Honor the Heroes of the Game, Preserve Its History, Promote its Values & Celebrate Excellence Everywhere
The Luncheon was first hosted prior to Super Bowl XL in Detroit on Friday February 3, 2006. It was named after Class of 1982 Hall of Famer Merlin Olsen, who persuaded the National Football League to sanction the luncheon as an official event of Super Bowl Week. It was one of his many initiatives pushed by Merlin to help his Hall of Fame teammates and their families Proceeds of the luncheon funds the Hall of Fame’s Ensrhinees Assistance Fund. The luncheon honors an NFL Legend and a Pro Football Hall of Famer.
Since then, the Merlin Olsen Super Bowl Luncheon has grown to become THE “must attend” event outside of the Game, with 700 attendees, including over 100 Hall of Famers, NFL Legends, and the New Class Finalists. It has raised over $1.2 million for the PFHOF Enshrinee Assistance Fund.
The event has evolved into a “Golden Globes” production. It begins with an exclusive meet and greet during a one hour cocktail reception. For the luncheon, each sponsor table is hosted by a Gold Jacket. The event begins with a red carpet introduction by all the Hall of Famers, chalk talks centered around the Hall’s Mission hosted by President/CEO David Baker and the unveiling of painted portraits of that year’s honorees. It is captured with a five camera live stream available at HOF Channel.
Ford, the official automobile of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, has been the presenting sponsor since 2016. For the purchase of tables and sponsorship opportunities please contact Chief Partnership Officer & Sr. VP of Gold Jacket Relations Pat Lindesmith at 330-588-3623 or visit our Sponsorship page for more information.
2006 Super Bowl 40 in Detroit
2007 Super Bowl 41 in Miami
2008 Super Bowl 42 in Phoenix
2009 Super Bowl 43 Tampa Bay
2010 Super Bowl 44 in Miami
2011 Super Bowl 45 in Dallas
2012 Super Bowl 46 in Indianapolis
2013 Super Bowl 47 in New Orleans
2014 Super Bowl 48 in New York
2015 Super Bowl 49 in Phoenix
2016 Super Bowl 50 in San Francisco
John Madden and John Brodie
2017 Super Bowl 51 in Houston
Robert McNair and Earl Campbell
2018 Super Bowl 52 in Minneapolis
Bud Grant and Wilf Family
2019 Super Bowl 53 in Atlanta
Chris Doleman and Arthur Blank
2020 Super Bowl 54 in Miami
Don Shula, Dan Marino, and Steve Ross
Merlin Olsen Luncheon X in 2016 was held at the San Francisco Hilton Grand Ballroom in partnership with the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce honoring Hall of Famer John Madden and NFL Legend John Brodie. The event hosted over 500 for the first time, in addition to 60 Gold Jackets and 30 NFL Legends, many of whom were part of the NFL’s pregame walk on the field celebrating the first 50 years of the Super Bowl.
Also in attendance were eight NFL Owners, including 49ers owner Jed York and Dallas Cowboys owner and Hall of Fame Board member Jerry Jones. Read related article.
In 2017 the Super Bowl was hosted by Houston for the second time and NFL Legend Houston Texan owner Bob McNair and Hall of Famer Earl Campbell were honored.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame had just announced its partnership with the Black College Hall of Fame and the chalk talk round table was hosted by HBCU Texas Southern alumni Michael Strahan joined by Aeneas Williams, Shannon Sharpe and Jackie Slater.
Minneapolis was the site of the 2018 Super Bowl at their new U.S. Bank Stadium. Legendary Hall of Famer and Minnesota Viking former head coach Bud Grant was honored along with the first family honorees, the Vikings owners, the Wilf family.
For the first time, the Class of 2018 Finalists were honored with the Gold Jackets and NFL Legends, over 100 greats together for attendees to meet and greet and take photos with the biggest gathering of the greats of the game at any Super Bowl event.
Atlanta hosted its second Super Bowl in 2019 to introduce its brand new Mercedes Benz Stadium. NFL Legend and Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank was lauded for his Atlanta community support as well as his support of the Black College Football Hall of Fame. Hall of Famer honoree was Chris Doleman, whose courageous fight with brain cancer unfortunately ended one year later.
Miami hosted its record 11th Super Bowl in 2020. The Merlin Olsen luncheon had taken place in 1999, 2007, 2010 but 2020 was Super Special. For the first time the Hall honoree three. NFL Legend Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, Hall of Famer, Gold Jacket Dan Marino and for the second time, the winningest coach in NFL history, Don Shula. Chalk Talk Roundtable theme was the Hall’s look ahead to celebrating the league’s Centennial in Canton September 17-19.