Bob Hayes, Ralph Wilson, Randall McDaniel Enter Hall of Fame
Bob Hayes, Ralph Wilson, and Randall McDaniel were inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame Saturday, August 8, 2009, in Canton, Ohio, along with Rod Woodson, Bruce Smith, and legendary linebacker Derrick Thomas.
Along with Smith and Wilson, the new football hall inductees are Randall McDaniel, an offensive lineman who spent most of his 14-season career with the Minnesota Vikings; defensive back Rod Woodson, a 17-year veteran known primarily for his 10 seasons wtih the Pittsburgh Steelers, and for being named to the NFL's 75th Anniversary team; the late Dallas Cowboys receiver Bob Hayes, who died in 2002 at age 59, and the late Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Derrick Thomas, who died in a car accident after the 1999 season at 33.
The 2009 Hall of Fame Game will feature Wilson and Smith as their team the Buffalo Bills play against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, August 9.
Wilson, 90, is the owner of the Buffalo Bills, their only one in history. He founded the Bills in 1959, when the American Football League (AFL) was formed. In addition to maintaining the team successfully since then, Wilson was also a major contributor to the survival and success of the AFL.
But when the NFL spurned Wilson Jr.'s attempt to buy into the NFL, he cold-called Lamar Hunt, who was in the process of creating the AFL to compete with the established league. Offered a choice of cities, Wilson chose Buffalo and has sustained the team ever since in one of the NFL's smaller markets.
Bob Hayes, a former receiver for the Dallas Cowboys, died in 2002 at age 59 and was inducted posthumously into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Hayes was known for having revolutionized the role of receiver on the field, and won two gold medals at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. He holds a career record of 71 touchdowns, a Cowboys record to this day.
"It hurts, because he's not here to enjoy this," Hayes [Jr.] said. "But I know where ever he is, he's smiling down."
Randall McDaniel, from Arizona, was an offensive guard for the Minnesota Vikings. His statistics include 202 consecutive starts and 12 consecutive Pro Bowls, and credited his fellow linemen at the induction ceremony. McDaniel today works with troubled youth in Minneapolis.
“I was extraordinary blessed to have difference makers at all different stages of my life,” he said. “My hope today is that every person listening would choose to be a difference maker. My life, my journey, from Avondale, Ariz., to this stage here today should be proof enough that caring individuals can and do make a difference in someone’s life.”