Deion Sanders and Shannon Sharpe may have grabbed all the headlines from the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony on August 6, but Colts fans know who the real star of the show was. For us, no one on that stage shined brighter during his career than Marshall Faulk, Indy’s first do-it-all running back who was the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year in 1994.
Faulk was the Colts’ biggest draw in the years between Eric Dickerson and Peyton Manning, and he shared the spotlight with Manning for one promising season, even though the team finished 3-13 in 1998. Faulk was shipped to the St. Louis Rams in 1999, and I felt at the time that the Colts had made a definite mistake. Although rookie Edgerrin James outgained Faulk on the ground that season, Faulk teamed with Kurt Warner to win the Super Bowl. The Colts eventually got their ring after the 2006 season, but it was Joseph Addai, not James who manned the backfield that season. Although we’ll never know if Faulk would have developed into the devastating talent that he eventually became if he had continued working with Manning, I still rank him above Edge in the Colts firmament.
Also going into the Hall on Saturday was Richard Dent, who terrorized opposing quarterbacks as a defensive end for the Colts. OK, OK Dent did almost all of his terrorizing while with the Chicago Bears, but he did spend 1996 with the Colts near the end of his career. In a preview of things to come, Dent teamed with Faulk that year to give the Colts a future Hall of Famer on both sides of the ball.
Congratulations to two former Colts for making it all the way to Canton. There should be a few more Blue and White jerseys joining you in the near future … hopefully not too near, though.