The Pro Football Hall of Fame is open for business again.
The Hall of Fame also hopes to host the return of football itself in August.
HOF president David Baker appeared in a video announcing the reopening of the Hall of Fame, which like many other businesses had been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Baker said on NFL Network the Hall of Fame had never been closed two days in a row before the closures this year.
— Pro Football Hall of Fame (@ProFootballHOF) June 10, 2020
There will be social distancing measures at the museum in Canton, Ohio, there will be occupancy restrictions and the museum will be giving out HOF masks, but just being open again is a good sign.
It’s a good sign for a couple of key dates in the summer as well, including the unofficial start to the season in Canton.
Hall of Fame Game, enshrinement still scheduled
The Hall of Fame Game is, technically speaking, as meaningless as NFL football can get. Starters rarely play. Key backups often sit out. It’s a fifth preseason game for two teams.
Yet, it’s important because it’s the first game. Many people tune in to watch. Tickets for this year’s game sold out in 22 minutes back in March, Baker said. Maybe it’s football played by a lot of guys who won’t stick on regular-season rosters, but it’s football.
Coronavirus cancellations created questions for the Hall of Fame Game, and the enshrinement ceremony of the new class of Hall of Famers. But Baker told NFL Network the HOF is planning for both events as scheduled, with contingency plans that include delaying the ceremony two weeks or all the way to next year.
This week Hall of Fame vice president of communications Rich Desrosiers told CBS the game between the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers on Aug. 6 was still scheduled and with fans in the stands. He said he thought the game could “almost be the test case” for the NFL.
“We’re all praying not only for the Hall of Fame Game but for the season, because we may know more 30 days from now than we know now,” Baker said on NFL Network.
By August, many sports plan to be back. Major League Baseball is still arguing over money, but that’s a separate discussion.
No offense to any other sport, but football is the one everyone will be focused on. The return of the NFL, on schedule, will be big news for many fans.
The Hall of Fame Game is always a ceremonial start to the season. This year, the game being played will be more important than ever.
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