Sapp, Parcells lead 2013 Hall of Fame class
By Greg Heakes ,AFP
February 4, 2013, 12:00 am TWN
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana -- Legendary coach Bill Parcells, seven-time Pro Bowl player Warren Sapp and star tackle Jonathan Ogden were among seven people elected Saturday to the American Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Modern-era National Football League players Cris Carter and Larry Allen also got the nod during the ceremony, which took place one day before the Baltimore Ravens face the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl 47 at the Superdome.
“I just broke down and started crying. I was happy,” former Dallas Cowboys guard Allen said. “I am still trying to process this.”
Linebacker Dave Robinson and lineman Curley Culp rounded out the new members by being selected as senior nominees.
The 2013 class features first-ballot inductees Sapp, Ogden and Allen while receiver Carter had a lengthy wait.
Defensive end Michael Strahan, running back Jerome Bettis and wide receiver Tim Brown were on the ballot but did not get enough votes from a selection committee composed of media representatives.
Parcells, who spent 19 seasons as an NFL coach, is a two-time Super Bowl champion with the New York Giants. He also guided the New England Patriots, New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys.
“It's tremendous. It's unbelievable,” Parcells said. “It is such an elite group.”
Former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Sapp, who was a first-round draft pick in 1995, wreaked havoc on opposing quarterbacks for 13 seasons.
He helped lead Tampa Bay to a Super Bowl title in the 2002 season, when they beat Oakland 48-21 in the title game.
Asked what he was thinking when he heard his name called, Sapp said, “It is the first time I have heard my name ring in my ears.”
One of the best tackles of his generation, Ogden was regarded as a great pass protector and a superb run blocker.
Ogden was the first draft pick of the Ravens, going fourth overall in 1996. It was the same year the Ravens selected Ray Lewis, also in the first round.
On Sunday, Ogden will watch Lewis go for a second Super Bowl championship ring in what Lewis has said will be his last game.
Ogden said he watched golf on television Saturday to try and take his mind off the announcement. Ogden says he could control what happened on the field but felt powerless waiting to hear whether his name would be called.
“It is such a nerve-wracking thing,” said Ogden, who played his entire career with the Ravens. “Your resume is done. You did all the things you can. I was going to be happy either way.”
The long wait ended for former Minnesota Vikings receiver Carter, who got in on his sixth try. He was known for his skilled hands and ability to make difficult catches in the end zone.
An emotional Carter broke down and cried when he heard his name called.
“This is the most amazing thing that has happened to me,” Carter said. “To be in a class like this, I am forever humble. This is the happiest day of my life.”
The seven new members were chosen from a list of 17 finalists.
Former New York Giants defensive end and first ballot player Strahan was snubbed along with ex-Pittsburgh Steelers running back Bettis and former Oakland Raiders star receiver Brown.
Brown, who was in his fourth year of eligibility, will be on the ballot again next year.