Good morning everyone, and I hope your Monday is going well. I just spent the weekend in lovely Canton, OH, to see my nephew play in the Ohio Middle School All Star game, which was pretty neat. His game was in Tom Benson Stadium, and of course, prior to the game I was able to check out the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
For many, going there is a bucket list item, as it was for me. And I thought I’d share some info if you’re planning on making the trip.
The HOF is this beautifully ugly building, with a new museum attached to the original building. When you walk in, your first display you get is a hall of football cards. Thousands of them, from the rarest card to the newest players. I was able to find a ton of Vikings players in that display, but I was also able to walk through and say ‘hey, I used to have that card’ about 500 times, give or take.
And then I kicked myself in the butt for not taking care of those cards and saving them. I’d be rich.
From there, you walk into the main gallery on the first floor. It’s a circular display, and in the center is this massive statue of Jim Thorpe. It walks you through the history of the league, and each era is roughly broken down by the span of office for past commissioners. There’s some really cool displays there, like a helmet Y.A. Tittle broke when he threw it on the ground in frustration, for example. In the Rozelle era of the 1970’s, there’s a nice blurb about the Vikings, and a picture of the Purple People Eaters line.
If you’re a football and a history geek like I am, the first floor will take awhile. Yes, yes, I am that guy that likes to read every word under every picture or display if it’s a topic that interests me. Like this, for example:
Anyway, once you finish on the main floor, you head upstairs to the Bust Gallery, Hall of Fame records and memorabilia, lost teams of the NFL, what the game is today, the Locker Room Experience, and the Super Bowl Gallery.
Word of warning: as you come up the stairs, there’s a blurb on the wall about the Herschel Walker trade. It’s centered, up top, and it’s impossible to not be the first thing you read as you come up the stairs.
WAY TO RUIN THE SECOND FLOOR GOODELL!!*
*He didn’t ruin the second floor.
Anyhow, upstairs was the three highlight of the museum, at least for me. One was a display about the old Ernie Nevers Duluth Eskimos, one of the first NFL franchises. When Nevers signed, they went on a barnstorming tour and played 28 of 29 games on the road to try and stay afloat financially. On the flip side, if you were an Eskimos season ticket holder, I’m thinking you got a good deal in pricing, if nothing else.
There’s also a display of NFL records that Hall of Fame members have, and one of them, the all time interception record, is held by Paul Krause. His 81 interceptions is as close to an unbreakable record there is in the NFL, and they have the jersey he was wearing when he broke the record on display.
Once you get back into the main hallway there’s also the Locker Room Experience, which is about a 15 minute video in a theater that’s set up like...wait for it...a locker room. Holograph Joe Namath is your host, and it’s basically a motivational deal to get you fired up about your life, make the most of what you have, blah blah blah. Two Vikings connections in here: Holograph Joe introduces 3-4 Hall of Fame players, and they discuss some of the obstacles they had to overcome to get where they are. The first video snippet is from The Greatest Viking Of All Time Alan Page, who talked about the importance of education.
Fun fact: In high school, Page had a job with the construction company that literally built the Hall of Fame. He honest to goodness helped build the Hall, and is now enshrined in it. Amazing.
If you think ‘eh I’ve seen these hokey movies before and it’s not for me’, don’t skip it. Go. Because yeah, some of it is hokey, but there are actual full locker displays in the theater. One of them is John Randle’s, and it’s freaking awesome:
You walk out of the theater next to the Super Bowl gallery, and that is a place of broken dreams, misery, and 65 Toss Power Trap, which I heard three damn times while sprinting towards the exit. Terrible. Far and away the worst part. Until, you know, the Vikings win it all.
From there, I went into the room that has all the busts. It was simply stunning. Just...go see it for yourself, because I’m not going to try and do it justice. Yes, yes I did take a picture of every Vikings player in the Hall of Fame.
When you come back down the stairs, you’ll see full locker set ups of the people that are going to be inducted into the class of 2019, and then the gift shop.
Anyway, it takes about two hours to get through the Hall, and I had sort of allotted a lot more time. But, there’s some cool things to see and do in Canton, and a weekend is the perfect amount of time to check out everything you want to see.