On My Bucket List – Pro Football Hall of Fame

Most of my readers know I love football, and watch every game I can during the season. On my bucket list for some time now has been to see the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH. After my brother-in-law’s wedding in Columbus, OH, we drove up to Canton to spend a few hours seeing the exhibits. My Sweet Babboo estimated we’d need about 3 hours. We stayed 5-1/2! I had to see every video, read every exhibit, play with all the hands-on displays, watch the two movies, admire all the bling and take lots of pictures.

The exhibits begin with a gallery of award winning sports photographs with incredible shots of football action.

This modest display shows the jewelry awarded to one of the first championship games, in the earliest days of the NFL.

Large exhibits began by featuring the decades of football history beginning with the very first guy to get paid to play the game in 1892.

Every decade highlighted the advances made during that time, with a video about the commissioner for those years. Displays included jerseys worn at the time, equipment used and in some cases, trophies awarded.

Rules changes are highlighted as well as new teams for the decade.

In the 1990s, free agency began, allowing players to move between teams at the end of their contract.

Fun facts included this lesson on scoring and how it has changed over the years.

A large exhibit is dedicated to the records held by players and when they were set.

Interactive displays allowed the visitor to experience some of the game aspects. On this one, you could put on the helmet (I didn’t, but I did hold it up to my ear) and listen to coaches calling plays to the quarterback.

On this one, you could put your hand in the grip used by three quarterbacks. Their hands are huge! The display noted how each one held the ball just a bit differently, putting their fingers in slightly different positions over the laces.

The formations on the field, and advances in play design were hightlighted in several large exhibits.

Sunday Night Football on NBC has a display with one of their Emmys. The Emmy is reflected in the glass on the right. This show set records for viewership, and has won the award for Outstanding Live Sports shows eleven times, more than any other sports show in history. It has won a total of 30 sports Emmy awards, including four for Michele Tafoya for Outstanding Sports Reporting.

Every aspect of the game had a display, with this one devoted to officiating.

The HOF did have two videos on the NFL’s role in Sports Medicine, including the work on concussion protocols. However, they glossed over their neglect in the early years when this was coming to light, and that was disappointing. I’d like to see them own that mistake.

In the hall’s Bust Gallery, photos were difficult due to the lighting of every platform. But I took a bunch of photos of players I recognized, along with the Fox NFL guys. Here is Terry Bradshaw, a quarterback, now sportscaster for Fox NFL Sunday.

Howie Long, defensive player, also now a sportscaster for Fox.

John Madden, my favorite sportscaster of all time. The years he called the games with Pat Summerall were outstanding. I still like watching those classic games just to hear them talk about the game and the plays, and watch John Madden with the new-at-the-time telestrator.

This is Jimmy Johnson, the coach that made the draft into a suspense show. He was fun to watch as he led the Cowboys to their Super Bowl wins in the 90s. I like his coach’s perspective on the game during the pre-game shows now.

Hall of Fame inductees receive a large diamond ring shaped like a football, along with the gold jacket and a bust in the Hall of Busts.

Of course, the Super Bowl had more than 50 displays, one for every Super Bowl played, and I had to see them all.

There it is, the Lombadi Trophy awarded to the NFL Super Bowl winner. You can see me in the mirror on the left, wearing my Panthers t-shirt.

There was a display of every Super Bowl ring ever made, and it was interesting to see how they have evolved over the years. Starting rather modestly, the number and amount of diamonds, other stones, and gold, along with special features grew over the years. The number of diamonds, placement and shapes are loaded with meaning. For Super Bowl LIII (53), the New England Patriots had a record 422 diamonds on their ring. For Super Bowl LV (55), the Tampa Bay Buccaneers sport a record setting 15 carats of diamonds, and a flip open top revealing a miniature representation of the stadium. They were the first team to play in and win a Super Bowl in their home stadium. You can see the story and the symbolism on that ring HERE.

Overall, I enjoyed this day to the fullest! The 2022 Hall of Fame enshrinement weekend will take place August 4-7, starting with the first preseason game. This year will have the unveiling of a new display devoted to the USFL, the spring league that played in 2022. I got a sneak peek at that. This year will also see the first Carolina Panther inducted as a Panther. Three other players are in the hall that played for the Panthers, but they were with other teams when they retired from the game. Sam Mills was a defensive linebacker, and later a coach for the Panthers. He had to battle cancer while coaching, and his message to ‘keep pounding’ became a team motto still used today. He died in 2005. His jersey, number 51, was the first number to be retired by the Panthers.

I went to the store in the HOF after our tour, fully prepared to pay a lot for a full color hardbound book on the hall exhibits and history. I was surprised to find they don’t have one! Although you can buy jerseys and tchotchkes for all the teams, there is very little HOF other than t-shirts, hats and coffee mugs.

When we got home, I decided that my new smart phone needed a new ringtone, so it is now the Fox NFL music, LOL!! I know most of my readers won’t make it to the end of this post, because only a few are football fans. But if you are still reading, what is on your bucket list?

