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Gridiron Glory: a peek inside

Written by Dan Gigler on .

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Terry Bradshaw's uniform from Super Bowl XIV is on loan from the Smithsonian.
On Tuesday morning the Senator John Heinz History Center and Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum held a media preview of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Gridiron Glory travelling exhibit that will open on Saturday, and run into January.

Two-hundred of the Hall's choicest historical football artifacts will be on display. Some have never before been seen to the public.

Here's an article that I wrote on the topic for the print and online editions.

I was last in Canton a few years ago, and while I greatly enjoyed the history presented, I was struck by how dated the displays looked and how badly in need of updating the place was -- it almost had a campy quaintness to it. Not what we've come to expect from the uber-slick marketing of the National Football League.

In 2011 I saw a smaller travelling exhibit of Hall artifacts as part of the NFL Experience at the Dallas Convention Center in the days before Super Bowl XLV. Again, the items were interesting, but they were likewise poorly presented given their timelessness. 

To it's credit, the History Center makes a dramatic presentation of the items on loan from Canton, more appropriate given their stature in the American sporting psyche. In addition, numerous interactive and video displays are a part of the exhibit.

And for all you Saturday morning Strip District shoppers, Steelers Hall of Famers Franco Harris and Dermontti Dawson will be the guests of honor at a Gridiron Glory Kickoff Pep Rally & Tailgate party at 10 a.m. Saturday outside of the History Center.

Check out the pictures below of some of the items that will on display. You can find information about ticket prices and the hours of admission to the exhibition here.

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The 1892 ledger sheet of the Allegheny Athletic Association that officially establishes pay-for-play professional football, right here in Pittsburgh.
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An actual pigskin of the 1910 Akron Indians.
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Art Rooney's cigar and ashtray.
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This looks like the ancestor of a Tomlinism.
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This is essentially the mission statement of Steelers' defensive coordinator Bud Carson's 1970's Steel Curtain defenses.
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Swanny's game ball for this game.
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Autographed by the Super Bowl 43 champions.
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Mike Webster's shoulder pads.
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Circa 1925 shoulder pads.
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The beginning of Titletown.
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Super Bowl I game ball for Bart Starr.
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Yes, Cleveland actually won something once. Alert Harry Doyle.
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Old Lions' letterman jacket.
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Franco Harris's cleats.
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Tom Dempsey's kicking boot.
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Circa-1940's Cleveland helmet with one of the first facemasks used.
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Barcelona Dragons NFL Europe/World League of American Football helmet.

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