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Trip to Canton, pt. 1.

Written by Dan Gigler on .

Have been on staycation recently and decided to take a drive to Canton, to see the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I hadn't been there in more than 20 years and remembered little of it.

Just about two hours outside of Pittsburgh its an easy drive to make, but I'd stop short of calling it an absolute must-see. Although interesting, I expected to be overwhelmed with voluminous amounts of memorabilia, artifacts, photographs, interactive exhibits and written narration from the 117-year history of pro football and 89 years of the NFL, that might take an entire day (or even two) to get through. There is a lot of cool stuff, but overall it was a bit paltry based not only on my expectations, but also the ungodly wealth, power and popularity that the NFL wields. I expected a little more.  

By comparison, for instance, the Steelers 75th Anniversary exhibit at the Heinz History Center's Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum (done in conjunction with the Hall) a few years ago was much more detailed and artifact-laden, though on a much smaller scale. My friend and I easily breezed through the HOF in 3 hours, and that was while taking a lot of time to look at everything. For Steelers fans, the $18 price of admission is justified by the 24-minute "Road to the Super Bowl (XLIII)" highlight film currently being shown in the GameDay Stadium on a massive Cinemascope screen with stadium seating.

Again, I'm not at all saying that its not worth going to at some point -- it is, and there are certainly worse ways to spend a day -- but I also wouldn't put it on the absolute-must-do-before-I-die-Bucket List either.

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The first professional player, William "Pudge" Heffelfinger was paid $500 by the Allegheny Athletic Association (in Pittsburgh) for his services in 1892.

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The AAA's balance sheet that indicates payment to Heffelfinger. 

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The oldest football in the Hall's collection.  

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My new Facebook profile pic. That's Lawson Fiscus of the AAA.  

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Canton Bulldogs jersey, circa 1920s. 

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One thing I've often wondered is that given Southwestern Pennsylvania's role as the cradle of pro football and that the first professional game, player and team were in Pittsburgh, why the Hall isn't here? Well, as you can read above, the answer is simple: Canton (also with major early pro football bona fides) lobbied hard and put up money for it.  

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The Pottsville Maroons -- rightful champions in 1925.

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See explanation above.

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Loose basis for the film Leatherheads.

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 Old shoulder pads.

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The actual "Hall" itself has a dramatic presentaion. The wall-mounted bronze busts of the enshrinees are underlit, giving it a truly hallowed aura. They are displayed in chronological order, and kiosks in the middle provide all manner of biogrpahical information as well as video highlights and retrospectives of each member. 

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The inspiration for the name "Super Bowl." Seriously. Lamar Hunt was watching his kids play with one and got the idea for the name.

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Ticket to the first Super Bowl. I happen to have met a guy who was at that one, and every one since and correctly picked the exact final score of Super Bowl XLIII.

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Will this guy join six of his pals in Pittsburgh come February? Stay tuned ...

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