CANTON, Ohio (WJW) – Fans from all over the country flocked to Canton to celebrate and welcome the 2023 Pro Football Hall of Fame class.
The festivities on enshrinement day were kicked off by the Canton Repository Grand Parade 2.2-mile route that lasted about two hours. But quickly the focus shifted to enshrinements.
Thousands of fans flooded Tom Benson Hall of Fame stadium to welcome the nine newest members: Ronde Barber, DeMarcus Ware, Zach Thomas, Ken Riley, Joe Klecko, Chuck Howley, Darelle Revis, Don Coryell, and Joe Thomas.
Browns fans were the dominant fanbase in attendance but had to wait patiently for Thomas as he was last to speak and be enshrined.
“He’s a phenomenal Browns person, and we love him and we’re so excited to see him get into the Hall of Fame,” Browns fan Josh Maurer said.
But the eight other class members meant just as much to fans traveling from around the nation.
“Zack Thomas getting into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, long overdue,” Miami Dolphins fan Glenn Loftiss said. “It was one of the greatest things. He was a class act all the way through in what he said in his speech. He mentioned his coaches, teammates, family and it broke my heart when he said my best friend Junior Seau, now I’m gonna be enshrined with him. It was incredible to hear that and see.”
Many fans enjoyed the Fan Experience Zone, featuring several restaurants and activities, checking out everything Canton has to offer.
Vikings fan Brian Foss is a first-time visitor, but he didn’t come for the ceremony.
“Just enjoy all the fandom out here. Because I mean it’s great to see the people dressed in their colors and representing. Football is back! That’s what this represents, we’re here for that reason.”
Whether it’s the first time in Canton or not fans made sure to soak up every moment, throwing rivalries aside to celebrate being a fan.
“We all don’t have any say in what happens on the football field, but we have a say what goes on around the football field,” Cowboys Super Fan Mateo ‘Tru Blu’ Franco said. “And when you’re a fan of fans, you start to understand just how important everyone is. Because without them, there wouldn’t be any football.”
Overall fans were very impressed with the Hall of Fame Village.
“Canton’s done a phenomenal job cleaning this area up, and I mean look at it, it’s beautiful,” Maurer said.