From the President

By: David Baker

David Baker, President
Dave has great respect for today’s game as well as the NFL’s rich tradition and heritage. However, he is most passionate about how the traits and characteristics needed to excel in football are the same qualities that make all individuals, communities, and America strong.

Going to Canton

Jan 14, 2014


Anyone who competes in sports understands the euphemism. It’s a reference to greatness, immortality and excellence. It’s the vision of football heaven, athletic enshrinement and a temple to professional excellence.

The “Road to Canton” is one of passionate perseverance and dogged diligence and every story is spectacular with its inspiration and hope.

But for me, my Road to Canton resulted with one of the coldest days in Canton’s history, with the thermometer reading -11 and a wind chill of -34 degrees. It was my first day as the President and Executive Director of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Being from Orange County, California, I had never before scraped a windshield covered with ice and snow or had to pry open a car door that was frozen shut. I have to confess that once inside the car as my wife and I could see our every breath in the shivering cold, we both looked at each other with a smile that then turned into a laugh and said in unison “What are we doing here?”

But after a short drive and an adventure of seemingly ice skating to the front door of the Hall of Fame, our adventure was not only validated but inspired. This is a place of GREATNESS. It is the Sistine Chapel to which only the greatest in the game who represent the most exceptional values of the game are enshrined. It’s not just the place where the game began it’s a place that God has His season seats, so that like Michelangelo’s creator, He can touch the likes of Jim Thorpe, Red Grange, Johnny Unitas, Bart Starr, Joe Namath and so many others enshrined here in whom at magic moments of intense competition God breathed greatness into their talent, perseverance into their character and courage into their leadership.

It is a place of dedicated staff and a community of committed citizens that honor the legends of the game, preserve its storied past and promote the integrity of the game’s values that have helped shape the American culture and make our country GREAT.

The game is a metaphor for the rest of life. There are lessons here that can make every child stronger, every family closer, every business better, every community care and our country great.

EVERY DAY IS A GREAT DAY IN CANTON! Not because of the weather but because of the purpose and the people.

We LOVE Canton and are PROUD to call it home!