Super Bowl Week a Chance for NFL Hall of Famers to Reconnect

NFL Hall of Famer Roger Wehrli after the Merlin Olsen Super Bowl Luncheon at the Hyatt Regency in Minneapolis. Photo: KSTP/Frank Rajkowski
NFL Hall of Famer Roger Wehrli after the Merlin Olsen Super Bowl Luncheon at the Hyatt Regency in Minneapolis.

February 02, 2018 05:32 PM

For members of the NFL's most exclusive club, Super Bowl week isn't just about the game.

Rather, for inductees to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, it's a chance to reunite with fellow enshrinees and swap stories.


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"I always say if you're a young Hall of Famer, you should go up and introduce yourself to the older guys," said Randall McDaniel, the former standout offensive lineman for the Minnesota Vikings, and a 2009 Hall of Fame inductee.

"And the older guys should mingle with the younger guys. That's how the whole intergenerational thing gets going."

That mix of generations was on display Friday at the annual Merlin Olsen Super Bowl Luncheon, held this year at the Hyatt Regency next door to the Minneapolis Convention Center.

The guest of honor was former Vikings coach Bud Grant, a 1994 inductee who led his teams to four Super Bowls.

And he was joined by many of his fellow members, all adorned in their gold jackets.

"I love to just look up and see all these guys," said former Cincinnati Bengals offensive lineman Anthony Munoz, a 1998 inductee. "There's a lot of football history in that room."

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 "You see guys like Alan Page, or all these other characters you played against back in the day," added Roger Wehrli, a former cornerback for the St. Louis Cardinals, and a 2007 inductee.

"It's a chance to meet them again and renew acquaintances."

Super Bowl weekend also marks the time when inductees find out who will be joining them in Canton.

The 2018 Hall of Fame class will be announced Saturday night.

"That's the fun part, seeing who the new members are," McDaniel said. "It's like getting new classmates. And no matter who they are, we'll welcome them."

But that comes Saturday. Friday was a chance for many Hall of Famers to reconnect.

And most Hall of Famers seemed to be having a good time, despite the bitter cold outside.

Even as temperatures have dipped below zero, Wehrli said it still beats one of his earlier trips to Minnesota.

That came in December of 1974, when the Vikings defeated the Cardinals 30-14 in an NFC Divisional Round playoff game at the old Met Stadium in Bloomington.

"I don't think you ever get used to the cold unless you live up here," he said. "I remember how cold it was when we played the Vikings in that playoff game. It doesn't bring back a lot of fond memories for me.

"I'm having a lot more fun now."


Frank Rajkowski

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