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The Pro Football Hall of Fame is the hall of fame of the National Football League (NFL). It opened in Cantonmarker, Ohiomarker, United Statesmarker, on September 7 1963 with 17 charter inductees. Through 2008, all but one of the player inductees played some part of their pro career in the NFL (the lone exception is Buffalo Bills guard Billy Shaw, who played his entire career in the American Football League (AFL) prior to the 1970 AFL-NFL merger). The Chicago Bears have the most Hall of Famers in the league at 26.

History

The Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
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Canton, Ohio was selected as the location for the Hall of Fame for three reasons: First, the NFL, then known as the American Professional Football Association, was founded in Canton in 1920. Second, the now-defunct Canton Bulldogs were a successful NFL team based in Canton during the first few years of the league. And finally, the community of Canton successfully lobbied the NFL to have the Hall built in their city.

Groundbreaking for the building was held on August 11, 1962. The original building contained just two rooms, and of interior space. The Hall opened in 1963.

Inside the original structure in 2008.
In April 1970, groundbreaking occurred for the first of many expansions. This first expansion cost $620,000, and was completed in May 1971. The size was increased to by adding another room. The gift shop opened with this expansion. This was also an important milestone for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, as yearly attendance passed the 200,000 mark for the first time, at least in some part due to the increase in popularity of Pro Football caused by the advent of the American Football League and its success in the final two AFL-NFL World Championship games.

In November 1977, work began on another expansion project, costing US$1,200,000. It was completed in November 1978, enlarging the gift shop and research library, while doubling the size of the theater. The total size of the hall was now , more than 2.5 times the original size.

The building remained largely unchanged until July 1993. The Hall then announced yet another expansion, costing US$9,200,000, and adding a fifth room. This expansion was completed in October 1995. The building's size was increased to . The most notable addition was the GameDay Stadium, which shows an NFL Films production on a by Cinemascope screen.

Selection process

Board of Selectors

The Hall is made up of several sections, at heart is the display of inductees.
Enshrinees are selected by a 44 person committee, largely made up of sportswriters, officially known as the Board of Selectors.

Usually, the representative is a beat writer for the major newspaper in that city, although this is not always the case; for instance, the Atlanta Falcons are represented by ESPN.com senior writer Len Pasquarelli (who lives in Atlanta and formerly wrote for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution), and the Jacksonville Jaguars are represented by WJXTmarker sports director Sam Kouvaris.

There are also eleven at-large delegates (usually cities that lose NFL teams keep representation on the board; Los Angelesmarker is the only current city to have lost an NFL team and not been granted an expansion team), and one representative from the Pro Football Writers of America. Except for the PFWA representative, who is appointed to a two-year term, all other appointments are open-ended and terminated only by death, retirement, or resignation.

Voting procedure

To be eligible for the nominating process, a player must have been retired at least five years, and a coach must be retired (as of 2007, retired for five years). Any other contributor such as a team owner or executive can be voted at any time.
Busts are displayed chronologically in the hall.
Fans may nominate any player, coach or contributor by simply writing to the Pro Football Hall of Fame via letter or email. The Selection Committee is then polled three times by mail to eventually narrow the list to 25 semifinalists: once in March, one in September, and one in October. In November, the committee then selects 15 finalists by mail balloting.

Nine members of the Selection Committee also serve as a subcommittee known as the Seniors Committee to screen candidates who finished their careers 25 or more years prior. The Seniors Committee then adds two finalists from prior to the modern era, making a final ballot of 17.

The Selection Committee then meets the day before each Super Bowl game to elect a new class. To be elected, a finalist must receive at least 80 percent support from the Board, with at least four, but no more than seven, candidates being elected annually. If less than four candidates get 80 percent of the vote, then the top four vote-getters will get in that year. If more than seven get 80 percent, then only the top seven vote-getters will be inducted.

Induction ceremony

The induction ceremony is usually held the first full weekend in August. A community festival is held throughout the week in Canton leading up to the induction ceremonies. Also, the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game, an annual NFL pre-season exhibition game, is held the day after the induction ceremony.

Enshrinees do not go into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a member of a certain team. Rather, all of an inductee's affiliations are listed equally. While the Baseball Hall of Famemarker plaques generally depict each of their inductees wearing a particular club's cap (with a few exceptions, such as Catfish Hunter), the bust sculptures of each Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee make no reference to any specific team. In addition to the bust that goes on permanent display at the Hall of Fame, inductees receive a distinctive gold jacket and previous inductees nearly always wear theirs when participating at new inductee ceremonies.

Previous induction ceremonies were held during the day (Sunday from 1999-2005, Saturday in 2006), situated on the steps of the Hall of Fame building. Starting in 2002, the ceremony was moved to Fawcett Stadiummarker, and, beginning in 2007, held Saturday night.

Inductees

See also



References

  1. Pro Football Hall of Fame team history:Chicago Bears
  2. Green Bay Packers history:Hall of Famers
  3. The Pro Football Hall of Fame:Then and Now
  4. Enshrinement:Class of 2007 Presenters


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