College Football Hall of Fame

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College Football Hall of Fame
College Football Hall of Fame logo.png
College Football Hall of Fame is located in Downtown Atlanta
College Football Hall of Fame
Location in Downtown Atlanta
Location 250 Marietta St. NW
Atlanta, Georgia 30313
Coordinates 33°45′38″N 84°23′44″W / 33.760442°N 84.395564°W / 33.760442; -84.395564
Type College sports hall of fame
Director John W. Stephenson, Jr.
Curator Kent Stephens

Coordinates: 33°45′37.59″N 84°23′44.03″W / 33.7604417°N 84.3955639°W / 33.7604417; -84.3955639

The College Football Hall of Fame is a hall of fame and museum devoted to college football. In August 2014, the College Football Hall of Fame and Chick-fil-A Fan Experience opened in downtown Atlanta, Georgia. Previously located in South Bend, Indiana, the new Hall of Fame is a 94,256 square feet (8,756.7 m2) attraction located in the heart of Atlanta’s sports, entertainment and tourism district, and is adjacent to the Georgia World Congress Center and Centennial Olympic Park.

The National Football Foundation (NFF) launched the Hall in 1951 to immortalize the players and coaches of college football. In 2009, Atlanta Hall Management, Inc. partnered with the NFF to construct and operate the new Hall of Fame facility, which will also provide a platform for community outreach, education and character development initiatives, as well as serve as a special event space in Atlanta.

When located in South Bend, Indiana, it was connected to a convention center and situated in the city's renovated downtown district, 2 miles (3.2 km) south of the University of Notre Dame campus. This location closed December 30, 2012.[1]

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Early transiency and the move to South Bend[edit]

College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind. featured a newly installed Spriturf artificial turf field. The South Bend location closed on Dec. 31, 2012.
College Football Hall of Fame side entrance.
Blocking activity cage.

Original plans[2] called for the Hall of Fame to be located at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, the location of the first contest under rules now considered to be those of modern football, between teams from Rutgers and the College of New Jersey, now Princeton University; Rutgers won 6–4. Rutgers donated land near its football stadium, office space, and administrative support. After years of collecting donations for the construction of the building with ground not having been broken and no plans to do so, the New Jersey Attorney General began an investigation of the finances of the Hall of Fame's foundation, the National Football Foundation. In response, the Foundation moved its operations to New York City, where it continued to collect donations for several years.

When the New York Attorney General's office began its own investigation, the foundation moved to Kings Mills, Ohio, where a building finally was constructed adjacent to Kings Island in 1978. The Hall opened with excellent attendance figures early on, but visitation dwindled dramatically as time went on, and the facility and its adjacent Galbreath Field football stadium closed in 1992.[3]

Despite estimates that the South Bend location would attract more than 150,000 visitors a year, the Hall of Fame drew about 115,000 people the first year after its opening day of August 25, 1995,[4] and about 80,000 annually after that.[5]

Move to Atlanta[edit]

In 2009, the National Football Foundation decided to move the College Football Hall of Fame to Atlanta, Georgia. The possibility of moving the museum has been brought up in other cities, including Dallas, which had the financial backing of billionaire T. Boone Pickens.[6] However, the National Football Foundation ultimately decided on Atlanta for the next site. The new $68.5 million museum opened on August 23, 2014. It is located next to Centennial Olympic Park, which is near other attractions such as the Georgia Aquarium, the World of Coca-Cola, CNN Center, and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.[7][8] Plans for a health museum also have been announced.[6] The Hall of Fame is located near the Georgia Institute of Technology of the ACC and roughly 70 miles (110 km) from the University of Georgia of the SEC. The new building broke ground on January 28, 2013.[9]

The facility tops out at 94,256 square feet (8,756.7 m2) and contains approximately 50,000 square feet (4,600 m2) of exhibit and event space, interactive displays and a 45-yard indoor football field.[10][11] Atlanta Hall Management operates the College Football Hall of Fame.[9]

The Hall of Fame's founding partners include AT&T, Chick-fil-A, the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, Coca-Cola, and Kia Motors. The Hall’s official sponsors are Brasfield & Gorrie, Georgia Pacific, Georgia Power, The Home Depot, Invest Atlanta, Omni Hotels & Resorts, Piedmont Healthcare, Regions Bank, Southwest Airlines, Sporturf, and Under Armour.[12]


The College Football Hall of Fame is broken up into multiple galleries, including the Hall of Fame exhibit, which resides on the third floor of the building.

The tour begins at the Entry Tunnel with large images of players in action. It proceeds to The Quad, which is anchored by the Helmet Wall, featuring helmets from all 768 college football teams, across all divisions and leagues.

Why We Love College Football[edit]

The Why We Love College Football exhibit features trophies and a large, touch-sensitive, 52-foot media wall filled with content such as photos and videos of players, fans, cheerleaders and marching bands.

Game Day Theater[edit]

The Game Day Theater features a ultra-high definition 4K film The Game of Your Life, a behind-the-scenes look into the experience of a game day through the perspectives of former players and coaches.

Fans' Game Day[edit]

The Fans’ Game Day exhibit highlights tailgating, digital face painting, bands, fight songs, mascots, cheerleading, and traditions. The gallery features the interactive ESPN College GameDay Desk where fans will be able to virtually join ESPN analysts at a reproduction of the College GameDay desk.

Building a Champion[edit]

The Building a Champion exhibit takes visitors inside the world of players and coaches and includes a Q&A with former players about life as a college student-athlete. The Evolution of Equipment exhibit traces the advances made in protective gear. Other exhibits pay homage to historically black colleges and universities, the service academies, coaches who changed the game, and John Heisman, whose playbook has been digitally scanned for viewing.

