Green Bay Packers fans in Canton for Sunday’s Hall of Fame game might want to visit the NFL Hall of Fame, but don’t be surprised if it doesn’t match up to the one right in Green Bay.
The Packers HOF was founded in 1966. It started modestly, with a series of exhibits in the Brown County Veterans Memorial Arena. Its first permanent site, in an addition to that arena, was dedicated by President Gerald Ford in 1976. Over the next 26 years the HOF was expanded and renovated many times.
Then in 2003, the Hall was relocated to the new Lambeau Field Atrium.
Most recently, the sparkling new home of the Packers HOF opened in the reconfigured Atrium last year on August 21 – bigger and better than ever.
Some comparisons to the two HOFs:
- The Pro Football Hall of Fame opened in 1963. When Green Bay’s opened in 1966, it became the first pro football hall of fame honoring a single NFL team.
- The Pro Football Hall of Fame has 303 members. Green Bay’s has 154, but they’re all Packers players, coaches, executives and contributors.
- The PFHOF’s address is 2121 George Halas Dr. NW in Canton. Green Bay’s classier address is 1265 Lombardi Ave. in Green Bay.
- The PFHOF encompasses 82,000+ square feet, last expanded in 1995. Green Bay’s HOF is 15,000 square feet on two levels, just re-opened last August.
- The PFHOF is an architectural eyesore, featuring a dated round building with a football-shaped dome-like protrusion and a mishmash of dissimilar add-ons. Green Bay’s HOF is both traditional and modern, located in the high-ceilinged brick and glass Lambeau Field Atrium – a thing of beauty.
- The PFHOF’s most recent expansion was in 1995. Green Bay’s all new home and re-vamped exhibits offer state-of-the-art technology, enhanced interactive displays, the works.
- The PFHOF charges $24 and $17 (adults and children), and a $10 parking fee. Prices go up during enshrinement week. Green Bay’s comparable charges are $17 and $9.
- The PFHOF has a “Tailgating” snack bar open 11:30-4:30 daily in summer and Thursday thru Monday the rest of year. Green Bay’s new 1919 Kitchen & Tap is open daily, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
- The PFHOF’s big feature is (drum roll): a piece of turf – yes, the turf on which the Steelers’ Franco Harris caught the “Immaculate Reception” in the 1972 AFC Divisional Playoffs. Green Bay’s most popular exhibit is a replica of Vince Lombardi’s office – the profane and the sacred!
If you want NFL history, football glory, better prices, food and drink, it’s all right next to Lambeau Field. It’s what they say it is: “a tribute to the greatest story in sports.”