CANTON, Ohio — Bill Parcells unofficially spoke for everyone in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and all the people gathered to see him and six others inducted Saturday night.
“There’s a kinship created that lasts for the rest of your life,” he said of his experience as one of the NFL’s top coaches.
Parcells became the first coach in seven years to make the hall, with several of his protégés in the crowd. The only coach to take four franchises to the playoffs, Parcells won Super Bowls with the New York Giants in the 1986 and 1990 seasons. The master of the team turnaround with the Giants, Patriots, Jets and Cowboys, Parcells was called “the definitive winner” by former player George Martin, who presented him for induction.
“Every organization I worked for supported me to the fullest,” Parcells said. “Without that, you’ve got no shot.”
Parcells’ career record was 183-138-1 and he won Coach of the Year honors in 1986 and 1994. He asked to have his bust placed somewhere near Lawrence Taylor in the hall “so I can keep an eye on that sucker.”
And he mentioned a quote by former Giants defensive back Emlen Tunnell, the first black man inducted into the Canton shrine, in 1967: “Losers assemble in little groups and complain about the coaches and players in other little groups. But winners assemble as a team.”
Parcells was preceded by offensive linemen Jonathan Ogden and Larry Allen, and linebacker Dave Robinson in the induction ceremonies marking the 50th anniversary of the Hall of Fame. Defensive tackles Warren Sapp and Curley Culp and receiver Cris Carter followed Parcells.
As relaxed as if he had no one to block, Ogden became the first Baltimore Raven enshrined in the hall. He was followed moments later by former Packers linebacker Robinson, then by Allen, Ogden’s rare equal in their era among offensive linemen.
Ogden was the leadoff inductee in his seven-member class, just as he was the first player drafted by the Ravens after the franchise moved from Cleveland in 1996 and was renamed.
The man who made that selection, fellow Hall of Famer Ozzie Newsome, now Baltimore’s general manager, presented the massive offensive tackle. Newsome was one of more than 120 hall members, a record, who returned for the festivities.
Ogden, who was given a 2013 Super Bowl ring by the team, made the hall in his first year of eligibility.
He was a six-time All-Pro, made the Pro Bowl 11 times and was the main blocker when Jamal Lewis rushed for 2,066 yards in 2003.
Allen, who sniffled his way through his speech, was just as dominating a blocker as Ogden. He also was, he said, NFL’s strongest man, once bench-pressing 700 pounds, and saying “I did it naturally.”
Sapp became only the second Tampa Bay Buccaneer to be enshrined, 18 years after Lee Roy Selmon made it. He was elected in his first year of eligibility following 13 seasons in which he went from instant starter after being selected 12th in the 1995 draft to Defensive Player of the Year in 1999. For his career, Sapp had 96.5 sacks, extremely high for a defensive tackle.
“I sit here with the greatest among the great,” Sapp said, breaking into tears. “We’re here, baby.”
Robinson became the 12th inductee from the vintage Packers coached by Vince Lombardi to be enshrined.
Robinson was a prototype outside linebacker who could rush the quarterback, cover tight ends or running backs on pass plays, and stop the run.
He made the NFL’s All-Decade team of the 1960s and won three NFL titles, including the first two Super Bowls.
As is Culp, one of the game’s most dominant defensive tackles for much of his 14 pro seasons, including the 1969 season when he helped Kansas City win the NFL title.
A five-time Pro Bowler, Culp also played for Houston and Detroit, retiring in 1981, then waiting more than three decades to be enshrined Saturday as a senior nominee.
“It gives me joy and inspiration that will last the rest of my life,” Culp said.
Carter delivered a forceful and emotion-filled speech to wrap up the festivities.
“I appreciate the process you have to go through to get to be a Hall of Famer,” said Carter, who had perhaps the best hands of any receiver the NFL has seen. “To be able to join these men on this stage in football heaven is the greatest day of my life.”