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Saturday, August 05, 2006


Six will be honored…one will return…and a season will begin.
It is going to be quite a weekend in Canton!!

The NFL preseason of 65 games -- 15 on national TV -- kicks off at 8:00 PM ET Sunday night with the annual Pro Football
Hall of Fame Game in the birthplace of the NFL -- Canton, Ohio -- this year between the Oakland Raiders and Philadelphia

The game will mark the "re-debut" of a longtime NFL partner. It will be televised by NBC-TV, which this year returns to
broadcasting the NFL for the first time in eight years. NBC had carried NFL games for 28 seasons, from 1970-97.

Announcing the game will be a well-known pair -- AL MICHAELS and JOHN MADDEN. They debut on NBC after
teaming on Monday Night Football for four years from 2002-05.

It will be a big weekend for Madden and five other familiar NFL names. The former Oakland Raiders coach will be
inducted into the Hall of Fame on Saturday along with TROY AIKMAN, HARRY CARSON, WARREN MOON, REGGIE WHITE and RAYFIELD WRIGHT.

Madden, of course, will go in as the former Raiders coach, but he has an on-field tie to the Eagles, too. As a 21-year-old
tackle out of Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo in 1958, Madden was a 21st-round draft selection by Philadelphia (No. 244 overall), although he never played in the NFL.

The game will mark another "re-debut." ART SHELL is a member of the Hall of Fame class of 1989 who won a Super
Bowl XI ring as a player under Madden and followed him as coach of the Raiders (1989-94). This year Shell returns at
the helm of the club after a 12-year span. That same-team coaching respite ties for the fourth longest in NFL history (see
chart below).

It will be a special weekend for the Eagles, too, as one of their greatest players ever, defensive end-tackle White, is inducted into the Hall. The team retired his number (92) last season.

The Hall of Fame class of 2006:

-- TROY AIKMAN (1989-2000) led the Dallas Cowboys to three Super Bowl titles. His 90 wins in the 1990s makes him the winningest NFL quarterback of any decade.

-- HARRY CARSON (1976-88) was named to nine Pro Bowls, led the New York Giants in tackles in five seasons, and was a leader of the team’s daunting defense in their Super Bowl XXI title season.

-- JOHN MADDEN (1969-78) owns the best regular-season winning percentage of coaches with 100 wins (.759,103-32-7). Oakland never had a losing record under him, and claimed seven division titles and the Super Bowl XI championship.

-- WARREN MOON (1984-2000) ranks fourth all-time in the NFL in completions (3,988) and passing yards (49,325) and fifth in touchdown passes (291). Selected to nine Pro Bowls. Threw for 3,000 yards in each of nine seasons.

-- REGGIE WHITE (1985-2000) retired as the NFL's all-time sack leader (198). Named to 13 consecutive Pro Bowls. Nicknamed the "Minister of Defense." Won a Super Bowl XXXI ring with Green Bay.

-- RAYFIELD WRIGHT (1967-79) was named to the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 1970s. Played in six NFC Championship Games and five Super Bowls, winning two NFL titles. Chosen for Pro Bowl six years in a row.

There will be another induction at the Hall of Fame this year -- one that will make history. Longtime TV broadcaster LESLEY VISSER will receive the Hall’s Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award for her contributions in covering pro football. She will be the first woman to be honored by the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The future of the game also will be celebrated this weekend at the annual NFL Youth Football Summit.

A group of 150 youth and high school football coaches and administrators from all 50 states will convene to discuss issues related to youth and high school programs with football experts and NFL greats.

The NFL and the NFL Players Association sponsor the summit through their joint NFL Youth Football Fund.

Fans nationwide will be able to see all of the weekend Hall of Fame festivities on NFL Network, which will televise more
than 14 hours of on-site coverage, including eight hours on enshrinement Saturday.

The Hall of Fame Game will be the first of 15 nationally televised NFL preseason games this summer. Add to those the
"wall-to-wall-ball" schedule of NFL Network -- 52 games televised in 24 days (including two national TV broadcasts) -- and
fans will be able to see first-hand how NFL teams are developing this summer.

Included on the summer TV schedule will be a record 12-game "whip-around" on August 31. NFL Network on its NFL
Total Access: No Huddle show will cover every game being played that night and cut in to each game as the action


Always of interest are the names of the “presenters” of the Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees on their special day. This
year, two sons, two coaches, an NFL owner, and a friend will have the honors.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2006 presenters:


Troy Aikman Norv Turner QB coach/off. coordinator from 1991-93
Harry Carson Donald Carson Son
John Madden Al Davis Oakland Raiders owner
Warren Moon Leigh Steinberg Friend/Agent
Reggie White Jeremy White Son
Rayfield Wright L.J. "Stan" Lomax Coach at Fort Valley State College

* * *

ART’S BACK!: The Oakland Raiders' ART SHELL returns as the team’s head coach Sunday night after a 12-year
respite. The longest span between NFL coaching stints with the same team:


Joe Bach Pittsburgh 1936 1952 16
Chuck Knox L.A. Rams 1977 1992 15
Ted Marchibroda Baltimore/Indianapolis 1979 1992 13
Walt Kiesling Pittsburgh 1942 1954 12
Joe Gibbs Washington 1992 2004 12
Art Shell L.A./Oakland Raiders 1994 2006 12

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