On our adventure day to Canton last week, Mom, Dad, Tom and I went to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Tom and I were there a few years ago with John and Jackie, but it had been 40 years since Dad was there, and Mom had never been. I was glad to go again because I could go a lot and never feel like I had seen everything.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame is not a National Park – sometimes it seems like those are the only things we visit! So it is expensive to get in. It is $10 for parking and $24 per adult admission. But the Hall of Fame is worth the money. They do an excellent job laying out the history of football as well as the history of each of the professional teams. There is also a Super Bowl Hall with the teams and artifacts from each Super Bowl. We spent some time looking at the championship rings from each game.
Some people ask why the Pro Football Hall of Fame is in Canton. Professional football started in Canton. Canton had one of the first professional teams – the Canton Bulldogs – and the meeting where the league was formed was held in Canton. What is now the National Football League was formed in 1920 and was called the American Professional Football League. The teams that formed the league in 1920 were the Akron Pros, Canton Bulldogs, Cleveland Indians, Dayton Triangles from Ohio. Other teams in the original league were the Hammond Pros and Muncie Flyers from Indiana; the Rochester Jeffersons from New York; and the Rock Island Independents, Decatur Staleys, and Racine Cardinals from Illinois. Four other teams – the Buffalo All-Americans, Chicago Tigers, Columbus Panhandles, and Detroit Heralds – joined the league sometime during the year. The only team on that list that is still a professional team is the Decatur Staleys, who became the Chicago Staleys, who became the Chicago Bears. The second oldest team, the Green Bay Packers, joined the league in 1922.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame was built in 1962, and expanded in 1971, 1978, and 1995. New exhibits are constantly being added. Right now there is special exhibit on Football Trading Cards. There are also two movies: one called “The Road to the Superbowl” featuring the two teams that just played in the Superbowl. The other movie is a motivational movie featuring a hologram of Joe Namath. Both movies were very loud, especially since we were the only people in them.
The most impressive part of the Pro Football Hall of Fame is the Hall of Fame Gallery. The busts of each person inducted into the Hall of Fame are set in the years they were inducted. It is fun to find the busts of favorite players over time. The first year players were inducted was 1963 and three to seven players, coaches, and other people important to the game, have been inducted each year since then. I especially like the interactive computers where you can look up your favorite player, see some highlights of his career, and read more information about him.
I also really like the Hall of Fame Store which has clothing and other items from your favorite team. The only thing I don’t like about it is the lack of books. I wanted a good book on the history of football, or on the original professional teams, but the bookstore only had one book. A big book on the Hall of Fame itself. No thanks!
If you have never been to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, what are you waiting for? It is a great place to visit and you will find it interesting even if you aren’t a football fan. If you are a football fan, then plan on spending the whole day. A few hours will never be enough to satisfy!