Following many inspiring conversations with Art Daley I felt that I almost knew Johnny Blood and this wonderful letter from Dan Rooney of the Steelers describes perfectly this genius of a football player.
John Victor McNally was a charter member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, and at his induction in 1963 the following speeches were made by John and his friend and presenter Byron “Whizzer” White.
Byron “Whizzer” White
“I’m very grateful for the privilege of being here in the presence of my peers and of presenting to you my good friend John “Blood” McNally. John has devoted a good many years of his life to the game of football including 15 wonderful years in the National Football League. Not only was John a magnificent player and a brilliant entertainer but he had the rarest of all qualities, namely giving his greatest performances when greatest was required. This, of course, is the hallmark historically of the great athlete and it is also one of the major tests which time applies to the deeds of men. John, you and your performances have survived the test of time and they will continue to do so. I congratulate you as well as those who are responsible for this wonderful idea and this magnificent structure which now stands here at Canton. I give you John “Blood” McNally.”
Johnny “Blood” McNally
“Thank you Justice White and dear friend Byron. Dear friend, when you stand in a place like this you must wonder to yourself how did I get here. The first thought that occurs to me is that you have great luck in order to compete in a game and a league like this and to last long enough to get into this Hall of Fame. I had that kind of luck and I’m very thankful for it. But in addition to luck there is a lot more involved. I can think of the courageous men who hired me, for instance there’s Ole Hagsrud who took a chance and hired me. Curly Lambeau took a chance and hired me. Art Rooney took a chance and hired me. Then I think of the coaches who trained me. Ernie Nevers has still got blonde hair and he took a chance or two but it turned out alright. Curly Lambeau was a great coach. Duke Osborn is here who coached up at Pottsville and he contributed to this and I thank them all. Of course, there are fellows who were on the same teams like Don Hutson and Cal Hubbard who did so much and many other unnamed persons. But I certainly would not be here except for the creative imagination and the magnanimity of certain sports writers such as Oliver Kickly of the Milwaukee Journal and Art Daley of the New York Times and one other named Dick McCann who I think made the greatest contribution to the Hall of Fame and I thank them. Now when you get here you can’t get here at twenty-one of thirty-one and even forty-one so you kind of qualify as a senior citizen. I think of some lines that struck me once.
The tumult and the shouting dies
The captains and the kings depart
Still stands that ancient sacrifice
A humble and contrite heart
I thank you all for this honour”