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Pittsburgh is First Stop in Football Hall Of Fame Tour

The world will soon have a chance to look at a piece of Three Rivers stadium. The Senator John Heinz History Center and the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced today they have teamed up to create a major exhibition about the history of professional football.

Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame will make its national premiere at the History Center on October 6, 2012 and will run through January 6, 2013 before embarking on a nationwide traveling tour.

The exhibit features more than 200 football artifacts including rare photos and one-of-a-kind documents from the Canton, Ohio-based Pro Football Hall of Fame collections. Many of the items have never been seen outside of the Hall of Fame.

Andy Masich, President and CEO of the History Center, says one unique exhibit is the console from an elevator Steelers President Art Rooney (also known as "The Chief") rode in at Three Rivers Stadium during the 1972 playoff game against the Oakland Raiders.

"The Chief never saw the immaculate reception. He had gotten in the elevator at Three Rivers Stadium to go down and greet the players as they came off the field and console them for their loss. What he didn't know is that Franco Harris made that amazing catch and sort of turned around the Steelers franchise," Masich said.

Not Just Equipment, Not Just History

Masich said the exhibit will be more than just jerseys and helmets.

"There'll be things that speak to the traditions and the people of pro football," Masich said.

The History Center does not feel the traditions and people of professional football can be contained to still photographs and static displays of the game's history. There will be nearly a dozen interactive displays throughout the Pittsburgh run of the exhibit, including a kiosk with bios and videos on all 273 members of the Hall of Fame, and opportunities for fans to try on vintage pads and helmets or step into an instant replay booth to see the challenges of being an NFL official.

Exhibit storylines will focus on pro football's impact on society, inspirational stories from those that have played the game, and the science behind the game. That even includes the medical science behind the game. Masich said portions of the exhibit will focus on the neuroscience of football.

"We're hoping to do a workshop on concussions. We'll also be talking to sports medicine experts about the mechanics, and the physics, and the science of sports," Masich said.

To complement the exhibit, a variety of public events are currently being planned, including appearances by Hall of Fame players and coaches. The 40th anniversary of the Immaculate Reception will be celebrated on December 23. Franco Harris will be at the museum talking to the public as part of the event.

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