Pro Football Hall of Fame Game

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Pro Football Hall of Fame Game
Fawcett Stadium before the start of the 2006 Pro Football Hall of Fame Game
Fawcett Stadium before the start of the 2006 Pro Football Hall of Fame Game

Recent and upcoming games
2012 season
August 5, 2012
New Orleans Saints 17, Arizona Cardinals 10
2013 season
August 4, 2013
Dallas Cowboys 24, Miami Dolphins 20
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Pro Football Hall of Fame Game
Fawcett Stadium before the start of the 2006 Pro Football Hall of Fame Game
Fawcett Stadium before the start of the 2006 Pro Football Hall of Fame Game

Recent and upcoming games
2012 season
August 5, 2012
New Orleans Saints 17, Arizona Cardinals 10
2013 season
August 4, 2013
Dallas Cowboys 24, Miami Dolphins 20

The Pro Football Hall of Fame Game is an annual National Football League exhibition game that is held the weekend of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's induction ceremonies. The game is played at Fawcett Stadium, which is located next door to the Hall of Fame building in Canton, Ohio. It is traditionally the first game in the NFL's preseason, marking the end of the NFL's six-month offseason.

Team selection[edit]

The two teams that play in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game are selected by the league well in advance of the rest of the schedule (usually about the same time as the new Hall of Fame members are announced and the Super Bowl of the year before). With the exceptions of 2009 and 2012, the opponents for each game have typically included one AFC team against one NFC team since 1971. In 2009, as recognition of the 50th season of the charter members of the American Football League, the game paired two of the "original eight" franchises of that league, the Tennessee Titans (dressed as their previous incarnation, the Houston Oilers) and the Buffalo Bills, whose owner, Ralph Wilson, was inducted into the Hall that year. The two teams were chosen because Wilson and the Oilers'/Titans' owner, Bud Adams, were the last original AFL owners still alive and owning their teams. No public explanation was given for the same-conference matchup in 2012 (they had also scheduled a same-conference matchup for 2011 with a similar lack of explanation; that game was canceled due to the 2011 NFL lockout).

Because this game and the Hall of Fame's induction ceremonies are scheduled on the weekend before the league's regular four-week exhibition season begins, both teams end up playing five exhibition games instead of the normal four, and unlike the Canadian Football League, the league does not remove an exhibition game from another week.

Since 1995, expansion teams usually played the Hall of Fame Game as their first ever NFL contest; the teams that have done so thus far are the Jacksonville Jaguars and Carolina Panthers matchup in 1995, and the Houston Texans in 2002. Furthermore, the Cleveland Browns (who were restocked with an expansion draft) were featured in the Hall of Fame Game upon their return to the league in 1999, despite the league's official stance that says the Baltimore Ravens (who did not play in the 1996 Hall of Fame Game, nor any Hall of Fame Game since) are the new team stemming from the Cleveland Browns relocation controversy. (The difference stems from the fact that although the Ravens began play as a new team in 1996, the league did not expand to 31 teams until 1999 when the Browns resumed operations; thus, the 1999 Browns, despite having existed from 1946 to 1996, were an expansion team that year, but not a new team.)

Prior to the AFL-NFL merger, the Hall of Fame Game was played in September, at the end of the preseason. In 1970, it was moved to the beginning of the preseason, and until the 2002 realignment (stemming from the admission of the Texans), it was not uncommon to see the game be played in July. Since the aforementioned expansion, the game has always been played in August.

The 2011 Hall of Fame Game was also originally scheduled to feature two teams from the same conference, contrary to established tradition: the St. Louis Rams and the Chicago Bears. Unlike 2009, no official explanation was given for the choice of teams; however, it would have balanced off the 2009 game (which featured two teams from the same conference), as the 2012 game ultimately did. That game was never played; a labor dispute had disrupted almost all league activity during the 2011 offseason, and the Bears and Rams had set a deadline of July 22 to ratify a resolution to the dispute. The league and its players did not ratify the agreement until July 25, forcing the game to be canceled. It is the only time the game has been canceled because of labor problems, and only the second such preseason game (the 1974 Chicago College All-Star Game being the first).

During the years the game has used the AFC-NFC format, the Hall of Fame Game has never been rematched, to date, in that season's Super Bowl. However, the 1971, 1989, and 1996 matchups would be seen in later Super Bowls, and the 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2013 games have been rematches of past Super Bowls.

The 2012 game again broke from tradition in featuring the New Orleans Saints, for which 2012 enshrinee and offensive tackle Willie Roaf played part of his career, facing the Arizona Cardinals in their first appearance in the game since moving to Arizona in 1988.[1]

Since the proposed 2011 contest, the game's matchup has featured teams that have had prior players inducted into the hall as part of that year's class.

