A reunion of the Greatest Show on Turf in Canton. How many of these men will eventually be enshrined here?
Fans of the "Greatest Show on Turf" era of the Rams, the first great era of pro football in Saint Louis in nearly 80 years, got to celebrate as one of their own was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame. Or, as Marshall Faulk calls it, "Football Heaven."
You can watch the full video of Marshall Faulk's HOF enshrinement speech here. But here are some highlights of his speech, including tributes to his Rams teammates and coaches.
A tribute to his agent, Rocky Arcenoux.
You were there to speak with me, with and without judgment. Didn't matter what it was. You've always known me to be the guy that I am. You knew me. There is not another person that I would rather have on this stage with me right now than you.
On his life as an NFL fan.
I was a kid selling popcorn in the Superdome because I couldn't afford the ticket to watch the New Orleans Saints. People had bags over their heads then. I wanted to see football. I idolized this game so much. I idolized the professional football player. I actually felt that one day that life could be mine.
A subtle thank you for not having to follow in Walter Payton's shoes?
After leaving San Diego State when I finished my collegiate career, I was drafted by the Colts. I have to give sincere thanks to the guy who drafted Richard Dent. Bill Tobin is the guy who drafted me.
Faulk, of course, was drafted second overall. Dent was drafted first by the Bears.
Thanking Gene Huey, running backs coach with the Colts.
It's amazing how much your earlier years you can dislike a coach and then learn to love him. Gene, you held me accountable. You introduced me to the film room. You taught me how to break down not just my opponents, but myself. You taught me how to be a professional on and off the field.
On joining the Rams.
The St. Louis Rams, they had an idea. They acquired me in a trade, and with that trade brought forth the birth of the greatest show on turf. It was so much fun to play with a group of men who didn't care who won the most accolades. All they wanted to do was win.
Thanking his Rams teammates.
To every player that put on a Ram's uniform from '99 to 2005, thank you. Every guy that blocked for me, Big O, Adam Timmerman, touchdown Tommy Nutten, because every time you scored, Tommy was there to help you up. Robert Holdcumbe, James Hodgens, the strongest man I know, Ernie Conwell. Bloody Knuckles himself, Roland Williams. To you guys, because you really don't get noticed for the work that you do.
Faulk continues to extend thanks to his fellow skill players, Holt, Bruce, Az Hakim, even Tony Horne.
I would give anything right now to be in the huddle one minute, 80 yards down by six with the greatest show on turf. Because that's when we were at our best with our backs against the wall.
Kurt, I didn't leave you out. I didn't.Thank you for being our leader, Kurt. Man, you constantly stood in the pocket, taking every hit to make that offense successful.
Kurt, I look forward to the day that I am sitting here witnessing you and other of my ram teammates at this podium enjoying this experience.
Faulk offered thanks to coaches Mike Martz, Wilbert Montgomery, and Dick Vermeil, and to the front office men who made the decision to trade for him: Jay Zygmunt, Charley Armey and John Shaw. But he saved his most glowing tribute for the Rams' owner.
Every great team has a great owner. Georgia Frontiere, she was the best. I have to say to Georgia, thank you for showing us the good life. You treated us like rock stars, but frankly you treated us like we were your stars just shining bright. Ones that you were proud of. It was a pleasure to win a championship for you. Winning that championship for Georgia Frontiere, I got the same feeling that I get when I make my parents proud. That's how I felt when we won that championship in 2000.
On hope for the next generation of Rams
Stan Kroenke, if you've ever been around Stan, you know that his presence and his intelligence is impeccable, and I believe that that is important to the St. Louis Rams and with Stan and his people now in charge, can't wait for the day that we see the Rams back in the promised land.