In a small town of 70,000 people sits the holy Mecca of the NFL. Canton Ohio, the home of the football hall of fame. I visited the hall of fame over 20 years ago and haven’t been back since until a couple of weeks ago. If you have never been, you need to go visit. If you have been, why not go again.
The tour starts with someone taking your picture with some props, so they can sell it to you later, because why not. But after that, you get to visit a room with a private collection of football cards and memorabilia. You cannot take pictures in this room because it is owned by the private collector and they said no pictures.
I got to see football cards dating back to the 1900s until now. I saw coaches like Paul Brown, and players Ozzie Newsome, and even O.J. Simpson, remember that guy. There was an order form dating back to the late 1800s for students to buy tickets to a Yale football game. The 50-yard line was $2.50, the equivalent of about $70 today. If they were going to Yale, I bet they could afford it. After you leave the hall of cards you get to take a stroll through history.
Did you know the Browns were a good football team once? It was in the 1950s, but it really happened.
I saw the how the Bears defeated the Redskins 73-0 in the NFL championship game in 1940. The Cincinnati Bengals were called the Reds and the Steelers were called the Pirates just like the baseball counterparts.
The Chicago Bears were the first team to play in a dome in 1932, but the Houston Oilers were the first team to have a domed stadium. Makes sense in the South and not in Chicago right.
O.J. Simpson, that guy again, was the first player ever to rush for 2000 yards in 1973 and free agency was enacted in 1993. The most coveted player at the time Reggie White, I miss his soup commercials with momma.
You get to see Brett Favre’s jersey when he surpassed Dan Marino’s record for passing yards. And Jerry Rice’s jersey when he set the record for most touchdowns in a single season (22). Highlights from The Catch and The Immaculate Reception. There was even a part of the turf where the immaculate reception was made. My dad said you can see the spot where the ball hit the ground, he’s a Raider fan.
After you stroll through the history of the NFL you see the men responsible for that history as you view the busts of those in the hall of fame. The room is dark, illuminated by small lights highlighting the busts. A video in the hall of fame said if the empire state building represents all those that play football all the way down to peewee football, then the antenna on top represents those that make it to the NFL. The very point of that antenna, the hall of fame.
It really is quite something when you get to see all the busts from the first year of the hall of fame (1963) until this previous year. Greats like Jim Brown, Frank Gifford, and Johnny Unitas. As a 49ers fan, I got to see Joe Montana, Steve Young, Bill Walsh, and the GOAT himself Jerry Rice. Coaches and Owners like Tom Landry, Don Shula, and Al Davis. Players that knew how to deliver pain like Mike Singletary, Reggie White, and Ronnie Lot.
After looking into the forged faces of the NFL’s greatest we visit another room with jersey’s worn by some of the NFL’s current best. Like the jersey, George Kittle wore when he broke Rob Gronkowski and then Travis Kelce’s record for most yards by a tight end in a single season.
Kelce’s jersey was in there also, but eh he only held the record for about 20 minutes. Drew Brees’ jersey and football from his 62-yard touchdown to Tre’Quan Smith surpassing Peyton Manning for most career yards by a quarterback. Odell Beckham Jr’s jersey from his one-handed catch against the Cowboys.
Then they even had the jersey, shirt, football, hat, helmet, shoes, and headset from the Philly Special.
After that comes the Super Bowl room. You get a view of the Lombardi but you cannot touch it, stupid glass case. Packers win not only the first Super Bowl but the second one as well. Joe Namath guarantees it and let’s not forget Patriots, Patriots, oh and even more Patriots. They have on display all the Super Bowl rings some of them are actually kind of ugly, but it’s not my style.
There was even a dress from Carrie Underwood, too bad they didn't have Carrie Underwood in there.
They have a short video for you to watch called the road to the Super Bowl. The video was about the Eagles and Patriots road to the Super Bowl over a year ago. Thank God it wasn’t about this past Super Bowl that was boring.
The whole trip ends with you guessed it a trip to the souvenir shop where you can spend all your money. I didn’t spend all my money, but they got a decent amount from me. If you want it, more than likely they have it. They even had cheeseheads.
As I said this the holy Mecca and any fan of the NFL should visit at least once in their lifetime. I have now been twice and I am sure I will go again sometime in the future.
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