Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame

Graphic for Gridiron Glory exhibit press kit
Contact: 

Jessica Kohen, Marketing and Communications, 651-259-3148, jessica.kohen@mnhs.org
Lauren Peck, Marketing and Communications, 651-259-3137, lauren.peck@mnhs.org

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News Release

Most Iconic Football Items of All Time On Display at Minnesota History Center

For immediate release

Release dated: 
June 10, 2016
Media contacts: 

Jessica Kohen, Minnesota Historical Society 651-259-3148, jessica.kohen@mnhs.org
Lauren Peck, Minnesota Historical Society 651-259-3137, lauren.peck@mnhs.org

Most Iconic Football Items of All Time On Display at Minnesota History Center

‘Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’ opens Sept. 24, 2016

The Minnesota History Center, in partnership with the Minnesota Vikings, announce the largest and most comprehensive traveling exhibit ever created on America’s favorite sport, “Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” Sept. 24, 2016 to Jan. 15, 2017, at the Minnesota History Center.

Organized by the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the exhibit features more than 200 artifacts, photos and rare documents, footage from the NFL Film archives, and interactive experiences. A section of the exhibit will be devoted to the Minnesota Vikings Training Camp, where visitors can work on their vertical leap, broad jump, kicking and passing games.

Artifacts include the Vince Lombardi Trophy, Knute Rockne’s 1919 Massillon Tigers helmet, Jim Brown’s game worn jersey, Jerry Rice’s career touchdown receptions record football, Emmitt Smith’s rushing record game artifacts, and iconic artifacts, photos and film footage from the storied history of the Minnesota Vikings.

Related programs and MNHS Press book
The exhibit opens with a family day program on Saturday, Sept. 24, from noon to 4 p.m. The Minnesota Vikings cheerleaders, SKOL line and alumni players will be on hand to help celebrate. Plus, families can check out the Vikings fan selfie station, art activity and more.

Throughout the run of the exhibit additional programs will include a football-themed happy hour event, hands-on activities for kids during MEA break, football trivia weekends, visits by Vikings alumni players and more. Check the online calendar of events for the latest program information.

Coming this November, MNHS Press, in association with the Minnesota Vikings, will publish a new illustrated book, “U.S. Bank Stadium: The New Home of the Minnesota Vikings” by journalist Steve Berg.

Exhibit and Program Support
“Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame” is made possible in part by the Legacy Amendment through the vote of Minnesotans on Nov. 4, 2008. The Training Camp section of the exhibit is sponsored by the Minnesota Vikings. Media support is provided by KARE-11 and the Star Tribune.

Location, Hours and Admission
The Minnesota History Center is located at 345 Kellogg Blvd. W. in St. Paul. Exhibit gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.

Admission to “Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame” is $20 for adults, $10 for children ages 5 to 17, and $5 discount for MNHS members. The History Center’s free Tuesday admission from 3 to 8 p.m. does not include access to “Gridiron Glory.” Online tickets will be available beginning July 1 at www.mnhs.org/gridironglory.

Auxiliary aids and services are available with advance notice. For more information, call 651-259-3000 or 1-800-657-3773.

About the Minnesota History Center
The Minnesota History Center holds the collections of the Minnesota Historical Society. The History Center is home to an innovative museum, engaging public programs, a research library, distinctive gift shops and D’Amico restaurant.

The Minnesota Historical Society is a non-profit educational and cultural institution established in 1849. MNHS collects, preserves and tells the story of Minnesota’s past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs and book publishing. Using the power of history to transform lives, MNHS preserves our past, shares our state’s stories and connects people with history.

The Minnesota Historical Society is supported in part by its Premier Partners: Xcel Energy and Explore Minnesota Tourism.

Exhibit Experience

GRIDIRON GLORY: Exhibit Experience

For immediate release

Release dated: 
June 10, 2016
Media contacts: 

Jessica Kohen, Minnesota Historical Society 651-259-3148, jessica.kohen@mnhs.org
Lauren Peck, Minnesota Historical Society 651-259-3137, lauren.peck@mnhs.org

GRIDIRON GLORY: Exhibit Experience

Organized by the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the exhibit presents a panoramic view of the story of professional football--from its humble beginnings in the 1890s to the sports phenomenon it has become today. The exhibit is divided into 10 sections:

