Chat with Peyton Manning, appear on ESPN's College Football Gameday set and kick an extra point. Visitors can do it all on a trip to the College Football Hall of Fame.
And on the first Sunday of both May and June, visitors can do it for free.
The Hall teamed up with Southwest Airlines for Southwest Sundays. On May 5 and June 2, fans can experience all that the downtown Atlanta attraction offers free of charge.
In addition to the regular offerings, the day will include giveaways, trivia, Fumbles the mascot and DJ Willy Wow.
The Hall opened in downtown Atlanta in 2014. It's next to the Georgia Aquarium and Centennial Olympic Park. It takes visitors on an interactive journey through the players, coaches, moments, achievements, schools, stadiums and personalities that have shaped college football since its inception.
That journey begins at the helmet wall.
"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."
Once visitors take in all 778 helmets and locate their team's, it's time to register. Registering provides fans with an all-access pass to their personalized visit to the Hall. The pass stores all of the content guests can create on a trip. Make an appearance on the College Football Gameday set and a prediction for the big game, and it's all stored in the all-access pass' locker that guests can access long after they've gone home for the day. Paint your face for the big game, perform your team's fight song; it's all stored to relive again or share.
The all-access pass also is the key to much of the interactivity. A Georgia fan doesn't want to learn all about Georgia Tech's history, and a Yellow Jacket could care less about those Bulldogs. With the pass, when a Tennessee fan approaches the 52-foot touchscreen wall at the "Why We Love College Football" area, they can sing "Rocky Top." A Miami fan is gonna learn all about the "U," and a Texas fan can snap a photo with Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams. The Hall has over 65,000 pieces of digital content, and its constantly growing.
"I wasn't expecting to see some moments from my alma mater, the University of Arkansas," visitor and former Arkansas player Desmond Sims said. "Getting to see some moments of history that I'm familiar with and was a part of, that was a surprise."
The interactivity doesn't end there. Guests can put their football skills to the test by attempting to kick a field goal, make a touchdown throw and win the game on a diving catch at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Skill Zone. Afterward, get some tips from Peyton Manning at the "Meet the Players" exhibit.
"He's waiting for you to walk up to him," Adamovich said. "And when you do walk up to him, he's going to tell you about all the regiment, how he ate, what his studies were, how he kept a healthy lifestyle. I think that's a really important piece of what we're doing as well, trying to bring the fan closer to the players."
After talking over the game plan with Manning, guests can check out something he was never able to put his hands on, the Heisman Trophy. The National Championship trophy and other top awards can be found in the hall of fame, too.
"Just being a football player, those kind of things, you know, some of the things you strive for, and just getting to be that close to them, it was a powerful moment," Sims said.
Most people would expect to see the game's most important memorabilia inside the Hall of Fame, but some of the relics from the game's history are here, too. There's the trombone from "The Play" from the 1982 Cal-Stanford game when the trombone player playing it got run over in the end zone on Cal's kickoff return for a touchdown on the game's final play. The first penalty flag ever used can be found at the Hall of Fame, and there are clips from President Ronald Reagan, actor John Wayne and journalist Tom Brokaw talking about their time as football players.
There’s plenty more to see and do at the College Football Hall of Fame. Check out the evolution of football equipment, experience the game’s greatest rivalries, see the players enshrined in the Hall or strap on the Oculus headset and drop into your team’s stadium as the players and cheerleaders go running by and experience the excitement of college football in the Game Day Theater.
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