The Pro Football Hall of Fame Part 2
The latest addition to the Hall of Fame is Gameday Stadium, a theatre that rotates between two screens. The first screen shows an NFL Films production on training camp and the second shows an NFL Films production on the chase for the title.

Buccaneer Related Clips: There are none from training camp which is from the 1998 season. But the chase for the cup shows highlights of the 1998 Tampa Bay-Detroit game at Raymond James Stadium (a 28-25 loss) with a Michael Husted kick-off, a Mike Alstott touchdown and a Trent Dilfer interception.

The tour then concludes with the Interactive Exhibit Gallery that has John Madden video games, NFL trivia and a football toss game. The gallery is geared toward little kids, although I couldnít resist taking a turn in the toss game. In fact, my friend Mark and I were almost thrown out of the Hall five years ago when the day before my wedding we kind of went overboard attempting to pass rush each other.

Buccaneer Related Items in the Interactive Exhibit Gallery: There is a wall-sized montage of the history of Monday Night Football. In the montage are James Wilderís jersey, James Wilderís helmet and Ricky Bellís jersey.

The last part of our tour was to walk across the street to Fawcett Stadium. Fawcett Stadium was built in 1924 and has hosted the annual Hall of Fame Game for over 40 years. It is the home of the Canton High School Bulldogs and hosts the annual Ohio State High School Football Championship as well. The Buccaneers have played in this stadium twice, losing to Seattle 38-0 in 1984 and defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers 30-6 in 1998.

Denis has made available a superb range of pictures from his trip to Canton, Ohio.

Click here for the link to the gallery
There is also an archive in the basement of the Hall. That is where I have done a good deal of research for Bucpower.com and my book. You must schedule an appointment in advance as it is not part of the general tour.

An overall Impression - I do enjoy sports history, so I had a good time at the Hall. There are so many artifacts on display that it would be easy for me to spend 12-14 hours a day there for weeks. The layout is also very friendly and the staff does go out of its way to explain items and answer questions.

My only problems are the inconsistent curatorial efforts and the Gameday film. There should be more of an emphasis of placing artifacts from all Hall of Famers for each team they played for. I know that Steve Young may not be all that proud of his time in orange, but he did spend two years there. There should be some memento to go in the Tampa Bay section to go along with his placement in the 49er section.

And it isnít just Tampa Bay. Franco Harris played one season for the Seahawks, but that isnít mentioned in the memento room. Joe Namath played one season for the Los Angeles Rams, where is that memento? I just feel that to be historically accurate those mementos should be shown.

Also, there should be more of an effort to place artifacts regarding NFL records in some semblance of order. Right now you walk into a room and there is LaDanian Tomlinsonís jersey he wore when setting the touchdown record in the Pro Football Today room. Why isnít it in the same room with the jersey Peyton Manning wore when breaking Dan Marinoís touchdown record (since broken)? Canít all of these be placed in one room? There is extra space.

The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY does a better job with mementos, but the Pro Football Hall of Fame Gallery is much better than baseballís. The busts and interactive video kiosks allow you to not only learn about the players, but to actually see them in action in their prime. The Baseball Hall only has the stoic plaques that are somewhat hard to read.

The Gameday Theatre presentation was very nice, but it has been a decade since the film on training camp and a good deal of those players and coaches are gone. They show Bill Parcells with the Jets, Trent Dilfer with the Buccaneers and Ryan Leaf with the Chargers. Címon NFL Films, send in a new tape already!

The Pro Football Hall of Fame is a must-see for football fans. Visitors of BUCPOWER.COM should definitely find a way to make a trip. There will be occasion as Derrick Brooks, John Lynch and Warren Sapp are probably going to be voted in one day (the rule is that players must be out of the game for a minimum of five years).

Tony Dungy will most likely be inducted as a coach (no waiting period for coaches) and the team will probably play in Canton in the near future as it has been a decade since their last appearance (the Colts and Redskins meet this August). If you do come, it will be worth the trip. Canton may not be Tampa, but to a football fan it is better than Disney World.

Denis Crawford, February 2008