CANTON, Ohio — The night, in a word, was perfect.
As the Pro Football Hall of Fame welcomed its eight new members Saturday night in Canton, Ohio, the Indianapolis Colts' organization — its former players, coaches, team officials and, most of all, its fans — was in definite celebration mode, as two of its own, former head coach Tony Dungy and wide receiver Marvin Harrison, were among those being enshrined.
Dungy and Harrison represent an era of Colts football in which winning wasn't just the norm — it was expected each and every Sunday, and, of course, into the playoffs. By the time both had retired from the Colts and the NFL in 2008, they had built an 85-27 record together in Indianapolis for an astonishing .759 winning percentage.
Their legacies were already forever cemented in Indianapolis sports history by playing huge roles in the team's victory over the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI on Feb. 4, 2007, but Saturday night's ceremony — which was well attended by Dungy and Harrison's former Colts teammates — proved once again that what these two were able to accomplish was very much respected on a national and global stage, as well.
With their busts now revealed and their speeches over — and with the after party concluded — here's the Top 10 quotes from the night from Dungy and Harrison themselves, as well as those who came to celebrate with them in Canton:
• "Speaking of the city of Indianapolis, the fans. The fans, the fans are what makes this game possible. I say this from the bottom of my heart, I think I have the best fans, no offense, Green Bay, but I have the best fans in the game. Let me explain why now. Anytime we lose a game or I dropped a pass, they never booed me or did anything negative. They just said, 'Don't worry about it, Marvin, get the next one.' And I'm from Philadelphia, the home of the Eagles. If you get the coin toss wrong in Philadelphia, they want to trade you the first thing Monday morning. So I wasn't used to that in Indianapolis. So we had the best fans." — Marvin Harrison in his enshrinement speech, on his love of the Indianapolis Colts' fanbase.
• "Losing my job in 2002 after a playoff loss was another painful disappointment, but, again, God used it to lead me to a blessing. That's when Jim Irsay called and gave me the opportunity to join him and Bill Polian in Indianapolis. Like Rich McKay, Bill had an exceptional eye for talent, and he built a tremendous football team. We had a lot of fun over the next seven years highlighted by that Super Bowl XLI victory. But I'll tell you, the most satisfying part was doing what Jim talked about in that first phone conversation, connecting with our community and making the Colts an integral part of the Indianapolis landscape. I'd like to thank you big time, Jim and Bill and the Colts fans. You made us feel like native Hoosiers, and our family loves you." — Tony Dungy in his enshrinement speech, on being hired by the Colts just eight days after losing his job as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach in 2002.
• "Marvin, Coach Dungy, congrats. (It's an) honor to be here. Coach, honor to play for you; Marvin, honor to play with you. I wouldn't have missed it. Congratulations. Awesome." — Former Colts great quarterback Peyton Manning, sitting in the crowd during Saturday's enshrinement ceremony.
• "Congratulations Marvin, congratulations Coach Dungy. I'm here with the quarterback — we're here to watch you give your speech. Marv won the bet: we thought he was going to be a little bit shorter than he did, but Marvin surprised everybody. And the quarterback is right, like always." — Former Colts great running back Edgerrin James, sitting with Manning in the crowd in Canton. Harrison's speech lasted a little more than 11 minutes.
• "Marvin, Coach Dungy: congratulations. It's a great honor, and we are so proud to be a part of it. Super Bowl XLI — immortalized forever. Congratulations." — Colts outside linebacker Robert Mathis, taking in the enshrinement of his former teammate and coach Saturday night with kicker Adam Vinatieri.
• "Amazing to be able to see Coach Dungy go into the Hall Of Fame. My first NFL coach. A great coach and a even better person. Congrats Coach you really deserve it. … Happy to see the greatest wide receiver ever to finally make it to the Hall Of Fame." — Former Colts wide receiver Pierre Garçon, congratulating both Tony Dungy and Marvin Harrison via his Instagram account.
2016 Hall of Fame Enshrinement at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium
• "He was this quiet, unassuming guy. He was a wolf in sheep's clothing. He had a fierceness in him. … Marvin's greatness is earned, as well as God-given. It's a two-way street. When he took the practice field, it was serious time. And Marvin's comment always was, which echoes in our building forever, was, 'They pay me to practice; the games are free. The games are on me.'" — Colts Owner Jim Irsay on Marvin Harrison during his introduction into the Hall of Fame.
• "It meant a great deal to him to be the first African-American (head coach) to win the Super Bowl, but I don't think that was really the essence of what it meant to him. I think the real essence was that winning set a great example for adults and young people, meaning that you don't have to compromise your belief system or your philosophy to be successful in life." — Donnie Shell, Tony Dungy's former teammate with the Pittsburgh Steelers, during his introduction of Dungy into the Hall of Fame.
• "I could sit up here for 10, 15 minutes and tell you about how important it was to have you as my coach and talk about football. But what you brought to our team and to me was more important than anything. You told us how to be teammates. You told us how to be men. But the most important thing is you told us about fatherhood. And I think that's more important than any head coach could ever tell his players is about fatherhood. So I want to thank you for that." — Marvin Harrison, on his former head coach Tony Dungy.
• "I'm so honored to be in the same Hall of Fame class as Marvin Harrison. We spent seven years together, and I know how hard Marvin worked, how much he sacrificed to be the best, the very best he could be. But that just exemplifies every one of those guys, all of our players were so special." — Tony Dungy on Marvin Harrison's impact.