29 thoughts on “On My Bucket List – Pro Football Hall of Fame

  1. Kim from TN

    I truly enjoy museum for what I can learn while there. I recently went to the Nascar Museum, but I’ve never seen a race. It was fascinating to me, and I now want to attend a race. Thanks for sharing your trip to Ohio with us.

    1. Debbie Miller Meyer

      I love football as well and the HOF. I was a huge Peyton Manning fan and hope he becomes a broadcaster one day! The only pro game I went to was when the Broncos played the Browns in Cleveland the year he retired. At least I got to see him play in person. What a class act he was. I now follow Brady. I enjoy watching him play, his determination, the look in his eyes shows how much he loved the game. After he retires, I’m not sure who will become my guy to watch. Growing up in Pittsburgh, steel town, Steeler Nation, I can say I was a fan in the 60‘s and 70‘s when there was truly a steel curtain! Loved Bradshaw, Jack Hamm, Rocky Blier, Mean Joe Greene, Jack Lambert, and all the rest! Now I won’t even glance at the Steelers. If they‘re playing another team, I root for that team, not the Steelers. The current Rooney‘s seem to like hiring thugs, women beaters and the like. Old Man Rooney would have never allowed that on his team. So, as you can see, Carole, you’re not alone in your love of football. We don’t live far from the Hall and I need to go back just to see Peyton‘s bust and his part there. I think I‘ll wait for Brady to finally get there and make it a truly memorable last trip of my lifetime there. I’m glad you got to visit there, it is awesome!!🏈🏉🏟

    2. Niki B

      One of my bucket list items is to see a game in every major league baseball park. However, they keep building stadiums faster than I can get there. So I think I have to say, see every major league team in a home game.

  2. June Neigum

    The Football HOF is not on my bucket list but I would go if I ever get that way. But I sure wouldn’t spend 5 1/2 hrs. I think I would like to see as many lighthouses as I can along
    the coast of the USA. I can’t climb to the top anymore but their history is fascinating to me. I’ve got a pretty good start on that list here in NC and SC.

  3. I went to the Hall of Fame a number of years ago and it was a fascinating and well designed presentation of one part of our American history. If one likes history then then you can view this through those eyes. I like football but am not a super fan and I still enjoyed the visit immensely. Good for us all to stretch just a little to see what interests others beyond our quilting, sewing, knitting world.

  4. Mary Ed Williams

    I love football, just not pro. Living smack in the middle of four colleges, the Tar Heels are my beloveds. Even more with basketball, which approaches fanaticism. I had season tickets for fifty years! Too old now to climb the steps. Or to buy the tickets!
    All that said, I do love the Panthers. You may hold the world record for attendance! Great blog!
    Mary Ed

    1. Anne Kirby

      Born and raised in Baltimore, so the Colts were our team. My dad was a field crew member and my older brother played a big white sousaphone in the marching band. Your trip sounds great, thanks for taking us along!!

  5. Rheanna

    I love that you got to cross this off your bucket list. So much fun. I do enjoy football but don’t have a particular team I cheer for. My favorite player was Peyton Manning and my favorite coach Tony Dungy.
    Last week I got to cross off my list going to Missouri Star Quilt Company. My husband and I made a day of it and really enjoyed checking out all the shops.

  6. Betsy Pompi

    Carole,
    Maybe you should suggest to the HOF that you will put together that coffee table book for them. What a great project Wouldn’t I hat be fun? I’m not that big a fan, but your description makes me want to go. Thanks for sharing.

  7. I haven’t been to the HOF, but my husband and oldest son have, and really enjoyed it! Now that we have Broncos in there, I’d enjoy going to see their displays. (We were/are big Peyton Manning fans, too.) I’m not sure what’s on my bucket list in terms of places like this, but we do love taking factory tours whenever we come across them. The Jelly Belly factory in Fairfield, CA, is a favorite!

  8. Carole, like you, I’m a big football fan! I am anxiously awaiting the start of the 2022 season. I watch every game I can…Sunday, Sunday night, Monday night, Thursday night, etc. It can’t start soon enough for me! I live in Wisconsin, not far from Green Bay, so my loyalties lie first with the Packers. Lambeau Field is hallowed ground to us! I was 13 when the Ice Bowl game was played there and I’ll never forget it! All of us Cheeseheads are proud of the fact that the Packers hold the unique honor of being the first to play and win a Super Bowl. Vince Lombardi is still revered here today.

    My bucket list:
    1. Visit France
    2. Blue Ridge Parkway
    3. Sequoia National Park
    4. Pro Football Hall of Fame
    5. Yosemite
    6. Alaska
    7. Hawaii
    8. Canadian Rockies
    9. Biltmore in Asheville
    10. Sail the Rhine in Germany

    P.S. I read your post all the way to the end. How could I not? Go NFL! I agree with you about John Madden…he was special.

  9. Angie S.

    I read clear to the end and I’m not a football fan. At 50 years old, I can count on two hands how many football games I’ve seen…and none all the way through, even Superbowls. Your pictures and information were still very interesting, especially the part about the rings. Wow!
    I haven’t made a real bucket list, but one thing I really want to do is visit all 50 states with my husband…and I have a cross stitch project of the US Map that I’m stitching each state as we get there. These past two weeks, we added 5 states to the map on a very long road trip. So far we’ve gone almost 4,000 miles and we still aren’t home yet. Thanks for blogging! I really enjoy all your posts, whether about quilting, road trips, gardening, whatever!

