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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, June 29, 2010

By Brian Bailey

Check one off "Bucket List"

Journey to Canton an immersion in NFL history

The shoes and gloves of record-setting Tennessee Titans running back and former East Carolina star Chris Johnson on display at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. (Image courtesy of the Pro Football Hall of Fame)

By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.

Many of us have one.

Some write it down, while others just keep it in their heads.

Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman gave the idea publicity in the 2007 movie by the same name.

It’s the bucket list. It’s the things you would like to do before you kick, the, uh, “bucket.”

My personal list is rather long and I don’t know if I have enough years to accomplish the entire list. Still, I’m going to give it a try.

Some items on the list are dependent on others. I want to go to Omaha for the College Baseball World Series, but I only want to go there if I am covering East Carolina.

For that matter, I want to cover the press conference announcing East Carolina’s entrance into a BCS conference. Again, some of that is out of my hands.

Most of my list involves the world of sports. Last week, I checked off one of the first items on my list, a trip to Canton, Ohio, and the Professional Football Hall of Fame.

If you are a football fan, you have to make the trip. The history of the game is captured in a variety of displays and presentations. It is truly breathtaking, and the facility is much bigger than it looks from the outside.

From the earliest football uniforms and helmets to the modern day NFL, the Hall of Fame is a Who’s Who of football.

Former Pirate Chris Johnson and his Tennessee Titans teammates got a private tour of the Hall last summer before taking on the Bills in the Hall of Fame Game that kicks off the NFL’s preseason.

C.J. then went to work, and by season’s end his shoes and gloves had found a home in Canton. Johnson became just the sixth player in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards in a single season. He also set the NFL’s single-season mark for total yards from scrimmage.

The Hall of Fame Gallery was incredible. Each bust was created with amazing detail. It was the highlight of the experience for sure.

I was really surprised that there were very few touring the Hall of Fame on my trip. It was a sparse crowd, which allowed me to take in everything at my own pace.

One of the workers said I picked a great time to come. She said that “Induction Weekend” is slam-packed and really not a good time to visit the Hall of Fame. There are just too many people that come to Canton that weekend.

This year will be one of the biggest Induction Weekends ever. The Class of 2010 includes arguably the greatest wide receiver in the game in Jerry Rice, and the greatest running back to ever play in the NFL in Emmitt Smith.

Article continues below pictures.

Brian Bailey in front of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. (Image courtesy of Brian Bailey.)
The Gallery at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. (Image courtesy of Brian Bailey.)

Chris Johnson is off to a great start in his quest for Canton. C.J. needs to get that contract worked out and then put together several more statistics-busting seasons to possibly find his bust in the Hall of Fame Gallery.

It’s well worth the trip to Canton, especially if it knocks one off of the ole Bucket List!


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Brian Bailey Archives

08/06/2010 01:56 AM


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