FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – All-time greats Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith led a class of seven into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday.
The NFL's career receiving and rushing leaders were joined in the Hall by John Randle, Russ Grimm, Rickey Jackson, Floyd Little and Dick LeBeau. Little and LeBeau were elected as senior committee nominees.
Rice and Smith both made it in their first year of eligibility.
"This is almost perfect," Smith said. "I don't think even Steven Spielberg could have written a script this nice."
They will be inducted into the Canton, Ohio, shrine on Aug. 7.
"I am just honored … to stand up there with greatness," Rice added.
Nobody could stop Rice, the league's top pass catcher and all-time touchdowns leader, when he played for San Francisco, Oakland and Seattle. Rice made 1,549 catches for 22,895 yards, had 14 1,000-yard seasons and scored 208 touchdowns.
Nor could they handle Smith, who rushed for 18,355 yards and 164 touchdowns for Dallas and Arizona. Like Rice, he won three Super Bowls and one MVP award in the NFL's championship game.
And no one could deny them immediate entry into the Hall. A nominee needs 80 percent approval from the 44 media members who vote and they were slam-dunks.
"We were rewarded on this day and the both of us get the chance to do what we want to do," Smith said.
"It's just like playing in that big game, this is something you think about, and it is happening. I never thought I would go in …. with this guy here," Rice added about Smith.