“It’s tough going from the projects to the penthouse.”
Dent was a dynamic pass rusher on one of the NFL’s greatest defenses, the 1985 NFL champions. He was the MVP of that Super Bowl and finished with 137 1/2 career sacks, third all-time when he left the sport.
He epitomized the Monsters of the Midway: fast, fierce and intimidating.
“You must dream and you must be dedicated to something in your life,” added Dent, who asked everyone in the audience to rise in applause for Gilliam, then thanked dozens of people, including many from the ‘85 Bears who also were in the stadium. He saved his highest praise for the late Walter Payton.
“When you have dreams, it is very tough to say you can do everything by yourself,” Dent said. “It’s all about other people.”
Sabol made a life out of telling other people’s stories.
An aspiring filmmaker, Sabol approached Commissioner Pete Rozelle offering to double the rights fee for filming the 1962 NFL championship game between the Packers and Giants. Rozelle accepted the $3,000 and a wildly successful marriage was formed.
Seated in a wheelchair, the 94-year-old Sabol said he “dreamt the impossible dream, and I’m living it right at this minute.”
Sabol’s son, Steve, who replaced him as president of the company, introduced his father, about whom he said, “My sisters used to say my dad was two stooges short of a good routine. He loved to entertain.”
Hanburger called his induction “one of the greatest moments in my life and I mean that from my heart. I am just overwhelmed by this.”
He also was a physical player. Nicknamed “The Hangman,” Hanburger stood out for one violent move he practically patented in 14 seasons with the Redskins: the clothesline tackle, which eventually was outlawed.
A senior committee nominee, Hanburger made nine Pro Bowls in his 14 seasons, although he never won a championship. The linebacker’s knack for finding the ball helped him to 19 interceptions and three fumble returns for TDs, a league mark when he retired after the 1978 season.