Pro Football Hall of Fame Game

Pro Football Hall of Fame Game
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
2010 season
August 8, 2010
Dallas Cowboys 16, Cincinnati Bengals 7
2011 season
Canceled due to 2011 NFL Lockout

The Pro Football Hall of 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

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). From 1971 to 2008, and again in 2010, the opponents were one AFC team vs. one NFC team. 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 surviving original AFL owners still alive and owning their teams.

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 Jacksonville Jaguars and the 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. 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). The NFL has not ruled out having the Bears and Rams play in 2012.

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

Television and radio

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, 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).

Westwood One 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 the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland 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.

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 are 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

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


Team W L T Pct. Last appearance
Washington Redskins 5 0 0 1.000 2008
Chicago Bears 4 0 0 1.000 2005
Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders 3 0 0 1.000 2006
Carolina Panthers 1 0 0 1.000 1995
Kansas City Chiefs 2 1 0 .667 2003
Minnesota Vikings 2 1 0 .667 1997
New England Patriots 2 1 0 .667 2000
Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams 2 1 0 .667 2001
San Francisco 49ers 2 1 0 .667 2000
New York Giants 2 1 1 .625 2002
Cleveland Browns 3 2 0 .600 1999
Pittsburgh Steelers 3 2 0 .600 2007
Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts 2 2 0 .500 2008
Philadelphia Eagles 2 2 0 .500 2006
St. Louis/Arizona Cardinals 1 1 1 .500 1986
New York Jets 1 1 0 .500 1992
Seattle Seahawks 1 1 0 .500 1997
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1 1 0 .500 1998
Green Bay Packers 1 2 1 .375 2003
Cincinnati Bengals 1 2 0 .333 2010
Atlanta Falcons 1 2 0 .333 1994
Denver Broncos 1 2 0 .333 2004
Detroit Lions 1 2 0 .333 1991
Dallas Cowboys 1 3 0 .250 2010
New Orleans Saints 1 3 0 .250 2007
San Diego Chargers 0 1 1 .250 1994
Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans 1 2 0 .333 2009
Houston Texans 0 1 0 .000 2002
Jacksonville Jaguars 0 1 0 .000 1995
Buffalo Bills 0 3 0 .000 2009
Miami Dolphins 0 3 0 .000 2005

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). 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- 24 seasons: Arizona Cardinals (last appearance - 1986 [as St. Louis Cardinals]); 19 seasons: Detroit Lions (last appearance - 1991); 18 seasons: New York Jets (last appearance - 1992)

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

All three Cardinals appearances have been as the St. Louis Cardinals; they 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

External links

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