|Location||2121 George Halas Dr NW, Canton, Ohio|
|Type||Professional sports hall of fame|
|President||C. David Baker|
|Part of the American football series on|
|History of American football|
|Origins of American football|
The Pro Football Hall of Fame is the hall of fame for professional American football, located in Canton, Ohio. Opened in 1963, the Hall of Fame enshrines exceptional figures in the sport of professional football, including players, coaches, franchise owners, and front-office personnel, almost all of whom made their primary contributions to the game in the National Football League (NFL); the Hall inducts between four and eight new enshrinees each year. The Hall of Fame's Mission is to "Honor the Heroes of the Game, Preserve its History, Promote its Values & Celebrate Excellence EVERYWHERE."
In the United States and Canada, the term professional football includes the professional forms of American and Canadian gridiron football. In common usage, it refers to former and existing major football leagues in either country. Currently, there are multiple professional football leagues in North America: the three best known are the National Football League (NFL) and the Arena Football League (AFL) in the U.S. and the Canadian Football League (CFL) in Canada. The NFL has existed continuously since being so named in 1922.
American football, referred to as football in the United States and Canada and also known as gridiron, is a team sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular field with goalposts at each end. The offense, which is the team with possession of the oval-shaped football, attempts to advance down the field by running with or passing the ball, while the defense, which is the team without possession of the ball, aims to stop the offense's advance and to take control of the ball for themselves. The offense must advance at least ten yards in four downs, or plays; if they fail, they turn over the football to the defense, but if they succeed, they are given a new set of four downs to continue the drive. Points are primarily scored by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone for a touchdown or kicking the ball through the opponent's goalposts for a field goal. The team with the most points at the end of a game wins.
Canton is a city in and the county seat of Stark County, Ohio, United States. It is located approximately 60 miles (97 km) south of Cleveland and 20 miles (32 km) south of Akron in Northeast Ohio. The city lies on the edge of Ohio's extensive Amish country, particularly in Holmes and Wayne counties to the city's west and southwest. Canton is the largest municipality in the Canton-Massillon, OH Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Stark and Carroll counties. As of the 2010 Census, the population was 73,007, making Canton eighth among Ohio cities in population.
The Hall of Fame class of 2019 (Tony Gonzalez, Ed Reed, Champ Bailey, Ty Law, Kevin Mawae, Pat Bowlen, Gil Brandt, and Johnny Robinson) were selected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame by a 48-member selection committee and announced on February 2, 2019.Including the 2019 class, there are now a total of 326 members of the Hall of Fame.
Anthony David Gonzalez is a former American football tight end. He played college football and college basketball at University of California, Berkeley, and was recognized as a consensus All-American in football. He was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the first round of the 1997 NFL Draft, where he played for 12 seasons, until being traded to the Atlanta Falcons, where he played for 5 seasons. Gonzalez, a 14-time Pro Bowl selection, holds the NFL record for total receiving yards (15,127) by a tight end. He also is second all-time in receptions with 1,325, trailing only wide receiver Jerry Rice. Gonzalez was known for his durability and rarely fumbling. During his career, he only missed two games and lost only two fumbles on 1,327 touches. He is currently an analyst on Fox NFL's pregame show. Gonzalez was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August 2019, his first year of eligibility.
Edward Earl Reed Jr. is a former American football safety who spent the majority of his career with the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the University of Miami, where he was a two-time consensus All-American. He was drafted by the Ravens in the first round of the 2002 NFL Draft and played eleven seasons for Baltimore before playing with the Houston Texans and New York Jets in 2013.
Roland "Champ" Bailey Jr. is a former American football cornerback in the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for Georgia, where he earned consensus All-American honors, and was drafted by the Washington Redskins in the first round of the 1999 NFL Draft. He is the brother of former NFL linebacker Boss Bailey.
The community of Canton, Ohio successfully lobbied the NFL to have the Hall of Fame built in their city for two reasons: first, the NFL was founded in Canton in 1920 19,000 square feet (1,800 m2) of interior space.(at that time it was known as the American Professional Football Association); second, the now-defunct Canton Bulldogs were a successful NFL team based in Canton during the first few years of the league. Groundbreaking for the building was held on August 11, 1962. The original building contained just two rooms, and
The Canton Bulldogs were a professional American football team, based in Canton, Ohio. They played in the Ohio League from 1903 to 1906 and 1911 to 1919, and the American Professional Football Association, from 1920 to 1923 and again from 1925 to 1926. The Bulldogs would go on to win the 1916, 1917 and 1919 Ohio League championships. They were the NFL champions in 1922 and 1923. In 1921–1923, the Bulldogs played 25 straight games without a defeat, which as of 2018 remains an NFL record. As a result of the Bulldogs' early success along with the league being founded in the city, the Pro Football Hall of Fame is located in Canton. Jim Thorpe, the Olympian and renowned all-around athlete, was Canton's most-recognized player in the pre-NFL era.
