Andre Reed was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame Saturday night, and the Buffalo Bills’ all-time leader in every receiving category, absolutely stole the show. Bills fans took over Canton, Ohio, as a sea of red, white and blue canvassed the seating areas.
Following a tumultuous offseason in which the team’s only owner in the history of the franchise, Ralph Wilson Jr. passed away, in addition to Hall of Fame quarterback being diagnosed with cancer, it was about time that Bills fans were given an injection of positive energy.
Andre Reed delivered just that, giving a half-hour speech unlike any other that was spoken before or after his presentation.
Reed spoke of the 90’s Bills as not just teammates that went to Super Bowls together, but as a family. Now, Reed wasn’t speaking of the cliché “family” that every sports’ team is supposed to be, but a true comradery, which he highlighted within his several colorful quotes that brought eruptions of cheers and laughter from the crowd.
He told a story of Hall of Fame defensive end Bruce Smith picking him up from the airport when he arrived in Buffalo as a rookie. The-then fourth-round draft pick, who claimed that he was expecting something similar to New York City, was taken to Big Tree Inn, a notorious hang-out spot for the early 90’s teams.
Reed even threw in some trash-talk, when bringing up Marv Levy’s offense that dominated the NFL, joking
“My career didn’t take off until something called the K-Gun came out of nowhere. Ask Dan Marino about it.”
Reed wasn’t only making jokes, as he transitioned to talking Jim Kelly, Ralph Wilson Jr., and the state of the Bills’ franchise.
When Reed spoke to Kelly, who made the trip to Canton while undergoing cancer treatment, it truly felt as if he was talking to a big brother that he truly looked up to, stating
“You’re the toughest individual I’ve ever met in my life. You’re the reason that I’m standing here today. I wanted you to be proud of me. I wanted you to know that you could count on me at any time”, adding, “You know our saying, bro: 12+83 always equals 6”
Following Reed’s words for Kelly, he gave his respects for the late Ralph Wilson, stating “You gave me a chance to live out a dream, Ralph, one that very few people attain.”
After a short pause, Reed stole the show, when he said
“Oh, yeah. And the Bills will stay in Buffalo, too.”
The crowd absolutely erupted. To cap off an emotional speech, Jim Kelly threw one last pass to Andre Reed, a moment that probably brought a tear to the eyes of Bills’ fans everywhere.
Jim Kelly to Andre Reed. Awesome. https://t.co/4rc92wzsZ7
— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) August 3, 2014
Andre Reed’s heartfelt, passionate speech, coupled with the showing of support from the Buffalo Bills fans in attendance, Roger Goodell, in addition to the 31 current NFL owners realize how much the Bills’ franchise means to the league.