By Terrance Turner
Aug. 5, 2021
FOOTBALL IS BACK.
Tonight, the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers were in Canton, Ohio for the nFL Hall of Fame Game. (Th
The Hall of Fame Game is an annual tradition in the NFL. According to Fox Sports announcer Joe Buck, the National Football League was founded in Canton, and the Canton Bulldogs were one of the early successful teams in the early league in 1922-23. Hence, the NFL Football Hall of Fame is located there. Because last year’s game was canceled to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s ceremony honored two different Hall of Fame groups: the class of 2020 and the class of 2021. One of the newest inductees is Buck himself.
Buck is the lead play-by-play announcer for FOX Sports’ NFL and MLB coverage. In 1994, he became the youngest man ever (at 25) to announce a full slate of NFL games for Fox Sports. Buck has called an astounding six Super Bowls, 23 World Series and 25 MLB League Championship Series for the network. “Sunday Night Football” host Al Michaels
Throughout the broadcast, Buck and Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman interviewed several nominees, including Calvin Johnson and Peyton Manning and John Lynch. The boothside chats sometimes took up more space than the on-the-field action. But truth be told, there wasn’t much first-half action to speak of.
The Cowboys moved down the field with ease on their first two drives. But they were stymied by the stout Steelers defense. On the first of the two drives, the Cowboys made it all the way to the five-yard line. But the Steelers forced them to settle for a field goal. Dallas led 3-0 after the field goal. (It stayed that way for the entire first half.)
On the second drive, Dallas again advanced to the red zone. But Pittsburgh again forced a field goal. This time, Niswander’s 29-yard field goal was BLOCKED (by Steelers cornerback Tre Norwood). That followed a Pittsburgh drive that ended similarly: kicker Samuel Sloman’s kick went wide right. The kicking woes continued later, when Niswander’s 52-yard kick also went wide right. That marked the end of the first half. It was 3-0 at halftime.
In the second half, the lifeless Steelers offense sprang to life. Pittsburgh moved down the field on a five-play, 33-yard drive. They capped it with a 4-yard touchdown by running back Kalen Ballage. Unfortunately, Samuel Sloman’s extra-point kick was no good. But five minutes later, Sloman managed to drill a 48-yard field goal that put Pittsburgh up 9-3.
The Cowboys took over, with QB Ben DiNucci. His pass, intended for tight end Cole Hikutini, was intercepted by Steelers safety Donovan Stiner. He advanced the ball 16 yards before finally being tackled. The rookie safety made an impression in the Hall of Fame Game:
Pittsburgh would make Dallas pay for that costly mistake on their own ensuing drive. On 3rd and goal, the Steelers came through with the dagger. Quarterback Joshua Dobbs threw to wide receiver Tyler Simmons for the 5-yard touchdown.
The Steelers won, 16-3. They will play three more preseason games before the NFL season officially begins.