  • The Pioneers - A salute to the early days of the sport featuring players
  • The Great Moments - Extraordinary acts of athletic ability presented by NFL Films
  • The Great Players - Stars that made every fan take notice, including Johnny Unitas, Jim Brown, Joe Namath and many Minnesota Vikings Hall of Famers
  • The Dynasties - Teams that dominated an era, including the Minnesota Vikings defensive line, the Purple People Eaters, in the late 1960s
  • Pro Football’s Road to Equality - An inspirational story of the rise of black athletes
  • The Science of Football - The marriage between sports and science with topics from nutrition to projectiles to the laws of motion
  • Football as a Way of Life - Pro football’s ever-increasing role in American life and popular culture
  • Records are Made to be Broken - Milestone events that have become seemingly unbeatable records
  • Championship Theater - The excitement of winning through a high-energy NFL Films presentation of the road to the Super Bowl
  • Let’s Hear it for the Home Team - Get to know the Minnesota Vikings through iconic artifacts, photos and film footage

Interactive elements include:

  • Head to the Minnesota Vikings Training Camp to work on your vertical leap, broad jump, kicking and passing games
  • Compare your body size to that of an NFL player
  • Put on reproduction vintage uniforms and compare it to today’s lightweight equipment
  • Become a referee and make the call in an authentic NFL instant replay booth
  • Kick a field goal and make a winning pass
  • Step into a huddle
Carl Eller Spokesperson

MEDIA ALERT: Vikings Great Carl Eller Signs on as Spokesperson for ‘Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’

For immediate release

Release dated: 
September 12, 2016
Media contacts: 

Jessica Kohen, Minnesota Historical Society 651-259-3148, jessica.kohen@mnhs.org
Lauren Peck, Minnesota Historical Society 651-259-3137, lauren.peck@mnhs.org

MEDIA ALERT: Vikings Great Carl Eller Signs on as Spokesperson for ‘Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’

Carl Eller  

Vikings great Carl Eller will greet media for a preview of “Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” on Friday, Sept. 23 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Organized by the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the exhibit includes more than 200 artifacts, photos and rare documents, footage from the NFL Film archives and interactive experiences. It also features a hometown heroes section about the Vikings, including the “Purple People Eaters.” In addition, a section of the exhibit will be devoted to the Minnesota Vikings Training Camp, where visitors can work on their vertical leap, broad jump, kicking and passing games.

“The Pro Football Hall of Fame is an exciting place to visit. I go back every year” said Eller. “Football is so closely tied to our national and Minnesota history that it belongs in our Minnesota History Center, especially now with the number of Vikings that have been voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and with the addition of our new stadium and the Super Bowl coming to Minnesota in 2018.”

Eller was a first-round draft pick in 1964 playing defensive end for the Vikings. He was also one of four players to make up the famed “Purple People Eaters.” During his career, the Vikings won 10 Central Division titles, the 1969 NFL championship and the NFC crowns in 1973, 1974, and 1976. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004.

Mr. Eller will be available for short interviews on a first-come, first-served basis. No RSVP is needed. Coffee and cookies will be provided. Free parking is available in the History Center lot located off Kellogg Blvd. West.  This will be the only advanced access to the exhibit for reporters.

“Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” runs Sept. 24, 2016 to Jan. 15, 2017 at the Minnesota History Center. An online press kit is available.

MNHS Press Book

GRIDIRON GLORY: MNHS Press Book

For immediate release

Release dated: 
June 10, 2016
Media contacts: 

Alison Aten, Minnesota Historical Society Press, 651-259-3203, alison.aten@mnhs.org
Jessica Kohen, Minnesota Historical Society, 651-259-3148, jessica.kohen@mnhs.org

GRIDIRON GLORY: MNHS Press Book

Minnesota Historical Society Press to Publish Book on U.S. Bank Stadium

The Minnesota Historical Society Press, in association with the Minnesota Vikings, is publishing an illustrated history of Minneapolis’s new downtown stadium. Written by veteran journalist Steve Berg, the book offers a behind-the-scenes look at U.S. Bank Stadium, accompanied by more than 200 color photos and illustrations.

The book, U.S. Bank Stadium: The New Home of the Minnesota Vikings, will be released November 15, 2016, and will include photos from the Vikings’ preseason games and the 2016 season opener.

The book will be available for purchase from the Minnesota Vikings in late October and is available for presale via the Vikings, MNHS Press, and online retailers. The 224-page hardcover book retails for $29.95.

