The Pro Football Hall of Fame has been awarded a $70,000 grant through the Ohio Bicentennial Commission’s Legacy Grant program. The funds were made available to assist the Hall in the development and production of an exhibit, tentatively titled, The NFL’s Pioneers
to open in conjunction with the celebration of the Ohio Bicentennial in 2003.
The NFL’s Pioneers will recognize and celebrate the important and rich pro football heritage that is a part of Ohio’s social, cultural, and economic fabric. On September 17, 1920, representatives of 11 pro football teams gathered in the tiny Hupmobile automobile showroom of Canton, Ohio businessman Ralph Hay and founded the National Football League. Included among the charter members of the NFL were four teams from Ohio, the Canton Bulldogs, Akron Pros, Dayton Triangles, and the Cleveland Tigers. A fifth Ohio team, the Columbus Panhandles, joined the league in time to participate in the pro league’s inaugural season.
The NFL’s Pioneer exhibit will commemorate this historic event while recognizing the participation of several Ohio communities and the individual pro football pioneers that represented them. The Ohio Bicentennial Commissions funding will assist in all phases of the research, design, development and installation of the exhibit.