A Brief History
On January 29, 1963, the first class of inductees to the new Pro Football Hall of Fame was announced, 17 players and executives that helped make professional football a reality.
Located in Canton, Ohio (because this is the birthplace of what became the NFL), the Pro Football Hall of Fame is independent of the National Football League, though it maintains a close association. Originally a paltry 2 rooms, the building now has 5 rooms and over 82,000 square feet. The Hall has a gift shop, research library, and of course a theater where you can watch your current and past heroes play football. Over 200,000 fans a year visit the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
(Note: The Baseball Hall of Fame opened in 1936, coincidentally the reverse of 1963.)
The first class of inductees included 11 former players (Red Grange, Don Hutson, Dutch Clark, Bronko Nagurski, Mel Hein, Pete Henry, Cal Hubbard, Sammy Baugh, Johnny McNally, Ernie Nevers and Jim Thorpe), 1 player/coach (George Halas), and 5 owners/executives (Curly Lambeau, Bert Bell, Joe Carr, Tim Mara and George Marshall). Of the players, 2 had played for the Canton Bulldogs.
Currently 303 members have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, pending the 2017 finalists. Inductees include players and others that participated in the NFL, American Football League (3 iterations of a league with this name), Canadian Football League, World Football League, Continental Football League, Ohio Football League (a predecessor to the NFL), All-America Football Conference, Arena Football League, United States Football League, and another predecessor to the NFL, the American Professional Football Association. One player came with experience in the Anthracite League (Fritz Pollard), while Billy Shaw is the only player with no NFL experience at all. The Chicago Bears have the record for most inductees enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame (32), which is not surprising since they are 1 of the 2 charter member teams still in the NFL. (The Cardinals are the other team, which back then were the Chicago Cardinals before moving to St. Louis and then Arizona.)
The Pro Football Hall of Fame uses media journalists as the selection committee, and only 7 inductees may be chosen per year (in the past it was 6, except for 1963). Question for students (and subscribers): What current players do you predict will make it to this hallowed ground? Who are your favorite Hall of Fame football stars? Have you been to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and if so, did you like it? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
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