  10. Linda Rattie

    I do not know anything about football but I really enjoyed reading about your visit and seeing all the pictures.I’m glad you had a good time.

  11. Carol in Texas

    I read it all and enjoyed your tour. I love football and so look forward to the coming season, college and NFL. The other sport seasons don’t interest me. There’s a lot I will never know about the game, but I love to watch it with the little I do know. I am interested to see how the Broncos do with Russell Wilson. Will Tom Brady still be terrific? Will the Texans ever get better? And will the Texas Longhorns fare better their second year with Steve Sarcasian? Such fun to think about and watch.

  12. Bambi Pearson

    I’ve been to the HOF twice. I would go again if I could. A must for all NFL fans! Glad you had a great time visiting.

  13. Donna Hindle

    We went there after Jim Kelly was inducted into the Hall of Fame. It wasn’t near as large as it looks to be by your accounts. We are still Bills fans.

  14. Patty Brenner

    Thanks so much for sharing your visit with us! My husband is a huge football fan (I think he does 3-4 fantasy teams every season) and would love to visit the HOF. I used to be a bigger fan, especially of the Cowboys, but I got tired of the off field shenanigans that they get away with so lost interest. I still enjoy college football and love to watch our local high school teams play too. A few years ago when I was still a high school teacher, I taught with one of Bum Phillips’ daughters (Andrea McCarthy). She is a swim coach at the school I taught at, and for a fundraiser in 2010 she raffled box seats and a VIP experience to a Cowboys game (since her brother Wade was the Cowboys coach at the time). Sadly I didn’t win those tickets, lol. I talked to her after Thanksgiving (which was a few weeks after Wade was fired) and asked if it was a somber family event – she said that her brother wasn’t happy, but her dad was ecstatic because Wade no longer worked for the hated rival Cowboys 🙂 Thanks again for taking us along vicariously, and bringing back some good memories!

  15. lv2bquilting2

    Hi Carole. Thank you so much for sharing your visit to the Football Hall of Fame with us. It looks as though you thoroughly enjoyed yourself and were able to spend so many hours touching, reading and listening about your favorite sport. The pictures of the rings were certainly impressive and had no idea they were so elaborate. Enjoy your day.

  16. Carole, I am happy for you that you can mark the HOF off your list. Your post is very interesting. I am a huge football fan, not of pro, but of college. I grew up with my dad being a huge Alabama, Roll Tide fan. He is almost 92, and he looks forward to the fall so he can watch all college football. We never miss a Bama game on TV.

  17. Julie

    I still remember watching college football on Saturday afternoons with my Dad & Granddad. It was on a black & white TV that was so snowy I don’t know how they ever figured out what was going on. I suppose their first over-the-air games were on radio so the visual didn’t matter that much to them. They would have loved to hear about your visit, I sure enjoyed it.

  18. That does sound like a great time! Two comments. In that photo of the early “jewelry” there are the little football pendants. I have one of those from when my Grandfather played running back for Virginia Tech. He received one of those. My grandmother (they had divorced) kept and hid it for years before eventually giving it to me. I took it to him and he had me keep it because “he just didn’t want her to have it”. They were spiteful people.
    The broadcast display was interesting too. I’m a Michele Tafoya fan but Cris Collinsworth makes me want to poke a hole in my eardrums! LOL!
    I’d love to see the change in uniform technology over the years. Actually,I know I’d enjoy the whole experience.

  19. Mary

    I read your article right to the end. I love to see people’s enthusiasm shining through.
    I am married to an Englishman whose passion for his Football team is second to none. He collects football paraphernalia which is displayed for all to see and enjoy. Living here in NZ he doesn’t have many people to ‘talk’ football with except for a few fellow Englishmen who live here as well.
    I can imagine your complete joy at being able to see and touch the different displays in the Hall of Fame. I know nothing about American Football but even I would have been thrilled to make the tour.
    My bucket list – visit my daughter who lives in South Dakota and travel more in Europe. :))

  20. I’m not the football fan you are, but for some vague, weird reason I seem to think I’ve been here before. I’m sure you appreciated it far more than I and knew much more about it. (For me it had to be at least 30 years ago when visiting a friend who lived in Canton.) Isn’t it fun to do a bucket list thing? i’m so glad you had the opportunity!

  21. Connie Wolfe

    What a great post on the HofF! I did the same as you: read each sign and used each interactive display. My favorite was the one that simulated being an official. So, that was one item off of our bucket list. My husband and I are researching and planning a trip for the western US National Parks to start in 2023 which is still on our bucket list.
    Connie

  22. Rita C.

    Actually, I found this post really great, top to bottom! The rings are so gaudy now, but that Tampa ring, I have to say, is pretty cool. Like a poison ring with the flip top. It’s fascinating to see how the sport has evolved, the uniforms, the protocols. One thing for sure is the game is brutal.

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