Most Incredible Moments From the NFL Hall of Fame Speeches

The Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony is always a scene, and the 2023 Pro Football Hall of Fame class was particularly impressive.

“We are thrilled to be back, back, back in the frozen tundra of Canton, Ohio!” Over 100 living members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame attended the ceremony of the nine enshrinees of the 2023 Hall of Fame class. The speeches always provide tear-jerking responses, comedic anecdotes, and incredible amounts of hype. What were the most incredible moments from the NFL’s class of 2023?

Best Moments From the 2023 Pro Football Hall of Fame Speeches

“Yes, sir!”

Zach Thomas

Zach Thomas was an undersized, under-athletic linebacker drafted in the fifth round of the 1996 NFL Draft.

Jimmy Johnson, the man who drafted Thomas in 1996, was the one to greet him into the Hall of Fame. As Thomas took the stage, Johnson was clearly overcome with emotion as Thomas began to speak.

One of the best moments happened approximately 1,200 miles away in Florida.

As the Miami Dolphins practiced, a normal South Florida storm passed through, bringing players, fans, and coaches inside just as Thomas began his speech. But the best moment came in the final moments of Thomas’ speech. After thanking everyone in his life that helped him get to this moment, he had one more thanks to give.

After keeping things together emotionally throughout the course of his speech, he finally got to the poster on his wall. He got to thank the man he wanted to be as a football player: Junior Seau, who died in 2012 and was posthumously enshrined in the Hall of Fame as part of the 2015 class.

Ken Riley

It was a bittersweet moment for the Riley family. Although they got to see their husband, father, and grandfather enshrined in the Hall of Fame, they also knew how much it would have meant to him to be there. His wife’s enshrinement presentation was incredible.

DeMarcus Ware

“When DeMarcus Ware left the Dallas Cowboys and joined the Denver Broncos, I had a hollow spot not only in my heart but in my stomach,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said as he presented Ware’s Hall of Fame enshrinement.

Ware made sure to thank his community, family, and teammates that raised their voices to help him get his scholarship at Troy, the only scholarship he was offered.

He also recalled an incident at a parking lot party while he was in college, where his uncle was struck over the head with a gun — a gun that was then pressed onto Ware’s head. And he spent his time after that moment to replace the bad memories with new, better ones.

One of the most touching moments during Ware’s inspirational speech came not from words but from the empty chairs that Ware saved for Marion Barber, Demaryius Thomas, and Ronnie Hillman.

But things kept up. Ware took time during arguably the biggest stage he’s ever had publicly to forgive his father. Ware said his story is one of gratitude, forgiveness, brotherhood, and humility.

Joe Klecko

“The winners once again in the Spelling Bee, the New York Jets fans,” Chris Berman said as he began introducing Jets defensive lineman Joe Klecko.

Klecko has a legendary smile, but he was an absolute menace on the defensive interior for the New York “Sack Exchange.” Marty Lyons, Klecko’s former teammate that presented his enshrinement, said he knew that Klecko deserved to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Nobody disagrees with Klecko’s sentiment about wishing he could play today. He was once the highest-paid defensive lineman in the NFL, but his $700,000 salary is about $30 million short of Aaron Donald.

Chuck Howley

Chuck Howley wasn’t in attendance for his Hall of Fame ceremony, but teammate and friend Bob Lilly and his son presented the Hall of Famer’s enshrinement. The Bears and Cowboys outside linebacker is the only player in Super Bowl history to win the MVP award in a loss.

Darrell Revis

“I’m a hooper at heart.” One thing is for sure — Darrell Revis is a baller.

That’s all that needs to be said. Chidobe Awuzie was around 12 when Revis Island showed up on his television screen. Revis was the cornerback. He became a legend early on, and he was the greatest of a generation that boasted multiple ridiculous talents at the position. But only he had an island.

“If you stay focused and fall in love with the process, you’ll always come out on top.” Revis ended his speech with those words of wisdom, and Rich Eisen imparted his own wisdom. There are no QBs or WRs in this class, meaning the Hall of Fame Class of 2023 really is Revis Island.

Don Coryell

“His greatest legacy is the enduring originality he bought to the sport.”

There is no doubt about that. Coryell was an outstanding coach, but his lasting legacy comes from the offensive innovation he brought to the game, particularly in the passing attack.

Rondé Barber

Rondé Barber revolutionized the slot position. He’s the only defensive back to ever intercept 40 passes and collect 25 sacks in a career.

“I was not that guy,” Barber recounted as he discussed the differences between himself and the likes of cornerbacks like Revis. He discussed his first two seasons in the NFL, just hoping that he wouldn’t be cut by the Buccaneers.

“My mom is kind of a bad—.”

Joe Thomas

“They could count on me,” Joe Thomas said of his 10,000+ offensive snaps in a row.

Thomas is the epitome of professionalism. Berman made sure to hit every Cleveland Browns joke in the books, but his words hit on just how impressive Thomas’ feat of iron was.

Accountability and dependability were the focus of Thomas’ speech. That and getting to block for more starting QBs (20) than anyone in NFL history.

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