September 22, 2009
It started the nefarious "S-E-C!" chant and spread anti-Big Ten propaganda. It claims most of the country's best recruits and won over the Wall Street Journal last December. Now the South has finally wrested the museum of record from its ancestral grounds in the Midwest too:
The College Football Hall of Fame, long sought after as a crown jewel tourist attraction for the capital of the South, will touchdown in downtown Atlanta, multiple sources have told Atlanta Business Chronicle.
The move would be a tremendous victory for Atlanta, which has coveted the Hall of Fame for almost 15 years, and has actively solicited the National Football Foundation (NFF) to move it here from South Bend, Ind., for nearly two years.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution says the same thing; an official announcement is set for Thursday. Word is the land will be donated by the family of Chick-Fil-A magnate Truett Cathy, which adds to its growing gridiron cachet in the ATL -- a bowl game, a preseason "classic," a strong presence at the annual SEC Championship game and now the sport's entire history. You should have known those cows would go power-mad.
I'm not sure anybody cares much about the College Football Hall of Fame, or at all -- there are too many deserving individuals to possibly cram in there, its annual traffic (about 65,000 visitors) is less than a third of projections when it moved to South Bend from Cincinnati in the mid-nineties and its most high-profile moment involved Jimmy Clausen's commitment press conference. I don't know that South Bend feels all that differently, although the Doc's South Bend correspondent suggests beleaguered residents would emerge from their makeshift Hoovervilles to guard the shrine with torches and miles of old scrap metal fashioned into pitch forks, if only because "there's literally nothing at all else to do" in the recession-ravaged town outside of football. Symbolically, at least, it has to be another in a very long line of shots at their self-esteem around there: In football as in economics and demographics, the Rust Belt's just not where it's at anymore.