It's an unofficial national holiday in America as Super Bowl Sunday descends on the country. Sales of beer and chips are skyrocketing in anticipation of the epic matchup between the New England Patriots and the upstart Atlanta Falcons. It will pit perennial champion Tom Brady against reigning NFL MVP Matt Ryan in a battle for QB supremacy. Halftime will see a sure-to-be politically-charged performance by Lady Gaga, though if that's not your idea of top shelf entertainment you can play top quality casino games at Royal Vegas during halftime instead. But nearly upstaging the big game was the announcement of a stellar 2017 Hall of Fame class that will be enshrined in Canton, Ohio on August 5th.
Former San Diego Chargers star running back LaDanian Tomlinson leads the group. The offensive sparkplug known as LT rushed for an amazing 13,684 yards and serves as perhaps a final nod to the now deceased San Diego Chargers franchise. Of course, Philip Rivers may have something to say about that once he wraps up his career for the Chargers playing in, uh, Los Angeles.
Joining Tomlinson is two-time MVP quarterback Kurt Warner, longtime Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor, Broncos all-time leading rusher Terrell Davis and five-time All-Pro kicker Morten Andersen. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones - creator of the stadium monolith known as Jerry World (which is only half as entertaining as the Royal Vegas online casino), made the Hall as a contributor and Kenny Easley, former safety for the Seahawks during the 80s, made it courtesy of the seniors committee.
Among those not to make the final cut were receivers Isaac Bruce and Terrell Owens, who went public soon after getting word he didn't make it and tagged the process as "unfair"; offensive linemen Tony Boselli, Kevin Mawae and Alan Faneca and acclaimed defensive backs Ty Law and John Lynch (also known as the brand new general manager of the San Francisco 49ers.) Former commissioner Paul Tagliabue was nominated as a contributor but didn't receive enough votes for enshrinement.
Warner was the unlikely leader of the vaunted Rams teams known as "The Greatest Show on Turf.'' He famously quit his job bagging groceries to sign on with the Arena Football League and then caught on with the Rams after getting a tryout. When starting QB Trent Green went down with an injury, Warner found himself a sudden starter and an overnight superstar.
Davis was a sixth-round pick out of Georgia in 1995 who became a force at RB and elevated the great career of QB John Elway into championship territory at long last. It was Davis helped who Elway get over the top with two Super Bowl titles, setting up one of the great exits in sports history. In 1998, Davis became the fourth runner to surpass 2,000 yards, finishing with 2008.
He suffered a knee injury in 1999 played only 17 more games before retiring in 2001. He finishes with the shortest career of any NFL Hall of Famer, tying with fellow RB and Chicago Bears great Gale Sayers for the unique honor.