Notes from Canton (Ohio) Repository staff writer Steve Doerschuk, who is in Indianapolis to cover the Super Bowl and the Pro Football Hall of Fame election.
Panthers vs. Buckeyes
It was a glorious Hall of Fame election day for the Pitt Panthers. Both Chris Doleman and Curtis Martin are Pitt alums, although they were never teammates.
Strangely, this has happened twice in the last three years. Former Panthers Russ Grimm and Rickey Jackson both were elected in 2010.
Other Pitt men in the Hall are:
Joe Schmidt, elected in 1973.
Mike Ditka, elected in 1988.
Tony Dorsett, elected in 1994.
Dan Marino, elected in 2005.
Saturday’s election gives Pitt as many Hall of Famers as Ohio State.
The eight Buckeyes with bronze busts in Canton: Paul Brown, Jim Parker, Lou Groza, Dante Lavelli, Bill Willis, Sid Gillman, Paul Warfield, Dick LeBeau.
Seven of them played for the Buckeyes. Brown, who played quarterback at Miami of Ohio, was an Ohio State head coach.
Fouts fired up
NFL Network analyst Dan Fouts sent out some advice for the HOF candidates who didn’t make it: “Do not get disappointed. Do not give up. Keep your campaign out there. Keep your name out there.”
Not all of that is good advice. Plenty of voters have been annoyed by certain candidates who actively toot their own horns, or have it done for them by associates.
Fouts got off the most pointed opinion of the TV broadcast when analyzing the pool of candidates not elected.
“It’s the one nonplayer that baffles me,” he said of Edward DeBartolo Jr. “You have an owner that came out of 24 years with five Super Bowls.”
A warning from Fouts to the men who did get in: “The excitement of the Hall of Fame weekend in Canton will (dramatic pause between the next words) wear you out.”
The Hall of Fame is having a hard time getting every designated voter to the actual election. That is largely because fewer newspapers are sending voters to cover the Super Bowl, which places them in an easy position to make a Hall of Fame election.
All elections in recent years have been the day before the Super Bowl.
Former Repository writer Mark Craig of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, designated as the Vikings’ representative, was not assigned to the Super Bowl and was replaced by an alternate.
Forty-four media people decided Saturday’s election. At some point, the Hall might have to consider including some voters via teleconference.
The Hall does not want to lose its connection with the Super Bowl.
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Hall of Famer-elect Doleman played high school football in York, Pa., but he was born in Indianapolis, where Saturday’s election was conducted.
“My whole family is in Indianapolis,” he said, although he wasn’t Saturday, when he talked about getting elected on the phone.
Doleman made 150 1⁄2 NFL sacks, mostly with the Vikings from 1985-93.
“They changed the rules a lot,” he said. “You’ve got to be very careful about how you get the quarterback down on the ground now. It’s a totally different game.”
Perry: Come see our bigger place
Hall of Fame Executive Director Steve Perry took his chance on the national stage to crow about the museum’s lavish expansion and renovation.
“I’d like to invite you all to come to Canton,” Perry said to anyone listening on the day before the Super Bowl.
During his NFL stay in Pittsburgh, Hall of Famer-elect Dermontti Dawson lived on a cul-de-sac on which his neighbors included fellow Steelers lineman Roger Duffy.
Duffy just missed blocking for Hall of Famer-elect Curtis Martin. Duffy had been with the Jets from 1990-97. Martin hopped from the Patriots to the Jets in 1998, the year Duffy went to Pittsburgh.
Duffy played high school ball at Canton Central Catholic.
An NFL Network cameraman bristled at the decision to prompt people attending the announcement show to applaud coming out of commercial breaks.
“This isn’t a game show,” the cameraman said.
Martin said he wasn’t jacked up one way or another until the Hall of Fame live show began at 5:30 p.m.
“I felt like I was starting to watch a scary movie,” he said.