The morning after the Browns game – rented a car and drove a little over an hour south down I-77 to Canton to check out the Pro Football Hall of Fame for my first time. My visit is almost exactly a year ago to the day of my first visit to the baseball hall of fame in Cooperstown last December.
The town of Cooperstown itself is a quaint, charming and idyllic tourist destination with great hotels, shops , restaurants and other attractions (like the Ommegang Brewery) – Canton, on the other hand, is an old industrial city with not a lot more to offer visitors than the hall of fame. Although I hear there is a budding of an urban renaissance and arts district in the downtown area.
As much as I love baseball, I sort of hate to admit that I liked the football hall of fame better. Both had amazing displays and artifacts, but the football HoF offered a lot more interactive and varied exhibits.
There was a really impressive 360 IMAX theater where we watched the 2016 "Road to the Super Bowl" where the seats rotated and the sound and video definition were incredible – it was almost like being on the field.
But my favorite feature was a feature called ‘A Game For Life’. We were brought into a room set up to look like a locker room with lockers of legendary players throughout NFL history. Each of the lockers were filed with replicas of what would have been in their actual lockers back in their playing days.
We all take a seat on the benches then on the stage there are 4D holographic representations of football legends set to immersive, 360-degree sound in a cutting-edge theater. A very realistic Joe Namath hologram comes out and greets fans with his “Magic Chalkboard,” paving the way for holographic versions of George Halas and Vince Lombardi to appear and deliver motivational speeches, making you feel like you’re in one of their championship huddles. Very cool stuff.
Also on display are all 51 Super Bowl rings, the Lombardi Trophy and an amazing collection of rare and valuable football cards. The Hall itself is nicer than in Cooperstown. I thought that the bronze player busts were a lot more remarkable than the plaques at the Baseball HoF. I even thought that the food in the cafeteria was better
Given it was a Monday in December, there was a pretty light crowd, so I was able to pretty much take as much time as I wanted to looking at the exhibits.