By RJ Young
FOX Sports College Football Writer
CANTON, Ohio — Abutting the Pro Football Hall of Fame, wherever dreams of shot immortality are realized with a golden jacket, a bronze bust and a committedness to ne'er forget, 2 teams near lasting successful the inaugural play of the United States Football League volition scope for a imagination of their own.
New Orleans Breakers manager Larry Fedora knew what this spot represented and, adjacent aft losing a playoff game, recovered words to explicate what it meant to him to sojourn the Hall.
"It was a surreal experience, actually," Fedora said. "We spent astir apt 3 hours successful there, and I could person spent different 12."
Seeing Super Bowl rings connected display, a statue of Jim Thorpe, the galore jewel boxes of John Madden’s eponymous video game, and the legends of my younker arsenic young men was arsenic fulfilling to maine arsenic it was Birmingham Stallions receiver Victor Bolden.
"Just to get the accidental to witnesser greatness and beryllium astir greatness astatine the apical of the mountaintop erstwhile it comes to shot arsenic well," helium said. "That's the extremity everybody's trying to get to, truthful it was inspiring."
Walking done the Hall, with its jerseys, mementos and titans of this 102-year-old vocation, I stopped conscionable earlier the grounds showcasing members of the Black College Football Hall of Fame and peeked down a bluish curtain.
I saw Kyle Sloter’s Breakers jersey celebrating however helium and New Orleans won the archetypal best-of-three overtime format successful pro shot past — Sloter sprinted into the extremity portion from a mates of yards distant to bushed Michigan 31-27 successful Birmingham, Alabama.
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Next to that was Bryan Scott’s Philadelphia Stars jersey, which celebrated the Stars' becoming the archetypal squad to implicit a 3-point extra-point try. Up 27-23 against the Pittsburgh Maulers, Scott threw a abbreviated walk into the level to moving backmost Matt Colburn to widen their pb to 7 successful a crippled they’d spell connected to win.
After uncovering retired that the shot utilized was heading to the Hall, Stars manager Bart Andrus wondered if helium mightiness beryllium allowed to motion it.
"That’s the lone mode I’m getting successful there," helium said.
I was fortunate to beryllium successful the property container for some of these events successful Birmingham, and it fills maine with specified joyousness to cognize what those men accomplished volition beryllium enshrined. Not conscionable for them but for the 400 players, coaches and administrators who willed this play into being arsenic it moves toward a conclusion.
I judge the Pro Football Hall of Fame is for them. It’s for players who slipped done the cracks owed to injury, roster absorption oregon sheer atrocious luck.
It’s for Jordan Moore, a linebacker astatine Philadelphia who gave up being an All-American 110-meter hurdler truthful helium could prosecute this imagination of playing nonrecreational football. It’s for J’Mar Smith, who believed his nonrecreational shot vocation was implicit everlastingly and had begun moving arsenic a precocious schoolhouse shot manager erstwhile Skip Holtz, his assemblage coach, called him and asked him to play backmost for him erstwhile again — this clip arsenic a Birmingham Stallion.
It’s for New Jersey Generals backmost Luis Perez, who taught himself to play quarterback, successful portion by watching YouTube clips and biding his clip astatine inferior assemblage successful California for the accidental to play the presumption for real. It’s for Generals moving backmost Darius Victor, the league's Offensive Player of the Year, whose household fled a war-torn Liberia truthful they mightiness person a accidental astatine a amended life.
It’s for Scooby Wright, who enactment unneurotic 1 of the champion years by a linebacker successful the past of the athletics and ne'er afloat got a accidental to pb a nonrecreational defense. It’s for Wright’s dada and grandfather, some named Phillip, who sat adjacent to maine connected the shuttle to the airport, broadly smiling astir however their namesake had played and instantly wanting to speech shot with me.
It’s for the household of Breakers country backmost Vontae Diggs, who wore matching bluish T-shirts to the South Division Final, walked retired good past midnight and took up the speech astir what playing successful the USFL mightiness bash for Diggs’ career. Diggs, who was erstwhile homeless, has since played successful 5 antithetic leagues and is hoping for 1 much accidental successful the NFL.
Enshrinement successful the Hall of Fame is for the top among us. But the USFL is for the relentless among us.
On Sunday, the USFL volition crown a champ. And I americium surviving connected watching the Stars and Stallions decorativeness what they started.
These men showed up to an bare stadium successful Birmingham chasing a imagination galore of them thought was gone. And present they are successful Canton, Ohio, with a accidental to decorativeness what they started successful the shadiness of the spot that houses the greats.
It'd beryllium unfair to accidental these men chose to combat back, due to the fact that they ne'er stopped fighting. And I unrecorded for that.
RJ Young is simply a nationalist assemblage shot writer and expert for FOX Sports and the big of the podcast "The No. 1 Ranked Show with RJ Young." Follow him connected Twitter astatine @RJ_Young, and subscribe to "The RJ Young Show" connected YouTube. He is not connected a StepMill.
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