The College Football Hall of Fame has been around since 1978 when the first facility was opened on Kings Island in New York. That building closed down in 1992 and a new one was reopened in 1995 in South Bend, Indiana on the campus of Notre Dame; the school with the most players and coaches in the Hall of Fame.
In 2009, the National Football Foundation announced they would move the Hall once again, this time to Atlanta, Georgia. The new facility opened on August 23, 2014 and it is truly one of the most immersive football-related facilities in the entire country.
Visitors enter the Hall and are immediately greeted with the site of the giant wall of football helmets from across the country, featuring schools from Alabama to North Dakota State to to Chadron State to Wisconsin-Whitewater. After you select which school you would like to represent, you begin your tour through the facility and it’s not just a hallway filled with names of players and coaches.
You truly feel like you are involved in the many activities to behold.
The journey begins with the Hall of Fame’s “Why We Love College Football” section that features not only the Heisman Trophy, CFP Trophy, and other major bowl trophies, but also a large interactive wall that allows guests to scroll through photos and videos of the favorite teams featuring big plays and the cheerleaders.
The GameDay Theater features a short video titled “The Game of Your Life” and if you don’t feel like tackling somebody after watching it, you might as well leave because you aren’t truly a football fan. It is shot in 4K video and the Hall of Fame is one of the first major entities to use that feature and it also features scenes from some of the best games of the 2013 college football season.
The Fans’ GameDay section is easily where the most fun is to be had. One of the biggest things that fans, both young and old, will instantly fall in love with is the chance to join ESPN analysts Chris Fowler and Desmond Howard on the set of College GameDay.
This section shows off the tailgating experience from the early 20th century all the way up to what it has become today. Fans can also experience some of the greatest parts of the football world that don’t involve the football game: the marching band and fight songs.
The Building a Champion display shows the evolution the game has made in every aspect of the uniform. From the jerseys, which were once actually onesies, to the helmets without facemasks and one that actually features barbs in place of the mask.
Fans will also get to experience what it takes to be a great football player and a myriad of displays that offers the greats of the game. From HBCUs to the service academies to John Heisman, yes the man for whom the award is named.
The next section is where you get to explore what is like to be in certain teams’ stadiums. The Game Time section of the Hall of Fame immerses fans in the grandeur that is college football.
It allows you to delve into some of the greatest rivalries in college football. You can even give your own playcall of some of the greatest moments in history.
The tour of the Hall of Fame draws to a close with the National Football Foundation Building Leaders section. Fans get to see the trophies that are given out to the “Academic Heisman” as well as the NFF Hall of Fame rings.
The College Football Hall of Fame occupies the third floor of the building. More than 11,000 players and coaches have been inducted into the Hall and fans get to experience every single one of them with an in-depth look into coaches like Dana Bible and Vincey Dooley to players like Billy Cannon and Doug Flutie.
You can read about all these players on ten different augmented reality displays, which allows you to scroll through the more than 300 schools represented in the Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame also serves a great place to host events and this year it will host the 25th Annual Home Depot College Football Awards Show.
The final section of the Hall of Fame lies of the ground floor and it easily the place that young guests enjoy the most. The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Skill Zone allows guests to participate in football drills from kicking an extra point to running through tackling dummies.
The Hall of Fame isn’t a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but it is certainly something every college football fan should experience. Located in Downtown Atlanta, the College Football Hall of Fame is just a few blocks from Phillips Arena and the Georgia Dome.
So next time you are in town catching an Atlanta Falcons game, take an hour or two out of your weekend and experience the diverse facility that you surely won’t regret paying for.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports