College Football Hall of Fame

College Football Hall of Fame
111 South St. Joseph Street
South Bend, IN
800-440-FAME (3263)

Open: Thanksgiving through Memorial Day, Monday-Sunday, 10 am – 5 pm; Memorial Day through Thanksgiving, Monday-Thursday 10 am – 5 pm, Friday-Saturday 9 am – 6 pm, Sunday 9 am – 5 pm. Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

Admission: Adults $11.00, Children 5-12 $5.00, Students 13-college & Seniors $8.00. Handicapped Accessible.

College Football Hall of Fame Inductees 1951-1960
College Football Hall of Fame Inductees 1961-1970
College Football Hall of Fame Inductees 1971-1980
College Football Hall of Fame Inductees 1981-1990
College Football Hall of Fame Inductees 1991-2000
College Football Hall of Fame Inductees 2000-2010

College football has been around for over a century, and the amazing evolution of this sport is perfectly captured at the College Football Hall of Fame. I’d have to say this is one of our favorites because it captures the fun of the game, not just commemorates the accomplishments.

The setup of this museum is kind of different than most, since virtually all of the displays are on a lower level, underground! To get there, you’ll walk down a 100-yard long (get it?) spiral staircase encircling a 40 ft tall sculpture by _____________. The sculpture follows the path of a college football player, from a little boy emulating his gridiron heroes, training with his high school coaches, the fanfare and challenges of being a college football player, and ultimately graduating from college as an educated, thanks to being a student-athlete.

The centerpiece of the museum is the huge Stadium Theatre, which is filled with life-size sculptures which “talk” about the game from their respective vantage points, including players, coaches, parents, classmates, cheerleaders, and even reporters. Hall of Fame Honorees are presented by decade. Each one is shown on a wooden tile with their likeness, name, school, and the years they played. There’s also a video kiosk for each decade – just choose your favorite player and you’ll see video of their college performances (just photos for the old timers!). No matter what how old you are, or whether or not you’re a football fan, you’ll recognize some of the names. I checked out Terry Bradshaw, Larry Czonka, Mike Ditka, John Elway, Woody Hayes, Gale Sayers, Roger Staubach, Joe Theisman, Herschel Walker, and Reggie White.

One of the best features of the College Football Hall of Fame is all of the interactive things you can try. Ever tried to kick a field goal or score a touchdown by rushing? See how well you do – it’s tougher than it looks! I couldn’t kick the ball higher than a couple of feet, but I did manage to throw a touchdown pass. Brad scored a touchdown and kicked a field goal.

My favorite room focused on the fans – including cheerleaders, marching bands, and the tradition of tailgating. You can play the fight song of your favorite school while listening to play-by-play broadcasts of great games.

There’s lots of history here too, like the egg-shaped ball from the 1883 Yale vs. Princeton game, which Yale won 1 goal to 0, before the days of touchdowns. Red Grange’s jersey is on display in the 1920’s exhibit. Since one of our best friends is a big Oklahoma fan, I enjoyed the exhibit about the Game of the Century – the 1971 contest between Nebraska and Oklahoma. The History of Uniforms exhibit is also great

Check out the ever-changing exhibits of this year’s top 5 bowl games – Rose, Fiesta, Orange, Sugar and Cotton (though after 2007 the Cotton Bowl will be replaced by the BSC Bowl). I had no idea there were so many major college football awards until I saw the exhibit of the winners of the Heisman, Nagurski, Maxwell, Butkus, Camp, Biletnikoff, Outland, Walker, Lombardi, O’Brien, and Thorpe Awards.

Of course there’s a nice gift shop, and a small cafeteria too. Look up when you buy your tickets, and you’ll see the top 25 college teams as selected by USA Today, which may or may not agree with the top 25 selected by _________ or _________. The banners change weekly during the season, with the top reigning teams locked in position from season’s end until the new one starts. Outside there’s a tiny football field, Gridiron Plaza, complete with goal posts, yard lines and artificial turf. The museum loves it when kids start playing out there.

Annual selection takes place in March; enshrinement of the new class takes place the third weekend of July.