Gridiron Glory

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Gridiron Glory

Sep 28, 2019 - Feb 9, 2020

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By Harvey Fialkov | Aug 27, 2019

For those South Florida football fans who couldn’t visit the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, last July to pay homage to the Class of 2019, including Ty Law, Tony Gonzalez and Ed Reed, then to butcher an old saying involving Muhammad (the prophet not Ali), "The mountain will come to you." That’s right, the Pro Football Hall Of Fame began touring cities that have hosted Super Bowls since 2012 with a 6,000 square-foot exhibit filled with hundreds of artifacts collected from America’s favorite pastime and its legends.

And its next stop is Downtown Miami at the HistoryMiami Museum (101 W Flagler St.), the largest history museum in the state.

From Sept. 28 to Feb. 9, 2020, the HistoryMiami Museum will host the Gridiron Glory: The best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame exhibit, an interactive multimedia, panoramic experience that will trace the NFL’s 100-year-old roots back to legendary native Indian Jim Thorpe being named the player/president of the league, then known as the American Professional Football Association. Thorpe also played for the Canton Bulldogs, which is the reason Canton became the home of the PFHOF in 1963. 

Former Detroit Lions running back Barry Sanders is the national ambassador for Gridiron Glory, and of course, one of the many Hall of Famers featured in the exhibit.

"Football wasn't always this big, glamorous conglomerate – it's much more than just what you see on Sundays," says Sanders, whose 1997 game-worn jersey when he became the third player in history to topple the 2,000-yard rushing mark will be displayed.

"This gives you a taste of what you experience in Canton, but it really tells a remarkable story of the game, how it's evolved and how it's found a place in the conscience of the nation."

What to expect

The Gridiron Glory exhibit always features a specially designed Hometown Tribute section to spotlight the local team, your Miami Dolphins, the host of Super Bowl LIV this season at Hard Rock Stadium.

"We’re so excited to be able to go to Miami and be there through the Super Bowl," says Saleem Choudhry, vice president of PFHOF’s exhibits and museum services. "Our showcase will tell the story of pro football from the beginning in 1892 when a player [Pudge Heffelfinger] was paid $500 to play, thus the birth of our sport and then the founding of the NFL in Canton, where the league is celebrating its 100th birthday.

"We’ll have 200 of our most valuable artifacts from the greatest moments of our game. You’ll see treasures from NFL dynasties and how technology has evolved and the league’s impact on pop culture. "In every city we tailor an exhibit for the local team so we’ll have riches of Dolphins’ artifacts such as Don Shula’s golf shirt he wore when he won his record 325 th victory and Larry Csonka’s jersey he wore in the 1972 Perfect Season and a lot of stuff from Dan Marino like the football he threw when he reached 60,000 yards."

The traveling museum will feature interactive touch screens containing video clips of every member of the PFHOF. It will include the HOF speeches from two of the Dolphins most popular players, Marino and sack-master Jason Taylor.

J.T.’s jerseys, pants, shoes and helmet from the 2006 season when he was named Defensive Player of the Year will be displayed.

The football that Dan the Man tossed to Irving Fryar in 1999 to eclipse Fran Tarkenton’s record for career passing yardage will also be nestled inside a trophy case. Marino held the record for 12 years but has since been passed by Tom Brady, Brett Favre, Peyton Manning and the new all-time leader Drew Brees.

Fans can expect several all-time greats to make appearances throughout the five-month run and can arrange for private tours with a Hall of Famer by calling Michelle Norris at 330-456-8207.

Shula and his HOF quarterback Bob Griese may drop in to check out the traveling HOF’s exhibit of their 1972 Perfect Season.

Visitors may try on vintage shoulder pads and jerseys, along with today’s equipment or step inside the Instant Replay Booth and see if they can make the right call.

Fans can take photos with the seven-pound sterling silver Vince Lombardi Super Bowl Trophy and other fascinating items from legends of the game such as Brady’s draft card, a mold replica of all-world receiver Jerry Rice’s hands and Walter ‘Sweetness’ Payton’s game-worn jersey when he broke Jim Brown’s all-time rushing record in 1984.

Visitors can relax in an air-conditioned pop-up movie theater where they can watch spectacular plays that turned players into legends such as Franco Harris' Immaculate Reception thanks to NFL Films 'Fantastic Finishes.' They can test their football knowledge at interactive kiosks and then buy a keepsake souvenir at the museum shop.

The exhibition will kick-off with a VIP party Thursday evening on Sept. 26. Limited tickets are available for $150 and will include an exclusive preview look at the Gridiron Glory exhibit. Purchase tickets for this event.

Check out the museum’s website for more information such as cost of admission, hours of operation (closed Mondays), directions and discounted parking options.

Public transportation such as the Metrorail or Miami and Coral Gables trolleys are suggested for convenient access. 

For a glimpse of the Gridiron Glory exhibit watch this video.


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