight with the annual Hall Of Fame Game at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio. Kickoff is 7:00 PM central.

This year’s game honors the HOF Class of 2017, which consists of kicker Morten Andersen; running back Terrell Davis; safety Kenny Easley; owner, president and general manager Jerry Jones; defensive end Jason Taylor; running back LaDainian Tomlinson; and quarterback Kurt Warner.

While there are no Bears on the list, there are many of our former rivals being honored.

Living in Missouri in the Rams area, I saw a lot of Kurt Warner on TV during the Greatest Show On Turf era. I covered Rams camp in nearby Macomb, Illinois for a couple of different local newspapers, and Warner was certainly a fan favorite for more than just his on field performance.

A good friend of mine shared this story with me, and I thought tonight would be an appropriate time to pass it along to you. Keep in mind when you are reading it that the fan experiences at NFL training camps are much more open and inviting today than they were 20 years ago.

“I took my boys to Rams camp in Macomb (Western Illinois University) in the summer of 2000, the summer after they won the Super Bowl,” my friend told me. “ Warner a BIG STAR by that point. We went to afternoon practice which were two-a-days at the time.”

“It was HOT,” he continued. “August in Missouri is HOT and HUMID, miserable. My boys were 8 and 6 and of course Kurt Warner was their hero. Along with Faulk and Bruce and Holt but Warner was the man.”

“We endured a couple hours of practice. HOT. Boys had bought footballs and hoped to get autographs,” he said. “I talked to some people who told us where to stand that the players might walk by and sign after practice so we did. Some of the players walked by but none of the stars.....they big names all slipped around a back way to avoid the line of fans on the front route. So my boys were disappointed in that.”

“We'd stood around in the hot sun for a couple hours and no close encounters with the stars. Heads dropped, shoulders slumped, we finally gave up and started to walk to the car. A security guy noticed them and came up and told me that if my boys wanted his autograph, Kurt Warner usually came out after he showed and set up a table and chair in a certain shady spot.

"I can't promise he'll do it today,” the security guy told my friend, “but he normally does so if I were you, I'd just go stand right over there and wait a few minutes to see."

“So, we did.”

“Sure enough, in about 15 minutes, here comes Warner. A long lined quickly formed but we were at the very front of the line thanks to our ‘tip’ from the security guy.”

“Warner had been through two practices on a miserable hot day in the middle of training camp, but he wore a huge smile and engaged with the kids,” my friend said. “He handed out football cards with his autograph and signed the boys footballs, and invited them to come stand by her for a photo which I gladly took. Heads up, shoulders un-slumped.”

“It was one of the greatest days in their young lives. Good memories there.”

All of these players deserve to be enshrined in the NFL Hall Of Fame, but here in Missouri we are giving a special shout out to Kurt Warner... one of the good guys...

What are your memories of any of the HOF inductees? And, of course as always, Open Thread Responsibly!