HOF Artifact of the Week

HOF Artifact of the Week

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These shoulder pads were worn by Hall of Famer Bobby Layne late in his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Layne began his 15-year career with Chicago Bears in 1948, but couldn’t unseat another future Hall of Famer in Sid Luckman as the starter. He was then traded to the struggling New York Bulldogs the following season.

In 1950 the cash strapped New York franchise traded Layne to the Detroit Lions where he was reunited with his high school teammate and future Hall of Fame running back Doak Walker. The following season the Lions hired Raymond “Buddy” Parker who knew how to best utilize Layne’s “gunslinger” style of quarterbacking. Together from 1952-54 Parker, Walker and Layne won three straight Eastern Division titles and two NFL Championships (’52 and ’53).

Walker retired after the 1955 season and Parker resigned as head coach of the Lions before the 1957 season. Parker and Layne were reunited with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1958 where the duo combined to lead the franchise to some of their finest seasons (up to that time). Layne retired after the 1962 season holding all of the league's major career passing records (attempts, completions, yards and touchdowns). Layne’s “never say die” attitude led Walker to say this about him, “Bobby never lost a game. Some days, time just ran out on him."

Our weekly artifacts and other unique items are featured daily in our docent presentations for visitors of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Plan your visit to the Hall to learn more about the collection in our archives.

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