Eddie DeBartolo was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this past February, and he will be enshrined in a little over two weeks. Each inductee is introduced by a person of their choosing. Over the years, DeBartolo has presented numerous members of the San Francisco 49ers for induction. This year, his oldest daughter, Lisa, will present him for induction in Canton.
DeBartolo is doing all sorts of media leading up to the ceremony, and on Tuesday, he said if Bill Walsh had lived, there was a good chance DeBartolo would have had him do the presentation honors. DeBartolo and Walsh each get plenty of credit for what they did with the 49ers. Walsh fully implemented the West Coast offense and helped lead the 49ers. DeBartolo set up a first-class organization, providing his players anything they needed, and continuing those relationships long after players were no longer with the team.
And yet, you could say they are going to forever be connected in 49ers history. Walsh likely would have gotten an NFL opportunity at some point, but DeBartolo was the one who finally made it happen. And while we remember DeBartolo as a great owner, his first two years were disastrous. Bringing in Walsh was the most important decision DeBartolo made as owner. It’s a shame Walsh did not live to see this day, but the two of them will be forever connected in 49ers history.