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Pro Football Hall of Fame Induction Speeches – the Worst and the Best

by | Aug 17, 2010

The 2010 Football Hall of Fame class is one to remember. The combined achievements of Dick LeBeau, Floyd Little, Russ Grimm, John Randle, Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith and Rickey Jackson make this group arguably the greatest overall class in Hall history according to Alex Marvez – a Senior NFL Writer for FOXSports.com.

But, how about their induction speeches? They do not, collectively, stand a chance as the best in class.

The worst speech: Dick LeBeau.

The best speech (a tie): Floyd Little and Emmitt Smith.

Here’s why Dick’s speech failed, while Floyd and Emmitt made you want to get off your couch for a standing ovation.

DICK WAS UNPREPARED! Rule number one when giving a speech: don’t wing it. Dick LeBeau rambled, fumbled, and droned.  If this were a football play, he’d have dropped the ball. Not only did he forget to thank his family, he managed to wind his way from topic to topic without as much as a meaningful segue or logical conclusion.

Both  Floyd and Emmitt brought heart, soul, and content to the lectern. Their presentations had:

  1. Great content. They thanked their families and teammates with sincerity. They gave concrete ideas on how they attained their dream and how we can too. They knew their material cold.
  2. Seamless organization. Floyd and Emmitt talked from their heart, but their messages were organized and clear. Each had a great beginning and a phenomenal ending. In between, they told us about their incredible journeys.
  3. Outstanding delivery. It’s ok to use notes. After Dick’s non-note speech I was relieved to see the others had a written document! But, as I tell my clients, try to know your beginning and ending. Don’t read these sections. Floyd and Emmitt began and concluded with such strength. Their eye contact, posture, presence, smile, and poise transcended throughout their 20 minute presentations. Emotion almost overcame both of them, and we rode that emotional roller coaster with them.

Congratulations to all the new members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  But, the Speak For Yourself® Oratory Award goes to Emmitt Smith and Floyd Little. They are true pros.


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