In April 1970, ground was broken for the first of many expansions. This first expansion cost $620,000, and was completed in May 1971. The size was increased to 34,000 square feet (3,200 m2) by adding another room. The pro shop opened with this expansion. This was also an important milestone for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, as yearly attendance passed the 200,000 mark for the first time. This was at least in some part due to the increase in popularity of professional football caused by the advent of the American Football League and its success in the final two AFL-NFL World Championship games.
The American Football League (AFL) was a major professional American football league that operated for ten seasons from 1960 until 1969, when it merged with the older National Football League (NFL), and became the American Football Conference. The upstart AFL operated in direct competition with the more established NFL throughout its existence. It was more successful than earlier rivals to the NFL with the same name, the 1926, 1936 and 1940 leagues, and the later All-America Football Conference.
Below is a list of professional football championship games in the United States, involving:
In November 1977, work began on another expansion project, costing US$1,200,000. It was completed in November 1978, enlarging the gift shop and research library, while doubling the size of the theater. The total size of the hall was now 50,500 square feet (4,690 m2), more than 2.5 times the original size.
The building remained largely unchanged until July 1993. The Hall then announced yet another expansion, costing US$9,200,000, and adding a fifth room. This expansion was completed in October 1995. The building's size was increased to 82,307 square feet (7,647 m2). The most notable addition was the GameDay Stadium, which shows an NFL Films production on a 20-foot (6.1 m) by 42-foot (13 m) Cinemascope screen.
NFL Films is a company devoted to producing commercials, television programs, feature films, and documentaries for and about the National Football League (NFL), as well as other unrelated major events and awards shows. Founded as Blair Motion Pictures by Ed Sabol in 1962, and run by his son Steve Sabol until his death, it is currently owned by the NFL and produces most of its filmed and videotaped content except its live game coverage, which is handled separately by the individual networks. NFL Films is based in Mount Laurel, New Jersey.
In 2013, the Hall of Fame completed its largest expansion and renovation to date. Currently, the Hall of Fame consists of 118,000 square feet.
Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village, an estimated $900 million expansion project adjacent to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, has completed Phase I of construction; preparations for beginning Phase II are currently underway.
Through 2018, all players in the hall except one, played some part of their professional career in the NFL (the lone exception is Buffalo Bills guard Billy Shaw, who played his entire career in the American Football League (AFL) prior to the 1970 AFL–NFL merger). Though several Hall of Famers have had AFL, Canadian Football League, World Football League, United States Football League, Arena Football League and/or Indoor Football League experience, and there is a division of the Hall devoted to alternative leagues such as this, to this point no players have made the Hall without having made significant contributions to either the NFL, AFL or All-America Football Conference. For CFL stars, there is a parallel Canadian Football Hall of Fame; only one player (Warren Moon) and one coach (Bud Grant) are in both halls.
The Chicago Bears have the most Hall of Famers among the league's franchises with either 34 or 28 enshrinees depending on whether players that only played a small portion of their careers with the team are counted.
Enshrinees are selected by a 48-person committee, largely made up of media members, officially known as the Selection Committee.
Each city that has a current NFL team sends one representative from the local media to the committee. A city with more than one franchise sends a representative for each franchise.
There are also 15 at-large delegates including one representative from the Pro Football Writers Association. Except for the PFWA representative, who is appointed to a two-year term, all other appointments are open-ended and terminated only by death, incapacitation, retirement, or resignation.
To be eligible for the nominating process, a player or coach must have been retired for at least five years. Any other contributor such as a team owner or executive can be voted in at any time.
Fans may nominate any player, coach or contributor by simply writing to the Pro Football Hall of Fame via letter or email. The Selection Committee is then polled three times by mail to eventually narrow the list to 25 semifinalists: once in March, once in September, and once in October. In November, the committee then selects 15 finalists by mail balloting. A Seniors and Contributors Committee, subcommittees of the overall Selection Committee, nominate Seniors (those players who completed their careers more than 25 years ago) and Contributors (individuals who made contributions to the game in areas other than playing or coaching). The Seniors Committee and Contributors Committee add two or one finalist(s) on alternating years which makes a final ballot of 18 finalists under consideration by the full committee each year.Committee members are instructed to only consider a candidate's professional football contributions and to disregard all other factors.
