CANTON (News Talk 1480 WHBC) – Pro Football Hall of Fame President and CEO David Baker stood before the Media at McKinley High School this afternoon, making a few major announcements about what will be coming up this next year in Canton. In honor of the 100th season of the National Football League, the Pro Football Hall of Fame will be expanding the 2020 class to 20 members.
The Hall of Fame will still choose it’s tradition five member class of the modern era. Not much will change as far as that selection process is concerned. The five new members will be enshrined in a ceremony on the first weekend of August, similar to what will go on this weekend with the class of 2019.
After that, things become a tad different. The next 10 members chosen will be Senior selections.
“With 100 years of history behind us, there is a belief among most of our selectors that there are so many deserving seniors that might have fallen between the cracks,” said Baker. “People don’t remember their history. We can go back, look at and assess and examine again.”
Baker continued saying, “There are seven members of all decade teams who are not in the Hall of Fame right now.”
Following the 10 Senior members, three contributors to the game and two coaches will also be enshrined to make up the grand total of 20 overall new members.
While the process for the five modern selections will not change, the 15 other selections (10 seniors, three contributors and two coaches) will all be chosen by a newly developed “Blue Ribbon Committee” that Baker says will be made up of selectors, members of the seniors committee, historian committee along with a few members of the Hall of Fame or “Gold Jackets.”
The Blue Ribbon Committee will be made up of 25 members. Baker says all the members have been approved but not all of them have yet to accept the invitation to be a part of it just yet.
Due to the size of the ceremonial class, the entire process will be a bit different in 2020. The Hall of Fame plans to begin its selection process and announce the classes earlier than normal. There will also be two different ceremonies where the large class is honored. In addition to enshrinement weekend, there will be a 100th birthday celebration where those who aren’t honored during the weekend in August will be recognized.
The centennial for the National Football League will be on September 17, 2020. Baker says the event will either be a bit earlier or later than that date but overall, nothing has officially decided. He also says there are no plans as to how many members of the class will be honored at each event. That decision will be made after the class is selected.
“I don’t know yet if it is going to be half and half, or if it going to be eight and 12 but it is dependent largely on who is selected.”
Baker later mentioned that there is a chance which some of the senior players who will be chosen will be posthumous, thus not physically in attendance for their enshrinement, clearing up some time and space.
Along with the announcement of the big class, Baker was joined at the podium by Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village CEO Mike Crawford who spoke about the progress of the Hall of Fame Village.
“We’ve built a wonderful collection of assets, now it’s time to build the destination,” said Crawford. “The destination in phase two will allow us to add some things for people to enjoy when the come (to Canton). Hotels, Water Parks, things where they can both live and work and in an environment of excellence.”
Crawford then went on to further elaborate on the announcement that was made Thursday evening, on how Johnson Controls Hall of Fame village signed an agreement in principal with Gordon Point Corp., to merge the village with the Gordon Point to become a publicly traded company which will be based in Canton.
“It will give us a lot of capital to bring in so we can start delivering upon this vision, this dream we have had for awhile,” said Crawford. “But we will continue to raise capitol because this is a project that will never be finished.”
Crawford says the goal is to have phase two completed, which includes two new hotels along with much more, by 2022.
You can watch and listen to the entire press conference from earlier today by clicking on the video below.