Even though I'm a huge football geek and follow the sport religiously, I had never been to the mecca of professional football: The Pro Football Hall Of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
That all changed on Tuesday when my girlfriend and I took the 90-mile drive from Pittsburgh to Canton to visit the historic site.
The drive was rather pleasant as we took US-30 West most of the way. The only problem I had was getting around the actual city of Canton. It took us about an hour to find the hotel and every other stop along the way was an adventure. That's not Canton's fault. It happens when you're new to a city. Besides, I have the worst sense of direction known to man.
But you don't want to hear about my driving adventures. Onto the Hall of Fame. It was pretty sweet. I could definitely feel a sense of history the moment I walked in the door. After we got done checking out some exhibits and some pretty cool pictures, we found the actual Hall of Fame with the busts. It was kind of surreal seeing the likeness of guys like Joe Greene and Terry Bradshaw. They didn't seem like busts of football players. They looked like gladiators from the days of the Roman Empire.
Another highlight was the Imax theater where they presented a 25 minute film from the 2009 season followed by Super Bowl XLIV highlights. They put the Super Bowl portion on a bigger screen but not before scaring everyone by moving the seats around. Nobody knew what was happening.
Two things from that day stood out for me:
One was the exhibit that displayed the non-NFL leagues like the AFL, USFL and the World Football League. I've heard of the WFL and knew that it was a rival league of the NFL back in the 70's, but it was neat seeing pictures of NFL legends like Larry Czonka playing in the league.
And the other thing that stood out for me and the highlight of the day was seeing the Super Bowl rings on display. Really awesome. The guy who was supervising the exhibit had quite a lot of little tidbits. Like for example, Dan Rooney's favorite ring to wear is the one from Super Bowl XIV because it's the most comfortable on his hand. And the Green Bay Packers ring from Super Bowl II actually has three stones in it because they won an NFL championship the year before the Super Bowl started and considered themselves 3-time World Champions. Pretty informative.
Back to the Steelers rings. The Steelers Super Bowl XLIII ring is the most gaudy piece of jewelry I have ever seen. They could use it to cover Heinz Field the night before a game. Funny story, there was a Cowboys fan there looking at the rings and he was going on and on about how awesome the Cowboys rings were and my girlfriend turned to him and said, "You're missing one." Ah, I love her!
Anyway, we had a great time, and if you've never been there, I really recommend making the trip.