This is the second article of the Sports Fan Travel Guide series. In the first article, we covered the best destinations for baseball fans.
Jack Tatum, the Oakland Raiders’ safety, slammed into Pittsburgh Steelers’ receiver John Fuqua, knocking the ball away for what was thought to be an incomplete pass. The Raiders started celebrating what they believed was their 1972 AFC Divisional Playoff game victory.
But the ball never hit the ground. As it bounced off of Tatum and Fuqua, the Steelers’ rookie running back, Franco Harris, grabbed the ball at his feet and ran it down the field for the winning touchdown with barely a second to spare.
Football fans know this as the story of the ‘Immaculate Reception.’ The sport of American football is one of the most popular sports in the U.S. It continues to grow in popularity, thanks to the enthusiastic fan base of both the NFL and college football.
The best way to learn about football culture and the history of the gridiron is by visiting some of the greatest football landmarks.
Let’s take a look at the top four destinations football fans need to see:
Pro Football Hall of Fame (Canton, OH)
As the birthplace of football, Canton is home to the most prestigious building in the sport. With over 300 members, this hall of fame tells many stories of triumph.
You can take two museum tours. The Insider’s Museum Tour is a guided experience that takes you through the various collections and exhibits.
On the other hand, the premium experience is called the VIP ‘Behind-the-Scenes’ Tour. A historian leads you through the Ralph Wilson, Jr. Pro Football Research and Preservation Center, which houses the largest and most comprehensive collection of materials related to the history of professional football.
In 2020, the Pro Football Hall of Fame will unveil the Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village. It’s anticipated to be the first sports ‘smart city,’ an urban area that collects data through sensors to better allocate resources. The main components of this village include the Hall of Fame Museum and the Ralph Wilson, Jr. Pro Football Research and Preservation Center as well as:
- Black College Football Hall of Fame
- Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium
- National Youth Football & Sports Complex
- A football-themed Hall of Fame Hotel
- Performance Center and Player Care Center
- The Hall of Fame Promenade, which includes retail, restaurants, and residential facilities
- An indoor amusement park called the Hall of Fame Experience
The hall of fame is the best way sports organizations celebrate their brightest stars, which is why both professional and college football have their own.
College Football Hall of Fame (Atlanta, GA)
This museum moved from Indiana to Atlanta in 2014. Those who work in sports and love college football will enjoy exploring all the amazing features in this new facility, such as:
- The Quad – Look for your favorite teams on this three story Helmet Wall.
- Indoor Playing Field and the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Skill Zone – Run through the obstacle course, kick a field goal, and throw touchdowns in this amazing play area.
- Chick-fil-A ‘Why We Love College Football’ exhibit – View trophies up close and interact with an immersive 52-foot touch screen wall.
- Coca-Cola Fans’ Game Day gallery – Sing fight songs and learn about the culture of tailgating, mascots, and more.
- AT&T Game Time – Dive into this immersive gallery, which includes a 360 degree virtual reality experience.
- Game Day Theater – This features the film ‘The Game of Your Life’ to get viewers closer to the action of college football.
- Kia Building a Champion – Check out this other awesome performance center where you can test your athleticism.
- The Speciality Exhibit Delivered by UPS – This rotating exhibit showcases memorabilia from some of the best moments in college football history.
As you can see, there are plenty of activities to do and exhibits and galleries to see. This is the best, most immersive college fan experience.
Rose Bowl (Pasadena, CA)
Built in 1921, this is one of the most famous stadiums in sports history. It’s recognized as a National Historic Landmark and holds over 90,000 people. No matter where you work in sports or how big of a fan you are, this is arguably the most important football stadium.
The Rose Bowl is the home of what many people call ‘the granddaddy of them all’ — the annual Rose Bowl Game. This is the oldest bowl game, which was first played in 1902.
Aside from the Tournament of Roses Football Game, the Rose Bowl also hosts fun events, like flea markets, filmings, concerts, and celebrations. Plus, the UCLA Bruins play their home games there.
The Super Bowl (Location Varies)
You don’t have to work in sports or even care about football to truly understand the role this game plays in popular culture. Attending the biggest sporting event in the world is truly an experience like no other.
The first Super Bowl was played in 1967. It was arranged after the NFL and the AFL (a rival league) agreed to a merger. This merger brought the champion teams from both leagues together for a faceoff.
Lamar Hunt, owner of the AFL’s Kansas City Chiefs, first used the term ‘Super Bowl’ to refer to the NFL-AFL championship game in the merger meetings. The media immediately started using the term, eventually leading to the leagues adopting ‘Super Bowl’ as the official name during the third annual game.
From there, its popularity continued to soar. These days, those who want to attend the game know they need a great deal of luck and money to score tickets.
Only a small percentage is sold directly to the public, with a ticket price range from $5,999 to more than $12,000, according to SeatGeek. While the cost is high, the experience is hard to top for football fans.
If you are a big fan of football or just work in sports and want to expand your knowledge of the football culture, you will love experiencing these landmarks.
Take a walk down memory lane through these halls of fame. Explore the hallowed grounds of the Rose Bowl. Chase the ultimate sports fan experience and fly to your favorite town when they host the Super Bowl