There’s just something special about watching grown men – men who have achieved the highest distinction in sport – break down in tears while expressing their love and respect for the game of football. If you have ever played the game of football, at any level, it changes you. Football’s all about personal responsibility and pride, execution and trust in other men. It’s a beautiful game that forces you to become more than you are, and to strive for something bigger than yourself.

The Hall of Fame speeches I saw on Saturday we’re fantastic. Watching Deion Sanders and feeling that guy’s passion was incredible. Hearing him explain how he was embarrassed by his mother and her job cleaning up at a hospital, but how he flipped that into motivation to make sure that she’d never have to work a day again in her life. Just great stuff.

Watching Sterling Sharpe trying, desperately and unsuccessfully, to choke back the tears after his brother Shannon gave him a Hall of Fame shout out like no other, you could just feel the weight and importance of that emotional moment for both of the brothers Sharpe. That shit was just real, raw, once-in-a-lifetime emotion right there.

Sure, football’s just a game. And yea, there’s all kinds of cliches about football being a metaphor for life and all that, but you just can’t underestimate how respected and beloved the game of football really is, and how deserving the game is of that respect. When you see football legends break down on an open mic while expressing their appreciation for the game, it’s the closest thing us dudes have to a perfect cathartic moment.

If you haven’t see this year’s Hall of Fame speeches, spend some time and get in touch with your man-emotions this weekend. You’ll feel better after you do.

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