Game Time[edit]

The Game Time gallery allows visitors to explore the rivalries of college football and invites visitors to call one of college football’s most memorable plays from the broadcast booth. Visitors to Game Time can also watch the Greatest Moments video and will be able to guide their own college football program to the championship through an interactive game. The 360 Virtual Stadiums exhibit takes visitors straight to the field of various college football stadiums.

National Football Foundation Building Leaders[edit]

National Football Foundation Building Leaders is a tribute to the mission and programs of the National Football Foundation (NFF) and the key awards it distributes annually.

College Football Hall of Fame[edit]

The Hall of Fame pays homage to the tradition and heritage of the game. Through 10 augmented reality displays, visitors can select video and images of players and coaches from their favorite school.

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Skill Zone[edit]

The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Skill Zone is located on the 45-yard line and allows fans to engage in a variety of physical activities and football drills.


As of 2016, there are 977 players and 211 coaches enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame, representing 305 schools.[13][14]

Players by school[edit]

Institution Players inducted
Notre Dame 45
USC 40
Michigan 31
Ohio State 25
Yale 25
Army 24
Princeton 24
Alabama 20
Navy 20
Oklahoma 20
Tennessee 20
Harvard 18
Minnesota 18
Penn 18
Pittsburgh 18
Stanford 18
Nebraska 17
Penn State 17
Texas 17
California 16
Northwestern 15
Washington 15
Georgia 13
Georgia Tech 13

Criteria for induction[edit]

The National Football Foundation outlines specific criteria that may be used for evaluating a possible candidate for induction into the Hall of Fame. NFF members and the coaches, athletic directors, and sports information officials representing member schools may submit nominations for consideration. Nominees with the highest votes received from one of the eight District Screening Committees (DSC) located closest to the nominee's college or university are included on that year's ballot, which is distributed to all NFF dues-paying members. The selection of Hall of Fame inductees, however, ultimately is determined by the Foundation's Honor Court.

Criteria for player nominees[edit]

  1. A player must have received major first team All-America recognition.
  2. A player becomes eligible for consideration by the Foundation's Honors Court 10 years after his last year of intercollegiate football played.
  3. While each nominee's football achievements are of prime consideration, his post-football record as a citizen is also weighed. He must have proven himself worthy as a citizen, carrying the ideals of football forward into his relations with his community and his fellow man with love of his country. Consideration may also be given for academic honors and whether or not the candidate earned a college degree.
  4. In accordance with the 50-year rule,† players must have played their last year of intercollegiate football within the last 50 years. For example, to be eligible for the 2005 ballot, the player must have played his last year in 1955 or thereafter.
  5. The nominee must have ended his professional athletic career prior to the time of the nomination.

†Those players that do not comply with the 50-year rule and coaches who have not won 60% of their games may still be eligible for consideration by the Division I-A and Divisional Honors Review Committees, which examine unique cases.


Criteria for coach nominees[edit]

  1. While each nominee's football achievements are of prime consideration, his post-football record as a citizen is also weighed. He must have proven himself worthy as a citizen, carrying the ideals of football forward into his relations with his community and his fellow man with love of his country.
  2. A coach becomes eligible three years after retirement or immediately following retirement provided he is at least 70 years of age. Active coaches become eligible at 75 years of age.
  3. The nominee must have held a head coaching position at the collegiate level for at least ten years.
  4. The nominee must hold at least a .600 career record over the course of 100 games or more.


The eligibility criteria have changed over time, and have occasionally led to criticism—Dennis Dodd of has said,

"The NFF election process is arcane and confusing. Based on current rules, Notre Dame's Joe Montana will never be in the College Football Hall of Fame. He was never an All-American on a team recognized by the NCAA. If that sounds outrageous, consider that at one time hall of famers had to actually graduate." (emphasis in original)[16]


  1. ^ Tetlak, Amanda (2012-12-30). "College Football Hall of Fame Closes in South Bend". WSJV-TV. Retrieved 2012-12-30. 
  3. ^ Rohrer, Jim (2011-08-09). "College Football Hall of Fame not enough to bring fortune to Mason". Cincinnati Enquirer. 
  4. ^ Lesar, Al (2012-12-30). "Hall of Fame Curator Here from Beginning to End". South Bend Tribune. Retrieved 2013-01-02. 
  5. ^ "Hall moving from South Bend to Atlanta". Associated Press. September 23, 2009. Retrieved March 2, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "Hall hoping to open new building in 2012". Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia: Associated Press). September 24, 2009. Retrieved March 2, 2013. 
  7. ^ Lesar, Al (2012-07-22). "Hall to Be Gone by December". South Bend Tribune. Retrieved 2012-07-24. 
  8. ^ "Hall hoping to open new building in 2012". September 24, 2009. Retrieved March 2, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b "Stephenson to lead development of College Football Hall of Fame". Atlanta Business Chronicle. February 4, 2013. Retrieved May 14, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Interactivity at Core of Football Hall Design". Civil Engineering. March 19, 2013. Retrieved May 14, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Slideshow: Jan. 28 groundbreaking set for College Football Hall of Fame". Atlanta Business Chronicle. December 31, 2012. Retrieved May 14, 2013. 
  12. ^ "College hall sponsors clear way for construction". Sports Business Journal. November 19, 2012. Retrieved July 23, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Overview". College Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved May 22, 2014. 
  14. ^ "NFF proudly announces impressive 2014 College Football Hall of Fame class" (Press release). College Football Hall of Fame. May 22, 2014. Retrieved May 23, 2014. 
  15. ^ a b "College Football Hall of Fame: Eligibility, Screening & Procedure." National Football Foundation.
  16. ^ Dodd, Dennis (May 15, 2012). "'The Boz' still being punished for being... a college kid". Retrieved May 15, 2012. 

External links[edit]