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As expected, Eddie DeBartolo’s Hall of Fame party was a star studded event

New NFL Hall of Fame inductee Eddie DeBartolo has always been known to throw extravagant parties, and his celebration in Canton was no different. It was a veritable who’s who of NFL celebrities ranging from players to owners to sports writers. DeBartolo’s daughter Nicole hired her former wedding planner to organize the party and it was everything you would expect from the former owner of the San Francisco 49ers.

The champagne was flowing, food was floating around on platters and everywhere you looked was an icon of the game. It was a gorgeous setting at the Glenmoor Country Club that was so well attended that the crowd spilled out onto the patio even though the combination of heat and humidity was sweltering.

DeBartolo’s favorite musical groups, Boyz II Men and Huey Lewis and the News played long sets on the stage. Both bands have had a long relationship with the owner and were regular performers at Candlestick Park.

Jennifer Lee Chan

At the entrance I listened in on a conversation with Jim Trotter, Mike Silver and Rich Eisen debating who might be inducted next year. In a roped off booth were Dan Snyder and Jerry Jones. Throughout the hall were not just the 49er alumni you would expect like Joe Montana and Jerry Rice but other HOFers like Dan Marino, Derrick Brooks, Jerome Bettis, and Jim Brown.

The former mayor of San Francisco, Willie Brown was there for his good friend:

At one point DeBartolo’s daughter, Lisa, who is presenting him at the ceremony, asked that all of the 49ers and and Hall of Famers go to the dance floor for a picture with her father:

During the party Jesse Sapolu spoke to me with reverence about how this was how it always was during the DeBartolo era, extravagant parties with his whole “NFL family” in attendance. Watching DeBartolo interact with the stream of people lined up to greet and congratulate him, the warmth and familiarity he greets every person with is something I will always remember.