The NFL notebook …
CANTON, Ohio ó When the Pro Football Hall of Fame officials made plans to establish a permanent Super Bowl exhibit, they didn’t have to think hard on who to name it after.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was on hand Saturday to formally dedicate the Lamar Hunt Super Bowl Gallery, named after the late Kansas City Chiefs owner who played a significant role in establishing the championship game, inspiring its nickname and even providing the name for the Lombardi Trophy.
“I don’t think the NFL could ever express its gratefulness to his contributions, but I hope this gallery will do that in a special way,” Goodell said, before he joined members of the Hunt family, numerous Hall-of-Famers and Hall officials for a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The dedication came during Hall of Fame weekend celebrations and as the NFL prepares to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the American Football League, which Hunt founded. It was the AFL-NFL merger in 1966 that eventually led to the inaugural Super Bowl, which the Chiefs lost 35-10 to the Green Bay Packers.
The gallery took nine months to build at a cost of $2.4 million split, between the Hunt family and the NFL. It includes a theater that shows Super Bowl highlights, and a room dedicated solely to the Lombardi Trophy.
Hunt, the first person with AFL ties inducted into the Hall in 1972, died in December 2006.
Hunt’s wife, Norma, said she was overjoyed when Hall officials approached her with the idea of what to call the gallery.
“There is no honor on earth that Lamar would rather have than this one, especially because he loved the Super Bowl and the Hall of Fame so much,” Norma Hunt said. “He always saw the success of the Super Bowl as the crowning achievement of the American Football League.
GOODELL ON ECONOMY: Noting the struggling economy, Goodell reiterated why NFL owners find it important to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement with players.
“It’s just a cold hard reality of what’s happening,” Goodell said. “If your costs are rising faster than your revenues, that’s not a sustainable model. At some point in time you can’t run a business like that.”
Goodell said he believes players recognize the issues ó and how the economy is hurting NFL fans ó and hopes the two sides can work together.
He couldn’t provide an answer as to when the economy might improve.
“I’ve got all kinds of economists telling me things, and I’m not sure I believe any of them,” he said. “None of us, at least in the NFL, are going to be able to judge when people are going to come out of this economic cycle. I know right now our fans are hurting, and we have to be responsive to that.”
WOODSON’S NEW ZERO: Defensive back Rod Woodson wore No. 26 on the field as part of a 17-year Hall-of-Fame career. His new number is ZERO, in becoming a spokesman for The Depend Campaign Project to End Prostate Cancer.
Woodson became involved after learning the frequency black men suffer from prostate cancer. And that includes fellow 2009 Hall of Fame class member Bob Hayes, who died of the disease in 2002 at age 59. According to ZERO, black men are twice as likely to have traces of prostate cancer in their system through their lifetime.
“As men, we think we are like Supermen, and nothing can really hurt us, and that is the farthest from the truth,” Woodson said. He noted he took his test shortly after learning Hall-of-Famer Mike Haynes was tested at 44 and had traces of prostate cancer.
“The initial test is painless and harmless. And prostate cancer is treatable and beatable,” Woodson said. “I have five kids and want to see them grow up, and see my grandkids.”
END ZONE: Bills HOF QB Jim Kelly doesn’t think this will be the last big Buffalo bash in Canton now that Bruce Smith and Ralph Wilson are being enshrined. Kelly is confident that WR Andre Reed and special teams ace Steve Tasker have a good chance of being inducted. … More than 80 Hall-of-Famers are scheduled to be in attendance this weekend. … New enshrinees are reminded to remember thanking their wives or significant others during their induction speeches, according to Bills HOF G Billy Shaw. It’s called “The Billy Shaw Rule,” after he forgot to mention his wife, Patsy, in his speech in 1999. “I still haven’t lived it down,” he said.