The Selection Committee then meets on "Selection Saturday," the day before each Super Bowl game to elect a new class. To be elected, a finalist must receive at least 80 percent support from the Board, with at least four, but no more than eight, candidates being elected annually.
The enshrinement ceremony is usually held during the first full weekend in August. An enshrinement celebration is held throughout the week in Canton surrounding the enshrinement ceremony.All members of the Hall of Fame are invited to attend the annual ceremony.
Enshrinees do not go into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a member of a certain team. Rather, all of an enshrinee's affiliations are listed equally.While the Baseball Hall of Fame plaques generally depict each of their inductees wearing a particular club's cap (with a few exceptions, such as Catfish Hunter and Greg Maddux), the bust sculptures of each Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee make no reference to any specific team. In addition to the bust that goes on permanent display at the Hall of Fame, inductees receive a distinctive Gold Jacket and previous inductees nearly always wear theirs when participating at new inductee ceremonies.
Previous induction ceremonies were held during the next day (Sunday from 1999–2005, Saturday in 2006), situated on the steps of the Hall of Fame building. Starting in 2002, the ceremony was moved to Fawcett Stadium (now Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium), where it was held from 1963 to 1965. Since 2007, the enshrinement ceremony has been held on the Saturday night, since 2017 two days after the Hall of Fame Game.
The Hall of Fame Game, the annual NFL preseason opener, is played in Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium at Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village in Canton, Ohio. In 2017, the Hall of Fame Game was held for the first time on Thursday night. The preseason classic kicks off Enshrinement Week Powered by Johnson Controls and officially kicks off the NFL preseason.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame uses only media representatives to select inductees. This, along with its policy of inducting only a maximum of seven players a year (six in certain years past), with a current maximum of two "senior" candidates and five "non-seniors," has been criticized by sports columnists, former players, and football fans.Such critics would like to see solutions such as expanding the number of selectors, rotating panel members on and off the selection committee, and allowing former players to participate in the voting. The small number of candidates elected each year has helped foster what some perceive as an inequality of representation at certain positions or in certain categories of player, with defensive players in general and defensive backs and outside linebackers in particular, special teams players, wide receivers, deserving players who primarily played on bad teams, and those from the "seniors" category, being slighted. This has included a 2009 The New York Times article which criticized the Hall for not including punter Ray Guy on its ballot, also noting that the Hall did not have an inductee at the time representing the position. (At least two inductees, Sammy Baugh and Yale Lary, punted in addition to playing other positions.) Guy was eventually inducted as part of the 2014 class for the Hall of Fame. There has also been criticism that certain players get overlooked because their team underproduced during their careers.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame is unique among North American major league sports halls of fame in that officials have generally been excluded from the Hall. Only one official, 1966 inductee Hugh "Shorty" Ray, has been enshrined. The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and Hockey Hall of Fame have each inducted game officials as members. In part to rectify the lack of officials and other off-field contributors, the Hall of Fame added a “Contributors” committee beginning with the class of 2015, which will nominate officials, general managers, owners and other positions that have historically been overlooked by the committee at large.
Another prominent absence from the Hall is sports-journalist Howard Cosell, who has yet to be awarded the Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award despite his well-known association with Monday Night Football . An August 2010 Sports Illustrated article hints that Cosell may have even been "blacklisted" by the NFL.
As the late 2010s approached, a number of controversial and polarizing figures began to reach eligibility for the Hall. Terrell Owens's exclusion from the Hall in his first two years of eligibility despite his strong individual statistics was a subject of public debate.Owens was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2018, but refused to attend the enshrinement ceremony.
The Miami Dolphins are a professional American football team based in the Miami metropolitan area. The Dolphins compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league's American Football Conference (AFC) East division. The Dolphins home games are at Hard Rock Stadium in the northern suburb of Miami Gardens, Florida, and are headquartered in Davie, Florida. The Dolphins are the oldest professional sports team in Florida. Of the four AFC East teams, they are the only team in the division that was not a charter member of the American Football League (AFL).
Alvin Ray "Pete" Rozelle was an American businessman and executive. Rozelle served as the commissioner of the National Football League (NFL) for nearly thirty years, from January 1960 until his retirement in November 1989. He is credited with making the NFL into one of the most successful sports leagues in the world.
Johnny Nolan Robinson is a former American football safety. He played college football at Louisiana State University (LSU).
