By Barry Janoff
September 25, 2012: The Pro Football Hall of Fame is planning a plethora of events to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2013, anchored by what executives called the largest traveling exhibition in its history – "Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame."
It was also revealed that Hall of Famer Barry Sanders would serve as national ambassador for the touring exhibit and also would have person items shown as part of the display.
Gridiron Glory is a 5,000 square-foot interactive multimedia exhibit that will feature more than 200 mementoes.
The tour will debut in Pittsburgh at the Heinz History Center on October 6. The current schedule also includes the National WWII Museum in New Orleans to coincide with Super Bowl XLVII in February 2013 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, St. Louis, Detroit (Fall 2014 – Henry Ford Museum), Minneapolis/St. Paul (Fall 2016 – Minnesota History Center Museum) and New York/New Jersey to coincide with Super Bowl XLVIII in February 2014 at MetLife Stadium.
More stops in NFL markets will be announced. The exhibit will be hosted by cultural, educational and sports venues and spend between three to six months in each city.
“Gridiron Glory is designed to galvanize fans in a compelling way and provides a perfect platform for us to reach new audiences."
“We’re always looking for new and innovative ways to extend the experience of the Hall of Fame beyond our walls in Canton,” Joe Horrigan, vp-communications/exhibits for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, said in a statement. “Gridiron Glory is designed to galvanize fans in a compelling way and provides a perfect platform for us to reach new audiences."
The tour will include new material from NFL Films, immersive fan experiences and specially designed “Hometown Tribute” sections to spotlight each local team. There will also be educational programming, an on-site retail element and special appearances from Hall of Famers.
Among the hundreds of Pro Football Hall of Fame artifacts on display will be the Vince Lombardi Trophy, original Hall of Fame busts, Knute Rockne’s 1919 Massillon Tigers helmet, a game-worn jersey from Jim Brown, Jerry Rice’s career touchdown receptions record football, Drew Brees’ 5,000-yard passing record jersey and Sanders’ game-worn jersey from 1997, when he became only the third player in history to break the single-season 2,000-yard rushing mark.
According to Sanders, who starred at running back with the Detroit Lions from 1989-98 and was enshrined in 2004, “When the Hall of Fame approached me about Gridiron Glory, I knew I had to be involved. I have a great amount of respect for the history of the game and this exhibit will really open people’s eyes. I know it did mine.”