In the summer of 2016, the State of Minnesota and the Minnesota Vikings will unveil a new, state-of-the-art stadium in Minneapolis. More than a monument to football, U.S. Bank Stadium stands as a community space that hosts a range of events and activities, reinvigorating a long-neglected area of downtown.

U.S. Bank Stadium provides a comprehensive inside look at all that went into the largest construction project in state history—what makes it a distinctive football facility, and what it means for Minnesota. Author Steve Berg describes the complicated and controversial history and path to approval; the various design concepts and innovations; the many phases of construction; the stadium’s place as civic asset and its statewide legacy; and the full celebration of the facility’s grand opening. The book features profiles of and interviews with the central figures in U.S. Bank Stadium’s development, from architects and engineers to construction workers and groundskeepers, as well as players, fans, and community leaders. The book is heavily illustrated with design drawings and plans; construction photos chronicling everything from groundbreaking to opening day; detailed images of the stadium’s features and amenities; behind-the-scenes shots of the stadium operation; and game-day photos of fans, players, vendors, and more.

MNHS Press Director Pamela McClanahan notes, “The stadium is an important part of our Twin Cities’ shared history, not only for the many sports and music fans who will celebrate it but for all those interested in how major public projects like this come together and get built. Author Steve Berg, who also wrote the book on Target Field, is a talented, veteran journalist who tells the complete story of the stadium process.”

U.S. Bank Stadium complements the nationally touring Gridiron Glory exhibit opening at the Minnesota History Center on September 24, 2016.

About the author
Steve Berg is a freelance writer who spent more than three decades as a reporter and editorial writer for the Star Tribune. He is the author of Target Field: The New Home of the Minnesota Twins.

About MNHS Press
The Minnesota Historical Society Press is a leading publisher of the history and culture of Minnesota and the Upper Midwest. The Press advances research, supports education, serves the local community, and expands the reputation of the MNHS through the publication of books and e-products, the Minnesota History journal, and the free, digital encyclopedia, MNopedia.

Pro Football History

GRIDIRON GLORY: History

For immediate release

Release dated: 
June 10, 2016
Media contacts: 

Jessica Kohen, Minnesota Historical Society 651-259-3148, jessica.kohen@mnhs.org
Lauren Peck, Minnesota Historical Society 651-259-3137, lauren.peck@mnhs.org

GRIDIRON GLORY: History

Professional football traces its roots to 1800s America when collegiate players incorporated elements from soccer and rugby into a new game. By the end of the century, football was played across the country and rules included the snap and forward pass, 11-player team, and the concept of downs.

Professional football history in the Twin Cities began in the 1920s when the Minneapolis Marines joined the American Professional Football Association (later the National Football League). Duluth also hosted a professional team, the Kelleys, later called the Eskimos, from 1923 to 1927 when it withdrew from the league. The film Leatherheads is partially based on the story of the Duluth Eskimos. In 1931 the Marines also withdrew from the league, leaving the state with no professional team between 1931 and 1959.

In August 1959, Minneapolis was awarded a franchise in the new American Football League, but the owners gave it up to be awarded the NFL’s 14th franchise in 1960.

The Minnesota Vikings, so named to recognize Minnesota’s Nordic roots, took to the field for their first regular season game on Sept. 17, 1961. After a slow start, rookie quarterback Fran Tarkenton came off the bench to throw four touchdown passes and run for another as he led the Vikes to a 37-13 victory over the Chicago Bears. Twenty five years later, in 1986, Tarkenton would become the first Vikings player to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

In 1967, the Vikings brought in head coach Bud Grant who had led the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to four championships in 10 years. Hailing from Minnesota, Grant returned to the Twin Cities with the challenge of turning the struggling Vikings into instant winners. Just two years later, the Vikings began an incredible streak of 11 division titles in 13 seasons.

The Vikings have appeared in four Super Bowl games: 1970, ‘74, ‘75 and ‘77. Only four other NFL teams have played in more championship games. From Ahmad Rashad to Cris Carter, from Jim Marshall to Randall McDaniel and from Matt Blair to John Randle, the Vikings have been among the most exciting teams ever to strap on the pads.

V-I-K-I-N-G-S! Skol, Vikings, Let’s Go!         