Joseph "Dandy" Don Meredith was an American football quarterback, sports commentator and actor. He spent all nine seasons of his professional playing career (1960–1968) with the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League (NFL). He was named to the Pro Bowl in each of his last three years as a player. He subsequently became a color analyst for NFL telecasts from 1970–1984. As an original member of the Monday Night Football broadcast team on the American Broadcasting Company (ABC), he famously played the role of Howard Cosell's comic foil. Meredith was also an actor who appeared in a dozen films and in seven major television shows, some of which had him as the main starring actor. He is probably familiar to television audiences as Bert Jameson, a recurring role he had in Police Story.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame Game is an annual National Football League (NFL) exhibition game that is held the weekend of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's induction ceremonies. The game is played at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, which is part of Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village and is located adjacent to the Hall of Fame building in Canton, Ohio.
The 1920 APFA season was the inaugural season of the American Professional Football Association, renamed the National Football League in 1922. The league was formed on August 20, 1920, by independent professional American football teams from Ohio, all of whom had previously played in the Ohio League or New York Pro Football League (NYPFL). At the meeting, they first called their new league the American Professional Football Conference. A second organizational meeting was held in Canton on September 17, adding more teams to the league, and at the meeting, the name of the league became the American Professional Football Association. Four other teams also joined the Association during the year. Meanwhile, Jim Thorpe of the Canton Bulldogs was named the APFA's first president but continued to play for the team.
The Australian Football Hall of Fame was established in 1996, the Centenary year of the Australian Football League, to help recognise the contributions made to the sport of Australian rules football by players, umpires, media personalities, coaches and administrators. It was initially established with 136 inductees. As of 2014, this figure has grown to 257, including 27 "Legends".
William Ernest Hewitt was a professional American football player who played as an end and fullback in the National Football League (NFL). He played five seasons for the Chicago Bears (1932–1936), three for the Philadelphia Eagles (1937–1939), and one for the Phil-Pitt Steagles (1943). He is remembered for his refusal to wear a helmet as one of the last NFL players not to wear one.
The 1961 National Football League draft took place at the Warwick Hotel in Philadelphia on December 27–28, 1960. The league would later hold an expansion draft for the Minnesota Vikings expansion franchise, and the Vikings were also awarded the first selection position in this draft. This draft was also the first regular draft for the Dallas Cowboys as they had only participated in the 1960 NFL expansion draft that year. The Cowboys held the worst record in the NFL the previous season, but selected second in this draft because of the entry of the Vikings into the league.
The 1966 National Football League draft was held at the Summit Hotel in New York City on Saturday, November 27, 1965.
The 1967 National Football League draft was conducted March 14–15, 1967, at the Gotham Hotel in New York City. It was the first common draft with the AFL, part of the AFL–NFL merger agreement of June 1966.
Curley Culp is a former professional American football player. An offensive and defensive lineman, he played college football at Arizona State University, was the NCAA heavyweight wrestling champion while at ASU, and played professionally in the American Football League for the Kansas City Chiefs in 1968 and 1969, and for the National Football League Chiefs, Houston Oilers, and the Detroit Lions. He was an AFL All-Star in 1969 and a six-time AFC–NFC Pro Bowler.
The 1972 National Football League draft was held February 1–2, 1972, at the Essex House in New York City, New York.
The 1966 NFL expansion draft was a National Football League (NFL) draft in which a new expansion team, named the Atlanta Falcons, selected its first players. On June 30, 1965, NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle awarded the first NFL franchise in the Deep South to the city of Atlanta and granted ownership to Rankin Smith Sr.
The 1961 NFL expansion draft was a National Football League (NFL) draft in which a new expansion team, named the Minnesota Vikings, selected its first players. That selection was provided by the expansion draft, held on January 26, 1961.
The Commissioner of the NFL is the chief executive of the National Football League (NFL). This article details the previous history of the chief NFL executive.
The Arena Football Hall of Fame is the official Hall of Fame of the Arena Football League (AFL). The inaugural class was announced in 1998 and the Hall was not formally organized until 2011. Prior to 2011, there were four classes: 1998–2000 and then another in 2002. The Arena Football Hall of Fame is the highest honor for players, coaches, and contributors involved in the AFL. The voting process consists of fans and current Hall of Fame members voting on the finalists. The finalists are selected by the League Office in which they collect ballots from the Arena Football Hall of Fame Advisory Board, a group which consisted of former players, executives, journalists and media personnel with a long-time involvement in the league.