Television and radio[edit]

From 1999-2005, the game was held on Monday night, televised as part of ABC's Monday Night Football package. It had previously been held typically on Saturday afternoons, except from 1963-65 on Sunday afternoons, televised as part of ABC's Wide World of Sports package (still using the MNF crew). In 1998, the game was put in the MNF package, and played on a Saturday night, which served as a test run for the move to Monday night. Starting in 2006, it was moved to Sunday night, coinciding with the new NBC Sunday Night Football television package. The 2007 game was telecast on NFL Network as NBC was intending to televise the China Bowl game in Beijing, China (a game which was postponed to 2009 and later canceled). The Hall of Fame Game has since bounced between both networks. The 2012 game aired on NFL Network due to NBC's coverage of the Summer Olympics. After a two-year absence, the game returned to NBC in 2013 and will remain on the network until 2015.

Dial Global owns national radio rights; it is the only exhibition game to air on a nationwide network. Each team's radio network is also allowed to broadcast the games (albeit usually with fewer affiliates since exhibition games are traditionally much lower priority to non-sports and non-flagship stations).

In 2007 and 2008, the game was broadcast live in both Ireland and the United Kingdom by Sky Sports. It was not shown in 2009 because of a dispute between Sky Sports and the NFL over TV rights. ESPN America (formerly North American Sports Network) broadcasts the game in the rest of Europe.

From 1998-2005, the Global Television Network aired the game in Canada, simulcasting ABC; upon the move to Sunday night in 2006, the CTV Television Network aired the game until 2010. With CTV airing the 2012 Summer Olympics, TSN broadcast the Hall of Fame Game in 2012. Azteca 7 aired Spanish-language coverage of the Hall of Fame Game in Mexico from 1998-2005; the Game moved to Canal 5 in 2006 and aired on that station until 2010. Due to the cancellation of the 2011 Hall of Fame Game and Televisa's Summer Olympics coverage, the Hall of Fame Game moved to Televisa Deportes in 2012 and then to Galavision in 2013.

Fawcett Stadium is within 75 miles of numerous television markets in northeast Ohio and western Pennsylvania (and is part of the Cleveland market); as such, the NBC affiliates (and before them, the ABC affiliates) have been required to black out the game in the rare event the game does not sell out. Because Fawcett Stadium only holds 22,375 fans (less than half the NFL's minimum requirements for its stadiums) and the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies bring large numbers of outside fans to Canton, the game has, to date, always sold out (several NFL teams, as well as the Super Bowl, have similarly enjoyed long sellout streaks).

Game history[edit]

