In many ways, Canton, Ohio is the heart of professional football. The American Professional Football Association, later renamed the National Football League, was founded here in 1920. The legendary Jim Thorpe played his first professional football game with the Canton Bulldogs here. And it was here that a group of citizens?all passionate football fans?campaigned for the city to open the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963.
Just like the game, the Hall has grown steadily in size and popularity over the years, welcoming visitors from around the world. It now occupies 118,000 square feet of space filled with high-tech interactive exhibits, massive photographic murals, and exclusive artifacts. The Hall's Ralph Wilson, Jr. Pro Football Research and Preservation Center features an expansive collection of pro football documents and artifacts. The Lamar Hunt Super Bowl Gallery brings every Super Bowl back to life, and the Other Leagues Gallery showcases the many pro leagues that have at one time challenged the NFL. Although a teletrivia game and call-the-play theater let visitors relive important moments in the sport, the Pro Football Hall of Fame creates its own history as well. Each year during the Enshrinement Festival, the Hall inducts new players, coaches, and contributors into its ranks, and these legends take the stage to deliver rousing and often emotional acceptance speeches. The Pro Football Hall of Fame also fosters the development of future fans and players through its educational outreach programs, including a summer training camp taught by coaching staffs and athletes from local universities. The camp includes lessons on health, nutrition, and proper Gatorade-dousing techniques.
Founded by NFL veteran Don Beebe and athletic expert Dr. Jeffrey Schutt, House of Speed forges sportspeople of all stripes into world-class athletes with specialized equipment and personalized performance tracking. Once Steve Halloran and his crew arrange sweat donors into small groups of 5–25 (with at least one trainer for every 10–15 athletes), he targets a slew of individual body areas with an optimized warm-up. The PowerPull resistance machine teaches nimble feet to run with correct form and mechanics and the Bear squat machine's angled footplate takes stress off of the back and knees and boosts vertical propulsion for more satisfying high-fives with blimp pilots. Dartfish instant video feedback lets trainees review every juke, jump, and follow-through. House of Speed's proprietary MySpeed web application tracks progress using comprehensive data from eight core drills, allowing participants to compare their stats with those of nationwide competitors.
Since opening in 1998, House of Speed locations have trained more than 40,000 athletes, including Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and former Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner. The Chicago Bears, St. Louis Rams, and the University of Illinois have also used House of Speed's off-season training programs to keep players out of summer bicycle gangs and seedy all-night fireplace stores.