This might not be heaven, but it is close

(Adam Rank/

CANTON, OHIO — We’ve already had 41 players stop by to sign helmets and footballs since Wednesday afternoon, with more coming in. The list of players is pretty impressive: Elvin Bethea, Bob St. Clair and Jim Taylor to just name a few.

Honestly, if you are a geek for football history, this is truly the place to be. This room reminds me of those lines from Field of Dreams, “Is this heaven? No it’s Iowa.” Of course, this is Canton. And it’s football. And, well, let’s just forget that I said anything.

I have to admit, I have entertained the idea of scooping up a bunch of the helmets and running out the door. Sure it would be my last day working for the NFL, but I am vested in my pension so I do have that.

I will likely, however, just take photos of the helmets to enjoy later on. Here’s one of a guy whom I never saw play but admire, Raymond Berry of Baltimore Colts.

Berry was a relentless worker. He always wanted to practice catching errant throws. The problem was that Johnny Unitas didn’t like throwing bad passes. Because it would be really hard for him. So Berry would have his wife throw him passes, so he could practice catching bad balls. Remember that next time you are watching Basketball Wives and imagine the wife of a pro athlete actually practicing with her husband.

Adam Rank

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