August 11, 1962New York Giants 21, St. Louis Cardinals 21
September 8, 1963Pittsburgh Steelers 16, Cleveland Browns 7
September 6, 1964Baltimore Colts 48, Pittsburgh Steelers 17
September 12, 1965Washington Redskins 20, Detroit Lions 3
1966Not held
August 5, 1967Philadelphia Eagles 28, Cleveland Browns 13
August 3, 1968Chicago Bears 30, Dallas Cowboys 24
September 13, 1969Green Bay Packers 38, Atlanta Falcons 24
August 8, 1970New Orleans Saints 14, Minnesota Vikings 13
July 31, 1971Los Angeles Rams 17, Houston Oilers 6
July 29, 1972Kansas City Chiefs 23, New York Giants 17
July 28, 1973San Francisco 49ers 20, New England Patriots 7
July 27, 1974St. Louis Cardinals 21, Buffalo Bills 13
August 2, 1975Washington Redskins 17, Cincinnati Bengals 9
July 24, 1976Denver Broncos 10, Detroit Lions 7
July 30, 1977Chicago Bears 20, New York Jets 6
July 29, 1978Philadelphia Eagles 17, Miami Dolphins 3
July 28, 1979Oakland Raiders 20, Dallas Cowboys 13
August 2, 1980Tie 0-0; Green Bay Packers vs. San Diego Chargers
Game ended with 5:29 remaining in the fourth quarter due to severe lightning.
August 1, 1981Cleveland Browns 24, Atlanta Falcons 10
August 7, 1982Minnesota Vikings 30, Baltimore Colts 14
July 30, 1983Pittsburgh Steelers 27, New Orleans Saints 14
July 28, 1984Seattle Seahawks 38, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 0
August 3, 1985New York Giants 21, Houston Oilers 20
August 2, 1986New England Patriots 21, St. Louis Cardinals 16
August 8, 1987San Francisco 49ers 20, Kansas City Chiefs 7
July 30, 1988Cincinnati Bengals 14, Los Angeles Rams 7
August 5, 1989Washington Redskins 31, Buffalo Bills 6
August 4, 1990Chicago Bears 13, Cleveland Browns 0
July 27, 1991Detroit Lions 14, Denver Broncos 3
August 1, 1992New York Jets 41, Philadelphia Eagles 14
July 31, 1993Los Angeles Raiders 19, Green Bay Packers 3
July 30, 1994Atlanta Falcons 21, San Diego Chargers 7
July 29, 1995Carolina Panthers 20, Jacksonville Jaguars 14
July 27, 1996Indianapolis Colts 10, New Orleans Saints 3
July 26, 1997Minnesota Vikings 28, Seattle Seahawks 26
August 1, 1998Tampa Bay Buccaneers 30, Pittsburgh Steelers 6
August 9, 1999Cleveland Browns 20, Dallas Cowboys 17, OT
July 31, 2000New England Patriots 20, San Francisco 49ers 0
August 6, 2001St. Louis Rams 17, Miami Dolphins 10
August 5, 2002New York Giants 34, Houston Texans 17
August 4, 2003Kansas City Chiefs 9, Green Bay Packers 0
Game ended with 5:49 remaining in the third quarter due to severe lightning.
August 9, 2004Washington Redskins 20, Denver Broncos 17
August 8, 2005Chicago Bears 27, Miami Dolphins 24
August 6, 2006Oakland Raiders 16, Philadelphia Eagles 10
August 5, 2007Pittsburgh Steelers 20, New Orleans Saints 7
August 3, 2008Washington Redskins 30, Indianapolis Colts 16
August 9, 2009Tennessee Titans 21, Buffalo Bills 18
August 8, 2010Dallas Cowboys 16, Cincinnati Bengals 7
August 7, 2011Canceled due to 2011 NFL lockout
Game was originally scheduled between the Chicago Bears and St. Louis Rams
August 5, 2012New Orleans Saints 17, Arizona Cardinals 10
August 4, 2013Dallas Cowboys 24, Miami Dolphins 20
August 3, 2014New York Giants vs. Buffalo Bills


TeamWLTPct.Last appearance
Washington Redskins5001.0002008
Chicago Bears4001.0002005
Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders3001.0002006
Carolina Panthers1001.0001995
Kansas City Chiefs210.6672003
Minnesota Vikings210.6671997
New England Patriots210.6672000
Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams210.6672001
San Francisco 49ers210.6672000
New York Giants211.6252002
Cleveland Browns230.4001999
Pittsburgh Steelers320.6002007
Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts220.5002008
Philadelphia Eagles220.5002006
New York Jets110.5001992
Seattle Seahawks110.5001997
Tampa Bay Buccaneers110.5001998
New Orleans Saints230.4002012
Dallas Cowboys230.4002013
St. Louis/Arizona Cardinals121.3752012
Green Bay Packers121.3752003
Cincinnati Bengals120.3332010
Atlanta Falcons120.3331994
Denver Broncos120.3332004
Detroit Lions120.3331991
Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans120.3332009
San Diego Chargers011.2501994
Baltimore Ravens000.---N/A
Houston Texans010.0002002
Jacksonville Jaguars010.0001995
Buffalo Bills030.0002009
Miami Dolphins040.0002013

Most appearances- 5: Cleveland Browns (1963, 1967, 1981, 1990, and 1999), Pittsburgh Steelers (1963, 1964, 1983, 1998, and 2007), Washington Redskins (1965, 1975, 1989, 2004, and 2008), Dallas Cowboys (1968, 1979, 1999, 2010, and 2013), and New Orleans Saints (1970, 1983, 1996, 2007, and 2012). Had the 2011 game been played, the Chicago Bears would have joined this list.

Most wins- 5: Washington Redskins (1965, 1975, 1989, 2004, and 2008)

Longest active drought without Hall of Fame Game appearance- 21 seasons: Detroit Lions (last appearance - 1991); 20 seasons: New York Jets (last appearance - 1992); 17 seasons: Carolina Panthers and Jacksonville Jaguars (last appearance - 1995)

Active teams to have never made a Hall of Fame Game appearance- Baltimore Ravens

The Lions are the NFC team with the longest current absence from the game. The New York Jets, who last appeared in 1992, are the AFC team with the longest current absence.

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "Individual Tickets & Festival Fan Packages". Retrieved 2012-09-28. 

External links[edit]