Induction weekend at the Pro Football Hall of Fame is an electric time for football fans. Typically fans of teams that have players entering the Hall that year pack Canton, OH, and that's certainly the case in 2015.
But this year there's something just a little bit different happening. Just inside the main entrance of the Hall of Fame is a display honoring each of the members of the 2015 class. While Pittsburgh is a two hour drive, the Jerome Bettis spot is certainly popular.
After that, just about everyone who looks at the display lingers a little bit longer on the Junior Seau section. Instead of simply glancing at the photos and perusing the paraphernalia they take the time to read and really explore the Seau setup.
There seems to be a reverence for Junior, and not just among Chargers fans. Vikings fans, Steelers fans, Chiefs fans, Bengals fans ... even Raiders fans are, in their own way, paying respects to a man they hated playing against but still loved to watch play.
"Junior Seau stood up for being a great football player so most Raider fans have a love/hate relationship with him" said Matthew Phillips, a longtime Raiders fan making his first trip to Canton to see wide receiver Tim Brown enter the Hall of Fame. "I loved Junior Seau, the way he performed on the field and the way he performed off the field. I am a Junior Seau fan."
That sentiment was confirmed by several other Raiders fans I spoke to on Saturday afternoon. Oh, and it was also the belief of Tim Brown himself.
"Junior was the one player that, during my career, I hated to play against," said Brown. "He was such a destructive force for our offense. It didn't matter what the defense was you knew that Junior was always going to be able to do whatever he wanted to do. Our offensive line was always in a flux of trying to figure out where this guy was going to be on a down-to-down basis."
Brown shared a story about how the Chargers wanted to take Brown out of a game, so they had Seau cover him whenever he lined up in the slot.
"Junior is 6'3", 240 (pounds), one of the greatest athletes I've ever played against. Me, at that time, being less than 200 pounds, it was not too much of a battle. I tried going in short motion, cross motion, it didn't matter where I went. If I ended up in the slot he was right over my head and I had probably one of the worst games of my career."
That is just how good Junior Seau was. That is why football fans from all 31 NFL cities are honored to see him take his rightful place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It's going to be one heck of a night in Ohio.