ATLANTA — Football fans from across the country will descend on Atlanta over the next several days as the city hosts Super Bowl LIII.
While the region is hosting the biggest pro football game on the planet, the South has always been known for its love and passion for college football. It's been five years since any team outside of the states of Alabama, South Carolina and Georgia played for the national title, and the College Football Hall of Fame can be found in downtown Atlanta.
Thousands of pro football fans will venture through the doors of the College Football Hall of Fame. The helmet wall will greet them.
"Every single college football team in America (is) represented on (the helmet wall), 778 teams," the College Football Hall of Fame's CEO, Dennis Adamovich, told wsbtv.com's Nelson Hicks. "It's the only place in America you're going to see that."
But most fans know about the helmet wall. Here are eight less-known items fans will find at the College Football Hall of Fame.
1. Gary Tyrrell's trombone
The trombone was made famous in the 1982 Cal-Stanford game. Stanford's Tyrrell carried the instrument across the end zone as Cal's Kevin Moen capped a chaotic, five-lateral kickoff return for a touchdown. It became known as "The Play" and gave Cal the 25-20 victory.
2. The first penalty flag
Officials used horns and whistles to signal penalties prior to 1941. That year, Youngstown State coach Dwight Beene devised the first penalty flag. His wife, Irma, sewed it together, becoming the Betsy Ross of college football.
3. Rule changes over the years
Rules in college football change every year, but it's funny to look back at some of the earlier rule changes. In 1911, organizers decided to make it illegal to hide the ball under clothing. In 1888, the rules were changed to allow tackling below the waist. In 1939, it was decided that players had to wear helmets. It wasn't until 1972 that the NCAA allowed college freshmen to play.
4. Football from the longest rivalry in college football history
There are a lot of great rivalries in college football. But the oldest rivalry may surprise you. Lafayette vs. Lehigh is the most played and longest uninterrupted series in all of college football. The series began in 1884. This is a game ball from the 1899 game.
5. Ticket from the 1989 Auburn vs. Alabma game
While the Alabama and Auburn football rivalry dates back more than 100 years, it wasn't played on the campus at Auburn University in Jordan-Hare Stadium until 1989. Up to that point, it was primarily played at Birmingham's Legion Field, a "neutral site" but one that Alabama typically used for several home games. Auburn coach Pat Dye compared it to the fall of the Berlin Wall. Here's the intro to the big game.
6. UGA's sweater and collar
Bulldog fans love their mascot! They can check out the sweater and collar that the UGA mascot wore in 2013. Since 1956, the Seiler family has provided the white English bulldogs that have served as the beloved mascot. In 1997, UGA V was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated and named the country's best mascot.
7. Mississippi State cow bell
Ever wonder why Mississippi State fans have cow bells? Legend says a cow wandered onto the field in a game vs. Ole Miss in the 1940s. Ever since, cow bells have been gridiron good luck at Missippi State.
8. Football from the longest game in college football history
The NFL's rule on overtime games isn't great. They could learn something from the college game. Since 1996, college football games that are tied head to overtime, where each team is given a possesion and chance to score. If the score is tied after both possesions, there's a second overtime. In 2001, a new record was set when Arkansas and Ole Miss played seven overtimes. Arkansas won the game 58-56.
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