The professional football hall of fame honors the very best players, coaches, and contributors that the game of football has to offer. Every summer a new class, which is chosen by a committee, is inducted into the hall. Since its opening on September 7, 1963, the hall has hosted over nine million visitors from all over the United States as well as international visitors.
The hall itself is located in Canton, Ohio and has grown from 19,000 square feet, in the beginning, to over 85,000 square feet in its present configuration. However, the hall is undergoing yet another renovation slated to be completed in 2013 just in time for the 50th anniversary. The Canton, Ohio, location was chosen primarily for three reasons. First, the citizens of Canton launched a very determined campaign in order to get the new hall built. The citizens had a very valid argument based on the other two reasons why that particular location was chosen. The American Professional Football Association, which eventually evolved into the National Football League (NFL), was founded in Canton in September of 1920. Finally, the Canton Bulldogs were a professional football powerhouse even before the emergence of the NFL. The Bulldogs were also the first NFL champions in 1922 and 1923. Those valid reasons convinced the NFL to build in Canton.
The selection process is extremely tough, as it should be; however, the only requirement for nomination is that a nominee cannot have either played or coached in the five years previous to selection. The exception to this rule is that contributors have no mandatory retirement requirement. A 44 person committee is charged with choosing each member to be inducted. There is one media representative from each NFL city, with New York City having two members. The 33rd member is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA), and there are 11 at-large positions. The fans are also encouraged to write the hall to get names on the ballot. With the exception of the member from the PFWA, each member has a lifelong appointment as long as the meetings are attended regularly. The committee meets annually at the time of the super bowl to make their final selections. By the time they reach the annual meeting, the committee will have pared the nominations to 17 candidates. There is no formal requirement on how many candidates can be voted in, but one of the self-imposed ground rules of the committee is to vote in between four and seven new hall inductees. Out of the 17 nominees 15 will be modern era, and the other 2 will be senior nominees (for the 2013 class this will be determined by nominees that were eligible pre-1988). The senior nominees will be chosen by 9 members of the selection committee who make up a senior selection committee. To be enshrined a candidate must obtain at least 80 percent of the final vote. Once the class is selected the induction ceremony typically takes place in August to coincide with the beginning of the new NFL season.
Brent Daniels is a sports history blogger. Read more at http://sportstimecapsule.com
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