Dear Hall of Fame: Get smart with a lesson from Walmart


(Photos by Clark Judge)

By Clark Judge

Talk of Fame Network

A smart man once said, “I know a good idea when I can steal one,” and that works for me. So let’s have it work for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Meaning? Meaning it should steal an idea from Walmart.

OK, let’s call it something else — borrow … pinch … imitate … follow … I don’t care. Just do it. Where Walmart recently announced it would return greeters to its doors, the Pro Football Hall of Fame do the same … and introduce greeters to its doors in Canton. Think about it. Not only do you go to Canton to view bronzed busts, photographs and memorabilia of the game’s 303 greatest players, coaches, owners and GMs; you get to meet them, too.

I’m serious.

We talk of the joy that comes with discovering “pieces of living history,” right? Well, get in line because living history is waiting inside the doors of 2121 George Halas Drive. One week it would be someone like … oh, I don’t know, Dan Fouts. The next it would be Ronnie Lott. Then Bill Parcells. Tony Dungy. And Joe Namath. Each week it would be someone different, and with 171 living Hall of Famers out there it should be no problem finding gold jackets for each of the year’s 52 weeks.

Housing them shouldn’t be a problem, either — not with an ambitious plan to create a Hall-of-Fame Village, the $500 million development that includes a residential complex for Hall of Famers as well as a four-star hotel. Put visiting Hall of Famers there for a weekend … maybe three-to-five days … then point them toward the front door of the Hall.

And hand them plenty of Sharpies.

If you want to make it easier for them, invite two in at once and divide each day into two shifts of reasonable hours. Then I’d get out the word … and get out of the way.

Look, every December we stand in line for a minute with Santa, and it’s one of the highlights of the year. Well, this is Christmas every day for the pro football zealot, with one difference: You don’t have to wait for your wish to be granted. It happens then and there, whether you’re naughty or nice.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame is expanding its brand and its reach. It’s expanding its experience, too, with the annual August induction turning into a Super Bowl-like celebration that covers four days and includes more, far more, than just a game and Hall-of-Fame ceremony. A year ago, for instance, Aerosmith staged a Friday-night concert that drew over 20,000. This year Tim McGraw is the featured entertainer.

The idea is to attract more attention and more visitors to Canton, and it’s working. So keep it working by including Hall of Famers ’round the clock to welcome visitors to their house.

Like the man said, “I know a good idea when I steal one,” and this one is the product of a conversation with Talk of Fame Network co-host Rick Gosselin on our recent broadcast. When I asked whom he’d suggest as greeters at the doors of the Hall he didn’t name one or two candidates. He suggested the entire field of gold jackets, and the more he explained how things would work the more it made sense.

So consider it, guys. Then send a thank-you note to Walmart.

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  1. […] I think this is a great idea from longtime NFL scribe Clark Judge: greeters at the door of the Pro Football Hall of Fame … who […]

    • May 16, 2016

      Thanks. Can you imagine if, say, Jack Lambert or Mel Blount was there for three days? There would be a stampede from Pittsburgh. Or Paul Warfield or Jim Brown? Traffic jam from all parts of Ohio to Canton. People would love to meet them, have their photos with them, and Hall could fly guys in, put them up and give them appearance money. Everyone would win.

  2. John
    May 18, 2016

    They already bring Gold Jackets in and have them give a talk or seminar. They charge like $165 to attend. Why would they give this away just to get people to pay admission? They’re all about profit just like everyone else is.

  3. Paul
    May 18, 2016

    When I visited the HOF with my son, I felt it was a waste of time. Not one person spoke to us and we went through the halls looking at the items on display and we were finished in about an hour. I think this idea is fantastic and I would make the trip with my other son if this idea became a reality.

  4. […] Clark Judge’s story , which I referenced Monday, is a perfect idea, and I hope the Hall takes him up on it. Thanks to you for pointing out how well it works in another walk of life. […]

  5. […] Clark Judge’s story, which I referenced Monday, is a perfect idea, and I hope the Hall takes him up on it. Thanks to you for pointing out how well it works in another walk of life. […]

  6. John
    May 18, 2016

    It wil never happen because of the multi billion dollar collectible industry. Why would Joe Namath sign an autograph for free when gets 200 bucks s signature on the collectables circuit?

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