Going For The Goal At Football Halls Of Fame
Hut, Hut, Hike! Get All The Football You Want At The College Football Hall Of Fame And The Football Hall Of Fame
by Super G
I am doing my touchdown dance. You know why? Because football season is BACK! Booyah!
We are into the first few weeks of the season, but to get geared up I headed to the College Football Hall of Fame and Chick-fil-A Fan Experience (250 Marietta Street; 404-880-4800; ; CFBHall.com) in Atlanta, Georgia and the Pro Football Hall of Fame (2121 George Halas Drive, Northwest; 330-456-8207 or 844-446-3849; ProFootballHoF.com) in Canton, Ohio.
I know, I normally wouldn’t be caught dead in a museum, but this is football. I made the exception and I’m sooo glad that I did. Not only did I have a ton of fun, I also gained a deeper understanding about my favorite sport from college to the National Football League.
I was stoked about going to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but the College Football Hall of Fame, which opened in August 2014, really surprised me.
First, let’s talk about the history of football. Football is America’s sport, but it’s also a new sport. So new that friends who are 15 years older than me can recite the evolution of football from their lived experience from childhood up to today.
In my friend’s words, football doesn’t “have the legacy that baseball has,” as we walked through the halls past early photos of the American Football League and the NFL. Many of the photos brought back memories of the controversies, egos, and bitter rivalries between the two leagues before they merged in 1966 for my friend.
Football emerged from rugby after soccer lost favor among East Coast college sports in 1869 nearly 135 years after baseball became America’s favorite pastime. However, it still took until 1902 from 1869 for football to being to formulate into a professional sport, according to the NFL. Through the last half of the 20th century football gained fans and rose into a popular sport that could arguably rival baseball as America’s favorite pastime.
Let’s Play Some Football
It’s also taken longer for women to take the helm as owners of anyone of the 32 teams. A team is usually bestowed on them through inheritance or being widowed. Team owners, which less than a handful of which are women, are highlighted along with the teams at the hall.
I was intrigued to learn about these women, especially Carol Davis, who is co-owner of my favorite team, the Oakland Raiders.
Martha Firestone Ford is only the most recent woman to inherit a team from her deceased husband when she took over running the Detroit Lions in 2014. She became the fourth woman ever to head a team in the fiercely male dominated sport following in the footsteps of the grand dame of football ownership the late Georgia Frontiere.
Georgia became the first woman to own a pro football team, the St. Louis Rams. She inherited it from her late husband who unexpectedly drowned in 1979. Georgia ran the team for nearly three decades making several moves ultimately bringing them to her hometown St. Louis and two runs for the Super Bowl, winning the Super Bowl Trophy in 2000. In 2008, she died from breast cancer.
The other grand dame of football is Virginia Halas McCaskey who inherited my hometown team, the Chicago Bears, from her father in 1983 and is now officially the oldest owner in the NFL.
Carol also recently joined the ranks of pro football owners inheriting the Raiders in 2011. She took over the team along with her son Mark Davis after her husband Al Davis died.
However, we were at the hall to see several things, who have been inducted, the Super Bowl Rings, and the Super Bowl Trophy. I just have to be clear about that.
It was so exciting to see Peyton Manning, quarterback for the Denver Broncos, newly added case highlighting his record-breaking 509th touchdown at the hall in 2014. I saw him in action at the Broncos stadium when the Broncos pummel the 49ers the same year this exhibit was added in October.
My friend and I couldn’t stop talking about our favorite hall of famers, like dynamic duo Terry Bradshaw, who was the quarterback while Lynne Swann was the receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Troy Aikman, who was quarterback for the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys, as we paused at their photos and memorabilia.
Terry and Lynne turned popular sports analyst following retirement from playing ball. Terry is currently the Fox NFL Sunday sports analyst.
Lynne left the sports broadcaster chair turning to politics serving as the chairman of the U.S. President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, appointed by President George W. Bush. His political career ended with a failed run for governor of Pennsylvania. He returned to sports taking part ownership in the Pittsburgh Power, as part of Pittsburgh’s AFL expansion franchise.
I’m not about the bling, but I couldn’t turn away from the Super Bowl Rings. They were fancy and big! Even in the beginning when they were first handed out 1967 to the Green Bay Packers it was fancy, but since then the rings have become more elaborately designed and larger in an ostentatious way. It was mind blowing.
This all lead up to what we were really at the football hall of fame to see: the Super Bowl Trophy. This was the high point and it’s worth seeing. It’s formidable and beautiful with its sleek design that simply states football’s prominence as a sport.
It was a fun afternoon reminiscing about the teams I cheer for on Sundays with my friends, but I also felt closer to my favorite sport and team through this experience.
While I would rather go to a game or watch my teams play with my friends the football hall of fame is a must see if you love football and well worth the hour journey from Cleveland, Ohio or a 20 minute trip from Akron if you are a football fan.
On The Bleachers
I didn’t go to college in that traditional way, so I didn’t get into college football like some of my other friends. However, I had the best time I’ve ever had in a museum at the College Football Hall of Fame, especially now that I’ve returned to college.
Upon entering the museum through the football entrance I was able to choose my college football team, the Arizona State University Sun Devils, and my team’s helmet lit up on a wall of helmets.
I was excited to put on my ASU game-face and play broadcaster for my school calling the shots being made on the field. This was all before I headed down to the simulated field to attempt a field goal. I didn’t make it, but it was incredibly exciting to be on a “field” like the 20 women who have made it to play kickers and other positions in college football. Yes, they have a section dedicated to the girls who know how to tackle.
Speaking of girls who know how to tackle, the hall of fame also hosted the 2014 Atlanta Breast Cancer Walk for women taking on the battle against breast cancer and supporting survivors. This was only one of the events that are hosted daily in the football-shaped three story modern building in Pemberton Place, just north of Centennial Olympic Park.
Getting back to football, I learned all about the history of college football, the equipment, players’ diets from the beginning to now, and so much more at this very interactive museum. It’s perfect for this kid at heart and it’s a must do experience if you are a sports fan, especially of football, when visiting Atlanta, Georgia. The College Football Hall of Fame is a part of CityPASS Atlanta booklet, so you can enjoy the hall of fame along with the other museums and Georgia Aquarium in the circle.
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