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NFL HOF 2009: The "Original 22" joins NFL elite ***Ceremony begins 7 EST tonight***

Discussion in 'History Zone' started by royallypwned, Aug 8, 2009.

  1. royallypwned

    royallypwned New Member

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    This is only my second post on here, as I am more of a cowboys-forum guy than cowboys zone (sorry bout that ;)). But I have been writing for the Examiner for coming on two months now and decided I'd start linking some of my articles over here, and not just on CF. To any other CF posters on here, hi. To the rest of CZ, hi to y'all too. :)

    In honor of Bullet Bob Hayes officially being inducted into the Hall of Fame tonight (finally), I wrote a little piece to commemorate him.

    http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-...ner~y2009m8d8-The-Original-22-joins-NFL-elite

    Congrats Bob! Too bad you couldn't be here to see it, at least not physically.
  2. Chief

    Chief "Friggin Joke Monkey"

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    Sad side to Bob Hayes' induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame

    By Gene Frenette

    Story updated at 3:16 AM on Saturday, Aug. 8, 2009


    Sometimes, even in one of life's most joyous moments, reality can really bite.

    When Jacksonville native Bob Hayes is inducted posthumously tonight into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, the pain of this great occasion taking place seven years after his death isn't the only sad chapter. The other tragedy is that the man most responsible for The Bullet being enshrined is too physically challenged to truly savor the moment.

    Paul Zimmerman, the longtime Sports Illustrated writer who campaigned harder than anyone on Hayes' behalf, is incapable of speaking, writing or functioning with any kind of normalcy since suffering three strokes last November. Despite a fervent dedication to rehabilitation (a five-hour grind three days per week), the 76-year-old Zimmerman, who lives in Mountain Lakes, N.J., has seen only minimal progress in trying to regain basic motor skills.

    "He has right-side neglect. From midline to the right, he can't see anything," said his wife, Linda. "To see anything to the right, he has to turn his head way over to the right. He's making slow, slow progress, and it's driving him crazy. There's no dementia. He just can't [verbally] get anything out."

    Since the man affectionately known as Dr. Z can still understand what people are saying to him, Linda put the phone to his ear in hopes that he could nod yes or shake his head no to some questions about Hayes getting into the Hall of Fame. Sadly, the only response was the same word - "when, when, when ..." - Linda has heard a thousand times in his recovery process.

    "There's something about the whole Hayes situation that he wants us to know, that he's adamant about, but I'm not sure what it is," Linda said. "He's saying a million things to you. It's just not coming out. This has been hell, but he's handled it with such grace."

    When Hayes' son, Bob Jr., and former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach present Hayes for induction and unveil the bust, it's a shame that Zimmerman might not even watch the ESPN telecast, because he can't always focus to comprehend the picture in front of him.

    Anyone familiar with Hayes' journey, from being a Hall of Fame outcast to being elected on Jan. 31, knows that Zimmerman provided the springboard. In 2002, Zimmerman wrote a short piece for SI about Hayes' death, saying in so many words that the speedy wide receiver's career was underappreciated and that he merited HOF inclusion.

    Nine months later, Zimmerman headed up the Hall's Senior Committee that put Hayes' name up for nomination. When Hayes fell short on the final ballot in January 2004, an angry Zimmerman resigned from the committee in protest.

    "He loved being on the Senior Committee," Linda said. "I was just shocked when he did that. They lost their encyclopedia of that [NFL] era when Paul left."

    Fortunately, because of Zimmerman's insistence on putting Hayes' name out there in the first place, the Senior Committee nominated him again last year. This time, the fastest receiver of his generation wouldn't be denied entry. But without Dr. Z pushing so hard for him to get into Canton after he died, it's likely Hayes would still be a HOF outsider.

    "It took actions like Mr. Zimmerman for him to stand forward," said Victor Hayes, Bob's nephew. "One of the dangers for senior candidates is many writers voting didn't actually see them play. Zimmerman's stand essentially said, 'You guys are missing the boat [by not putting Hayes in the Hall of Fame].'

    "When a respected writer like Zimmerman showed such outrage over Bob not getting in, I think a lot of voters were forced to take a second look. Our family is indebted to him for what he did."

    Zimmerman, a wine connoisseur, would probably toast Hayes' induction under normal circumstances. For someone so deeply passionate about pro football history, who used to chart eight games per week and observed the game like it was a chess match, it's a pity that he can't talk or write down how he feels about Hayes' long-awaited day finally arriving.

    "I know Paul was happy when [Hayes] got in," Linda said. "I don't think he'd want to take any credit. He'd want Bob Hayes to have all the credit. Honestly, I think what probably touches him more than anything is the family thanking him."

    This week, Victor Hayes and Westine Lodge, Hayes' daughter, called the Zimmermans to let Paul know how much they appreciated his efforts in their loved one gaining football immortality.

    An hour before suffering his first stroke, Zimmerman had filed a story for Sports Illustrated. Anyone who came in contact with him knew he was never shy about expressing his opinion.

    Now, in Bob Hayes' last glorious football moment, one of the great injustices - besides him not being here - is that Dr. Z is at a loss for words.
  3. DallasEast

    DallasEast Cowboys 24/7/365 Zone Supporter

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  4. SA_Gunslinger

    SA_Gunslinger Official CZ Ea-girls hater

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    I'm glad I flipped on NFLN b/c I totally forgot about this. I am very excited to watch Hayes get this honor. It's such a shame he isn't here to see it. Way too late, but very much deserved.

    :starspin
  5. Yeagermeister

    Yeagermeister Active Member

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    Rod Woodson is the last one to be inducted today? Over Bruce Smith? Yeah ok

    I hope they just went alphabetically
  6. royallypwned

    royallypwned New Member

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  7. Yeagermeister

    Yeagermeister Active Member

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    Ugh Berman :banghead:
  8. viman96

    viman96 Thread Killer

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    Dang I missed it :mad:
  9. SA_Gunslinger

    SA_Gunslinger Official CZ Ea-girls hater

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    dear god, this first speech is painful. I hope I never get that old.
  10. mldardy

    mldardy Well-Known Member

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    LOL. On a side note. The HOF sure loves the Buffalo Bills. How many are in now after tonight. Six(Lofton, Smith, Kelly, Thomas, Wilson, Levy).
  11. viman96

    viman96 Thread Killer

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    Did I miss Bob's enshrinment???
  12. kmp77

    kmp77 Active Member

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    Without the pauses, this is a 2-3 minute speech. This version started last wednesday.
  13. dback

    dback Member

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    "So I tied an onion to my belt, which was a style in those days..."
  14. Chief

    Chief "Friggin Joke Monkey"

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    12 seconds of Berman is all I could handle.

    Changed the channel. I go back when Roger gets up to talk.
  15. royallypwned

    royallypwned New Member

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    nah, next is Randall McDaniel, and then Bob Hayes.
  16. viman96

    viman96 Thread Killer

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    Awesome thanks man!
  17. kmp77

    kmp77 Active Member

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    Bah, these athelets...write a joke in their speech and then just read it normally...then follow it up with "in all seriousness"....oh, that was a joke...

    :laugh1: :laugh1:
  18. royallypwned

    royallypwned New Member

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    Bullet is next!!

    [IMG]
  19. SA_Gunslinger

    SA_Gunslinger Official CZ Ea-girls hater

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    alright....it's finally here!!!!

    :starspin
  20. viman96

    viman96 Thread Killer

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    His son really looks like his dad!

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