Adapted from Minnesota Vikings team history

Stadium History

10 Great Moments in Minnesota Stadium History

For immediate release

Release dated: 
August 25, 2016
Media contacts: 

Jessica Kohen, Minnesota Historical Society, 651-259-3148, jessica.kohen@mnhs.org
Lauren Peck, Minnesota Historical Society, 651-259-3137, lauren.peck@mnhs.org

10 Great Moments in Minnesota Stadium History

Explore more history with ‘Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame,’ Sept. 24, 2016-Jan. 15, 2017 at the Minnesota History Center

The Minnesota Vikings kick off their first preseason home game at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday, Aug. 28 against the San Diego Chargers. With this first game, the new stadium becomes a part of Minnesota’s storied pro football history:  

  • Oct. 30, 1921 The first-ever professional football game in Minnesota is played at Nicollet Park in Minneapolis, as the Minneapolis Marines trounce the Columbus Panhandles 28–0.
  • Aug. 23, 1923 In their inaugural season in the NFL, the Duluth Kelleys open the year with a 10–7 victory over the Akron Pros in front of a packed crowd at Athletic Park in Duluth, near today’s Wade Stadium.
  • Sept. 12, 1951 The Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers square off in an NFL exhibition game at Minneapolis’s Parade Stadium, with more than 19,000 fans in attendance.
  • Sept. 15, 1956 Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, built as the home of the Minneapolis Millers minor league baseball team, hosts a preseason football game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles.
  • Sept. 17, 1961 Less than nine months after entering the NFL as an expansion team, the Minnesota Vikings play their first regular season home game at Metropolitan Stadium, defeating the Chicago Bears 37–13.
  • Sept. 12, 1982 The Vikings secure a 17–10 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFL regular season debut of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.
  • Dec. 12, 2010 A major snowfall causes the Metrodome’s roof to collapse, marking the fifth roof collapse in the stadium’s history.
  • Dec. 3, 2013 The Vikings hold a ceremonial groundbreaking to start construction on their new 66,000-seat, 1.75 million square foot facility in downtown Minneapolis on the site of the Metrodome.
  • Aug. 8, 2014 The Vikings kick off their temporary residence at TCF Bank Stadium, on the University of Minnesota campus, with a 10–6 preseason triumph over the Oakland Raiders. The team plays home games there for two seasons while U.S. Bank Stadium is being built.
  • Aug. 3, 2016 European soccer teams A.C. Milan and Chelsea F.C. face off in the first major event at U.S. Bank Stadium, as part of the International Champions Cup.

Find out more about pro football history in Minnesota and throughout the nation with the new exhibit “Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” Sept. 24, 2016-Jan. 15, 2017 at the Minnesota History Center. An online press kit is available.

Coming November--U.S. Bank Stadium: The New Home of the Minnesota Vikings. Published in association with the Vikings, this book by journalist Steve Berg offers a behind-the-scenes look at the stadium’s design, construction, and impressive features--and how it is revitalizing a long-neglected area of downtown. The book is available for pre-order now at shop.mnhs.org.

About the exhibit
Organized by the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the exhibit features more than 200 artifacts, photos and rare documents, footage from the NFL Film archives and interactive experiences. A section of the exhibit will be devoted to the Minnesota Vikings Training Camp, where visitors can work on their vertical leap, broad jump, kicking and passing games.

Artifacts include the Vince Lombardi Trophy, Knute Rockne’s 1919 Massillon Tigers helmet, Jim Brown’s game-worn jersey, Jerry Rice’s career touchdown receptions record football, Emmitt Smith’s rushing record game artifacts, and iconic artifacts, photos and film footage from the storied history of the Minnesota Vikings. The exhibit also includes a display of seating from the Met, Metrodome and U.S.Bank stadiums.

Check the online calendar of events for related programs.

Exhibit and Program Support
“Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame” is made possible in part by the Legacy Amendment through the vote of Minnesotans on Nov. 4, 2008. The Training Camp section of the exhibit is sponsored by the Minnesota Vikings. Major sponsorship is provided by Comcast. Media support is provided by KARE-11 and the Star Tribune.

Location, Hours and Admission
The Minnesota History Center is located at 345 Kellogg Blvd. W. in St. Paul. Exhibit gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.

Admission to “Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame” is $20 for adults, $10 for children ages 5 to 17, and $5 discount for MNHS members. The History Center’s free Tuesday admission from 3 to 8 p.m. does not include access to “Gridiron Glory.” Online tickets will be available beginning July 1 at www.minnesotahistorycenter.org/gridironglory.

Auxiliary aids and services are available with advance notice. For more information, call 651-259-3000 or 1-800-657-3773.

