I drove to work this morning along the same route that I’ve taken each and every day for the past six weeks. You see, preparing for the 2009 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival doesn’t allow for much time off in the summer for our staff. I haven’t enjoyed a full day of summer fun (away from the Hall of Fame) in nearly six weeks. Common, especially down the stretch, have been long 80-, 90-, and 100-plus hour work weeks as we get set to welcome the football world to Canton.
While the coffee is usually ready and waiting for me in the mornings, today was a day that I might not just need it. That’s because as I drove to work I received a huge reminder why we all do this each summer. The sky was blanketed by more than 50 hot air balloons.
What do hot air balloons have to do with football? Well, starting around Thursday of this coming week, thousands will flock to Canton, Ohio to celebrate one of the greatest events in all of sports – the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival. But, the local community has already started. The annual balloon classic is just one of many, many events that surround the Enshrinement ceremony.
Making this all possible are hundreds and hundreds of volunteers who join to help the staffs of the Pro Football Hall of Fame as well as the local Chamber of Commerce to pull off all these events. If you haven’t experienced it before, I invite you to Canton to take in an incredibly special celebration.
Now, for the real perspective of what today’s blog is about. One week from today, six new legends will be added to the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s honor roll. At 7 p.m. ET on a grand stage across the street in Fawcett Stadium, more than 80 members of the Hall of Fame will flank this year’s enshrinees and welcome them to the most select of fraternities.
Bob Hayes and Derrick Thomas will be honored posthumously and represented by their sons. Randall McDaniel, Bruce
Smith, Ralph Wilson, Jr., and Rod Woodson will step to the podium and finally have it really hit them what is being bestowed upon them.
We mention it a lot around here whether it’s putting it into a story on Profootballhof.com, or saying it during an interview with the media. But, I can’t repeat it enough, so here it is:
Since the National Football League began in downtown Canton in 1920, more than 20,000 players have played in a regular season game. Thousands and thousands of others tried but didn’t quite make it onto a NFL roster.
Including the six-man class who will be formally enshrined next weekend, there are only 253 members in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. That number is comprised of 219 players, 22 coaches, and 18 contributors. The number doesn’t equal 253 because six members – Guy Chamberlin, Jimmy Conzelman, Ray Flaherty, George Halas, Curly Lamebeau, and Steve Owen – are counted in more than one category.
Two-hundred-fifty-three of the very best of the best comprise those who have a bronze bust in the Hall of Fame Gallery.
And, that’s why we celebrate the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival each summer!
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