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Pete Fierle, Manager - Digital Media/Communications
Pete's familiarity with the game's history is a result of spending two decades surrounded by the world's largest collection of pro football information. His many duties include overseeing the Hall's website as well as the day-to-day operation of the Ralph Wilson, Jr. Pro Football Research and Preservation Center.
I woke up early this morning like every day. My first course of action is to gently wake up my high school freshman daughter and my sixth grade son for school. Normally, I give them a gentle nudge before following up with a more rigorous call to start the day a few minutes later.
Today, my household woke up to loud yell of “Happy Kickoff Day!!!” Fortunately my wife is used to my overzealous early rising personality.
What a great day it is today. It seems like years since the Steelers hoisted the Vince Lombardi Trophy in Tampa. Kickoff Weekend is just so great for us football fans. Tonight, millions will be glued to our televisions to watch the Steelers and Titans kick off the 2009 season. All the preseason banter and predictions go to the wayside and we’re into the real deal.
I just love the Thursday night kickoff. As someone who works in the industry, it’s rejuvenating to look forward to the possibilities of another exciting season that all starts tonight in Pittsburgh. So many new stories and twists unfold every year in the NFL. Kickoff Weekend reminds us of that.
Think back to last season’s opening weekend. Michael Turner made his debut with the Atlanta Falcons and rushed for a team-record 220 yards. That was the second highest rushing total in an opener ever. Rookie QB Matt Ryan connected on a 62-yard touchdown throw on his very first NFL pass. The Eagles were flying as Donovan McNabb threw for 361 yards against the Rams. The Philly attack featured the rare occasion of having three 100-yard receivers in the same game (DeSean Jackson, Greg Lewis, and Hank Baskett). Kickoff Weekend also gave us a glimpse of what Drew Brees’ season was going to be. He racked up 343 yards through the air against the Bucs that began a season in which he threatened Dan Marino’s single-season passing mark. He narrowly missed that but did become just the second QB to pass for 5,000 yards in a season. But, last season’s history and we’re now ready for ’09.
Whether it’s a story on Profootballhof.com or a piece of memorabilia from record-breaking moment that gets added to our collection, we’re ready and waiting in Canton to help preserve and interpret the NFL’s story.
Enjoy tonight’s game. And, enjoy the 2009 NFL Season!