About the Minnesota History Center
The Minnesota History Center holds the collections of the Minnesota Historical Society. The History Center is home to an innovative museum, engaging public programs, a research library, distinctive gift shops and the new Market House by D’Amico cafe.

The Minnesota Historical Society is a non-profit educational and cultural institution established in 1849. MNHS collects, preserves and tells the story of Minnesota’s past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs and book publishing. Using the power of history to transform lives, MNHS preserves our past, shares our state’s stories and connects people with history. Visit us at www.mnhs.org

The Minnesota Historical Society is supported in part by its Premier Partners: Xcel Energy and Explore Minnesota Tourism.

Images

GRIDIRON GLORY: Images

For immediate release

Release dated: 
June 10, 2016
Media contacts: 

Jessica Kohen, Minnesota Historical Society 651-259-3148, jessica.kohen@mnhs.org
Lauren Peck, Minnesota Historical Society 651-259-3137, lauren.peck@mnhs.org

GRIDIRON GLORY: Images

The images may be  used for editorial purposes in magazines, newspapers and online to promote “Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” Sept. 24, 2016 to Jan. 15, 2017, at the Minnesota History Center. Credit information is listed.

Heffelfinger ledger

Accounting ledger that shows William “Pudge” Heffelfinger was paid $500 by the Allegheny Athletic Association Football Club in 1892, making him the first professional football player.

Heffelfinger was born in Minneapolis and in 1895 coached the University of Minnesota football team.

Image courtesy Pro Football Hall of Fame

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Knute Rockne helmet

Helmet worn by Knute Rockne while playing for the Massillon Tigers in 1919.

A native of Norway, Rockne played professional football for Massillon and the Akron Indians in the Ohio League before going on to a legendary coaching career at the University of Notre Dame.

Image courtesy Pro Football Hall of Fame

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Jim Brown jersey

Jersey worn by Jim Brown while playing for the Cleveland Browns in the 1960s.

A four-time MVP, Brown is widely considered one of the greatest football players of all time, establishing many records as a running back for Cleveland from 1957 to 1965. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971.

Image courtesy Pro Football Hall of Fame

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Tom Dempsey kicking shoe

Kicking shoe worn by Tom Dempsey when he set an NFL record for the longest field goal in history at 63 yards while playing for the New Orleans Saints in 1970.

Dempsey, who was born without toes on his right foot, spent 11 seasons in the NFL.

Image courtesy Pro Football Hall of Fame

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Purple People Eaters

The “Purple People Eaters”—Jim Marshall (70), Alan Page (88), Gary Larsen (77), and Carl Eller (81)—line up to take on an opposing offense during a game in the early 1970s.

The foursome formed a dominating defensive line for the Vikings in the late 1960s and early ’70s.

Image courtesy Minnesota Vikings

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Fran Tarkenton and Bud Grant

Vikings quarterback Fran Tarkenton poses with head coach Bud Grant in the early 1960s.

Tarkenton led the Vikings to victory in their first regular season game in 1961 and went on to spend 13 seasons with the team. In 1986, he became the first Vikings player to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Grant coached the Vikings to four Super Bowls and an incredible streak of 11 division titles in 13 seasons. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1994.

Image courtesy Minnesota Vikings

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Mold of Jerry Rice's hands and a football

A mold of Jerry Rice’s hands and the ball that he caught when he tied the NFL record for most career receptions in 1992.

Rice helped the San Francisco 49ers to three Super Bowl titles in the late 1980s and early ‘90s. He also holds the all-time records for receiving yards and touchdowns

Image courtesy Pro Football Hall of Fame

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John Randle shoulder pads

Shoulder pads worn by John Randle, defensive tackle for the Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks, 1996-2003.

Randle was a six-time All-Pro as a member of the Vikings and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010.
 

Image courtesy Pro Football Hall of Fame

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Emmitt Smith

A playsheet and helmet used by Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith are on display.

Smith is the NFL’s all-time leader in rushing yards, rushing attempts, and rushing touchdowns. He broke Walter Payton’s record for career yards in 2002 while playing for the Dallas Cowboys.

Image courtesy Pro Football Hall of Fame

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Football thrown by Brett Favre while playing for the Minnesota Vikings in 2010 when he became the first player in NFL history to throw for more than 70,000 yards.

Favre, who played 20 seasons in the NFL, is the all-time leader in passes attempted and completed.

Image courtesy Pro Football Hall of Fame

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Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame

Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame

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