The Super Bowl, the Hall of Fame, and the Cleveland Connection
by Tom Reed
WMV Web News Cleveland
Story filed January 30, 2002

Once again it’s Super Bowl time and once again Cleveland fans will be on the outside looking in. But if the playoff season has whetted your appetite for the game, this is a good time to visit the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton.

The Hall is much more than a display of bronze busts and bios of the 211 enshrinees, and exhibits about the history of pro football. The newest major attraction is the GameDay Stadium Theater. You first watch a preliminary video on a regular screen. Then the entire seating area revolves to expose a 20 x 40-foot Cinemascope screen for the main event, a 24-minute video that puts you in the center of the action. You can see the beads of sweat on the players’ faces, hear the crunch as their bodies collide.

Also new are some interactive features. You can try out your passing skills by tossing a football through an opening in a backdrop, match wits with coaches in the Call-the-Play Theater, or play a football trivia game.

Hall of Fame enshrinees for 2002 will be announced in New Orleans, on the day before the Super Bowl. This year’s list of 15 finalists has been controversial, to say the least, because Art Modell is included. Whether he makes the cut will be known on February 2.

Who decides who goes into the Hall of Fame?

A 38-man Board of Selectors includes one sports writer from each NFL city (two from New York because of its two franchises), six at-large members, plus a representative of the Pro Football Writers of America. The Cleveland representative is Tony Grossi of the Plain Dealer. Each candidate must receive at least 80 percent approval of the board. Between four and seven new inductees are chosen each year. The moving of the beloved Browns to Baltimore still sticks in the craw of Cleveland football fans. But how’s this for irony? The Ravens, who used to be the Browns, won last year’s Super Bowl. The previous year’s winner, the St. Louis Rams, were transplanted to Missouri in 1995 from Los Angeles. That was the second move for the team. The first was when they moved to L.A. in 1946 from Cleveland.

The Hall of Fame website has a wealth of information about the history of the game. Go to www.profootballhof.com


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Copyright 2001 Tom Reed