Trio of New Ford Hall of Fans Members Announced during Super Bowl Weekend will be Recognized at HOF
For three pro football fans, the knock-knock was no joke.
Miami Dolphins fan Roger Avila, Pittsburgh Steelers fan Rick Holman, and Chicago Bears fan Don Wachter waited anxiously in their Atlanta hotel rooms Friday morning, waiting to learn which one had been selected for entry into the Ford Hall of Fans at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Each was hoping to hear the celebratory knock on their door from Pro Football Hall of Fame President & CEO David Baker signifying their selection into the Ford Hall of Fans. Instead, Baker, following in the tradition of alerting former player, coach and contributor enshrines, delivered the knock to all three super fans – indicating the trio will join the newly created Ford Hall of Fans display at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
“This means the world to me, you have no idea,” Holman said, echoing the sentiment of all three finalists. “I’ve dedicated nearly half of my life to this, to being a fan. Now, being a part of the Ford Hall of Fans – this is amazing.”
The Ford Hall of Fans chose Avila, Holman and Wachter after they were named finalists courtesy of online fan polling. Baker’s knock kicks off a weekend-long celebration for the three honorees, including attending the Merlin Olsen Hall of Fame Super Bowl Luncheon, participating in Ford Hall of Fame Chalk Talk with former NFL greats JEROME BETTIS and TERRELL DAVIS, and culminating with tickets to Super Bowl LIII between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams.
Avila, 56, of Miami, is a 24-year season-ticket holder known simply as “Dolfan Maniac.” As one of the faces of the organization, he appears frequently on TV during Dolphins broadcasts wearing his signature No. 40 Miami jersey in old-school white.
Holman, 39, of Beaver, Pennsylvania, is a high school history teacher and an 18-year Steelers season-ticket holder. He has attended every game ever played at Heinz Field, including preseason, regular season and playoff games for 18 straight years. He traveled to attend the Steelers’ recent championship appearances in Detroit, Tampa and Dallas.
Wachter, 56, of Plainfield, Illinois, is a Bears season-ticket holder of 33 years. Known among Chicago football fans simply as “Bearman,” he paints his face and wears a bear’s head hat to games. From 1998 to 2004, Wachter fired up the home crowd by running onto Soldier Field carrying a large Bears flag before every game.
The Ford Hall of Fans is the automaker’s way of celebrating the passion fans bring to the various worlds of sports. Last year, Ford debuted a Ford Hall of Fans for NASCAR enthusiasts; this year the honor will extend to include Professional Bull Riders fans.