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Bill Walsh autographed helmet for Eddie DeBartolo knowing he would get into the Hall of Fame

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I just finished watching Eddie DeBartolo’s acceptance speech at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and it was amazing. I’ll find video and a transcript as soon as I can, but if you missed it, it was great.

Jennifer Chan will have more on his discussion of taking care of players, but I wanted to share one particularly great moment. Eddie said that shortly after he was voted into the Hall, he received a package from Bill Walsh’s son. Bill had told Eddie he knew he would eventually get into the Hall of Fame. The package Bill’s son sent was an autographed helmet from his dad saying, “Congratulations, I knew you’d get in eventually.” So, he had signed the helmet before his passing, and it had been waiting for Eddie’s eventual induction. It kind of took my breath away for a second.

The speech was filled with a lot of touching moments, and some hilarious moments. He spoke of all the 49ers Hall of Famers from his time as owner, and it essentially turned into a roast. He talked about Joe Montana’s Fu Manchu mustache. He talked about Ronnie Lott’s missing pinkie. He joked about Jerry Rice’s nickname of Fifi and how he was changing his uniform two or three times a game because he did not like it too messy. And he joked about Steve Young being the opposite, showing up to meetings with two different colored shoes. He capped it off with a great line about Charles Haley, saying that while he hated having made the trade, he enjoyed knowing that the Cowboys best defensive player was a 49er!

All in all, a damn great speech.