No good deed goes unbooed.
Tom Brady decided to attend Sunday night’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony, in order to witness Peyton Manning’s enshrinement. When Peyton acknowledged Brady, boos could be heard from the crowd in Canton.
Brady turns around, smiling. He says to the crowd, “What’s up with that? What did I do wrong?”
Brady’s name was mentioned as part of a setup for a joke from Manning about the mandatory time limits on induction speeches.
“Next year, acceptance speeches will probably shrink to four minutes. And speaking of rivals, my good friend Tom Brady is here tonight. By the time he is inducted. . . .”
That’s when the booing started. Manning paused to give that scene a few seconds to unfold.
“By the time Tom Brady is inducted in his first year of eligibility in the year 2035, he’ll only have time to post his acceptance speech on his Instagram account,” Manning said.
Although some have complained about the time limits for the induction speeches, it’s a smart move. Peter King called it “the best thing that’s happened to induction night in years.” The let-them-drone-on-as-long-as-they-want crowd argues that the Hall of Famers have earned the right to do so. The but-it’s-all-being-broadcast-on-live-TV crowd argues that, just because the enshrinement lasts for all eternity, the speeches don’t have to feel that way.
We’d argued for years that, if the event is going to be broadcast live on television, time limits are critical. Otherwise, tape the speeches, let them talk as long as they want, and edit them down for a prime-time special.
And here’s the bottom line, an observation that is true for every speech ever made in any setting or context. At the very most, the audience will remember one thing that the person says. The shorter the speech, the more likely that one thing will stand out.