Editor’s Note: Broncos’ Vice President of Corporate Communications Jim Saccomano is in Canton, Ohio, this weekend as part of the team’s contingent for Floyd Little’s enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Throughout the weekend, Saccomano will be phoning in some thoughts and observations on Little’s big weekend.
Saccomano arrived in Canton on Thursday afternoon with just enough time to stop at his hotel to throw on a tie before heading over to the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Trustees Reception.
The Trustees Reception brought together the six new inductees — Russ Grimm, Rickey Jackson, Dick LeBeau, John Randle, Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith, in addition to Little — and their families, along with the families of about 80 living Hall of Famers and select NFL figures.
Saccomano described the scene as a window into an exclusive club, “like a post-Oscars dinner where someone like me is sometimes lucky enough to go.”
Looking around the room, Saccomano saw many acquaintances from his time in the NFL, including offensive lineman Dan Dierdorff and safety Yale Lary.
One old friend was long-time Cowboys’ Director of Public Relations Rich Dalrymple, who is there celebrating Emmitt Smith’s induction. Saccomano particularly enjoyed catching up with Willie Brown, a former All-AFL cornerback with the Broncos who made his biggest impact with the Oakland Raiders.
Even the mayor of Canton was there.
Of course, Saccomano also got a chance to catch up with the two Broncos whose enshrinement ceremonies he’s already attended (Gary Zimmerman and John Elway) and Little, whose wife, daughter and son were also in attendance.
The event features open seating, so you’re never quite sure who might end up at your table.
Saccomano dined with Hall of Fame defensive end Willie Davis and several longtime Hall of Fame voting writers — Ira Miller, Art Spander and Howard Balzer.
“It’s one of those things that’s almost surreal,” Saccomano said. “It’s a who’s who.”
One of the interesting things that struck Saccomano, who is attending his sixth Hall of Fame enshrinement weekend, was the history of football represented at the dinner.
There were modern stars, such as Smith and Rice, but also 88-year-old Charley Trippi, a former star who, as Saccomano notes, likely has stories about the days of Bronko Nagurski and George Halas, — and everything in between.
Saccomano is looking forward to the induction dinner tonight where Little and the other new Hall of Famers will be honored and receive their famous gold jackets.
Saccomano will be there, too.
The Broncos’ Vice President of Corporate Communications expects to see plenty more old faces and make more memories as the weekend continues.
But as a start to his time in Canton, Saccomano said he couldn’t have asked for anything more.
“It was a really great night in Canton that served as the unofficial kick-off of football’s most celebratory weekend,” Saccomano said.
- Eric Detweiler, DenverBroncos.com