A little strange news on a celebratory night.
The 2016 NFL Hall of Fame class received their gold jackets tonight ahead of Saturday’s enshrinement ceremony, and two former Rams finally got their jackets: OT Orlando Pace and OLB/DE Kevin Greene.
Pace makes it the second Hall of Famer from the Greatest Show on Turf following Marshall Faulk's induction in 2011. A seven-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro first team member (five times overall) following being selected first overall in the 1997 NFL Draft out of Ohio State, Pace goes down as one of the best offensive tackles in collegiate and NFL history without argument.
Greene was a fifth-round pick in the 1985 NFL Draft out of Auburn who played with the Rams for the first eight years of his 15-year career.
He spent the first three years at defensive end before a move to OLB under DC Fritz Shurmur (whose nephew Pat would take the offensive coordinator reins for two years under HC Steve Spagnuolo in 2009 and 2010) exacerbated his career.
In that first year at OLB, Greene jumped up to 16.5 sacks from 6.5 the year prior. It would be the first of Greene's 10 seasons with 10 or more sacks, finishing with 160 career sacks, good for third all-time behind only Hall of Famers Bruce Smith and Reggie White.
The strange part?
The owners of the NFL franchises who have members of the 2016 NFL Hall of Fame class are all in attendance.
Well, all but one.
Owners of NFL teams w/inductees in Class of 2016 introduced a few minutes ago. Irsay, Rooney, Yorks introduced, etc. No Kroenke.— Jim Thomas (@jthom1) August 4, 2016
There’s no other way to describe it. That’s strange. It’s strange that all the other NFL owners with inductees repping their franchises all attended tonight except for Stan Kroenke.
We’ll have to see if there’s any further reporting on this (and given that Kroenke tamps down on any reporting on his personal life pretty intensely...and successfully, I doubt it), but if there isn’t a legit reason for his absence, that’s the kind of thing players notice.
We watch the games. We remember the plays and the moments that define careers and seasons on TV. Players remember the things behind the scenes, the things that I’ve always said Jeff Fisher is so good at. That’s why Fisher has always been popular with his players. He makes an effort to show them he cares.
Tonight, Kroenke didn’t.
Nevertheless, that shouldn’t overshadow what is a celebratory night for Pace and Greene. In two days, they’ll rightfully go into the NFL Hall of Fame.
And just as a new chapter in Rams football is beginning in Los Angeles, a Ram from the St. Louis era and the GSOT and one from the last chapter of Los Angeles football prepare to be celebrated as two of the greatest football players of all-time.