Monday, July 20, 2009

Chris Attends the Pro Football Hall of Fame

A few weeks ago, on my trip from Philadelphia to New Orleans, I stopped in Canton, Ohio to take in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It was the wrong time to go because an entire wing was closed for construction, to the point that the Hall gave me a voucher to come back another day. The improvements are needed, however, because I found the whole museum outdated and poorly arranged. You'll see what I mean as I show you the photographic (and video) evidence.

The first floor is dedicated to the early history of the game, so there's a lot of boring no homo stuff like this. I'm not saying that I don't care about Yale's 7-0 victory over Princeton in 1923, but...well, I guess I don't. The gist of the first floor is: Yale, Red Grange, George Halas, Jim Thorpe, Lombardi, AFL-NFL merger. I just saved you twenty bucks.

Here I am learning about Tom Dempsey's record 63-yard field goal, with the use of the Hall's state-of-the-art facilities.

The best part about the museum is that you get to run into real-life celebrities.


We'll have more fun with nicknames further down.

Once you're out of that early history section, there's this afterthought of a room that was installed once they realized, "We don't have anything for fans of Team X Founded after 1975." The Saints one was already out of date though. I don't expect them to have the all-time win-loss record correct all the time, but it's kind of a big deal that we won the division three years ago. We're not the Patriots or anything, but it would be nice to list that next to the other stuff.

Lest we forget the contributions of Alfonso "Chino" Portillo. Yeah, his nickname was "Chinese."

Now we're getting to the Hall of Fame itself, with the busts of all the inductees. Naturally, this room is the most impressive in the building. The busts line the walls, and in the middle of the room there are banks of monitors, where you can watch video highlights of each of the players. The only problem is that the room itself is dark while the busts are individually lit, which makes photography difficult.

LT. Unfortunately, this is not realistic because there wasn't a huge lightning bolt/cross/LT earring dangling down. On the plus side, I did get to show Wifey some video highlights. She looked suitably impressed/intimidated by his ferocity.

Wifey took pictures of every funny nickname, so there are about thirty of them that I'm not posting.

Real Art Shell or statue? I was there, and I couldn't tell.

Jim Brown, Best Player Ever 1a. The lighting presented problems. This was actually the best one we took.

Otto Graham, Best Player Ever 1b.

It's funny because he murdered two people.

These guys were watching highlights on those aforementioned monitors. After every play, they would exclaim, "Peace!" It was simultaneously endearing and annoying. They reminded me of myself.

The top floor highlights the contemporary game with things like Jamal Lewis jerseys or Peyton Manning shoes. It's supposed to compliment and reinforce what was downstairs, but the two aren't compatible at all. For instance, downstairs they haven't bothered to change most of the passing records from Marino to Favre. Again, it seems inconsistent and cheap for a national museum. Mixed in with that are actually interesting artifacts though, like this draft card that secured Reggie Bush.

This is my stab at being part of the national media. I'm grateful for the modesty provided by the shadow. I'm waiting for a Brett Favre floor.

The museum touches on other aspects of pro football. There are little features on Arena Football, World League, and games played internationally. This was so good that it had to be my first uploaded YouTube video.

Shattered windows in front of each broken rushing record from Brown to Payton to Smith. This was legitimately cool.

Best Player Ever 3.

Jim Kelly was a recent inductee, so there were entire lockers of his memorabilia, and he got mentioned in almost every feature. It was weird that there was barely anything on, say, Joe Montana, but Jim Kelly was everywhere you turned. Cool shoes though.

Look how interactive Canton is. You can throw a ball into a hole, man. This is next level.

The trivia was ridiculous. It asked me what Deacon Jones' birthday was at one point. About ten years out of date as well.

All in all, a disappointing trip. But I checked it off my list.

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