“My feet haven’t touched the ground in about 30 minutes,” Sapp said. “This is unbelievable.”
In addition to Bettis, four other players failed to get in on the final vote: Charles Haley, Andre Reed, Michael Strahan and Aeneas Williams. Earlier in the day, the selection committee eliminated DeBartolo and Modell, as well as ex-players Tim Brown, Kevin Greene and Will Shields.
Parcells reversed the fortunes of four teams, also coaching the New England Patriots, New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys, during 19 years as a head coach. He finished with a record of 172-130-1, most notably leading the Giants to Super Bowl titles in 1987 and 1991.
Sapp got in on his first year of eligibility after playing 13 seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders. He amassed 96½ career sacks despite playing on the interior of the defensive line, including double-digit sack totals in four seasons. He was the 1999 NFL Defensive Player of the Year after helping Tampa Bay claim its first division title in 18 years.
Carter played 16 seasons, becoming only the second player in NFL history to reach 1,000 receptions in a career. He caught at least 70 passes in 10 seasons, and totaled 130 touchdown receptions from 13 passers.
Allen played 203 games over 14 seasons, spending the bulk of his career with the Cowboys. He played every position on the offensive line except center and was a first-team All-Pro seven straight seasons.
Ogden played a dozen seasons with the Ravens, a lineman who led the way for Jamal Lewis to become just the fifth running back in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards in a season. Ogden was a six-time All-Pro and was voted to 11 Pro Bowls.
Ogden shared the moment with his family. He called his mother “first thing,” and also told his 7-year-old son.
“He’s real proud of his dad,” Ogden said.
He watched nervously as the announcement was made on the Class of 2013.
“It’s like going to the hospital with your wife to have a baby. You can’t do anything about it,” Ogden said. “You hear everybody say you’re a first ballot for sure, but you never really know. A lot of good well deserving guys didn’t get in on the first ballot.”
“When I got drafted (by Dallas), they’d just won a Super Bowl,” Allen said. “When they threw me in, I just didn’t want to be the one to mess it up.”
His philosophy never changed over his long career: make the guy across from him “quit … tap out.” He joins three other players from that great Cowboys offense of the 1990s in the hall, following Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin.
“All those guys — Troy and Mike, Emmitt — they were kind of like big brothers,” Allen said. “I looked up to them. They came to work every day and showed me how to do it. They all wanted to be the best.”