NFL/Hall of Fame Game
Unlike other NFL games, the NFL/Hall of Fame Game is played in a historic high school stadium. If you’ve never experienced seeing an NFL game up this close, you won’t want to miss out on getting your tickets for this year’s game. Watching an NFL game from the comfy confines of Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, a 22,000-seat venue, is a must on any real football fan’s “bucket list.” There’s not a bad seat in the house!
Hall of Fame Game Tradition
The game series began in 1962, one year before the museum opened. A NFL preseason game has been played in Canton each year but twice since that inaugural game. No game was played in 1966 as the preseason schedule was not set in time to include Canton for a neutral site game.
Beginning in 1971, following the AFL-NFL merger, an AFC vs. NFC format was adopted for the Hall of Fame series. Preset schedules were created that called for each team to make a visit to Canton over 14- and 15-year periods through 1994. In 1995, the NFL selected the Hall of Fame Game to showcase the debut of the league’s newest expansion teams – the Carolina Panthers and Jacksonville Jaguars. Since that time, the NFL designates the teams for the Hall of Fame Game on a season-by-season basis. The game normally includes teams with significant milestones (such as the return of the Cleveland Browns in 1999 and the Houston Texans inaugural game in 2002) or a connection to the Hall’s most recent class.
In 2006, the Hall of Fame Game returned to Sunday. The Hall of Fame games were played on Sunday afternoons from 1963 to 1965. The inaugural game and those played from 1967 through 1997 were played on Saturday afternoons. Then, in 1998, the Hall of Fame game was switched to primetime with kickoff moved to Saturday evening. One year later, the game moved to Monday night. The Hall of Fame Game was televised nationally by ABC from 1971-2005. The game was broadcast by NBC in 2006. NFL Network broadcast the Hall of Fame in 2007. In 2008, the preseason game from Canton returned to NBC. The 2012 game was broadcasted by NFL Network.