Former Miami Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor is no longer waiting to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame, he is officially in the Hall of Fame. Taylor was inducted in Canton a week ago Saturday.
It’s been a long time since I have visited Canton, Oh. I drive by the Pro-Football Hall of Fame at least twice a year visiting family outside of Cleveland. I always marvel at the draped banners of that years HOF inductees. The last time I was actually in Canton was to watch Dan Marino get his “gold” jacket.
This year it was Jason’s turn and I wasn’t about to miss it.
We, my brothers and I, arrived in at the HOF four hours prior to the start of the event and immediately we realized that things were different from the last time. Gone were the souvenir tents that had dotted the landscape outside of the Hall and instead one very large tent stood. It was the only place to buy your Jason Taylor ’99 merchandise or your HOF 2017 gear.
Tents that said Diamond and Platinum greeted you as you entered the area and long lines poured from the tents. Those were the lines to meet former Hall of Fame players where you could get autographs and probably pictures. You paid a large amount extra but we bypassed those tents.
Outside the HOF was a sea of Dolphins teal dotted with Rams blue, Chargers powder blue, and Arizona red. Denver dark blue and the occasional silver and blue of Dallas also made their presence known. Believe it or not, there were quite a few people questioning the validity of Jerry Jones’ induction on that Saturday. More often than not, fans of every other team represented stated it was a bought bust.
Of course we weren’t there for anyone other than Jason Taylor. The great Jason Taylor.
After a couple of beers and people watching the busses arrived outside of the Hall and the large contingent of HOF players began to filter out. As the road closed to allow the busses a clear path, everyone took up positions along the barricade to get their best views. Guessing where the former greats would go. I picked the last spot next to a doorway that led inside. It made the most sense. I was wrong. They entered the front of the building, busses blocking all but a handful of spectator’s views.