On August 4, 2013 the Dallas Cowboys will be in Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio to kick off the 2013 pre-season by facing the Miami Dolphins in the Hall of Fame game. I love knowing facts and stats about opponents and special games, and thought I’d share some of them for this week before I talk about the Cowboys preview. The game dates all the way back to the 1962 season. The only times since then that the game has not been played was 2011 when the owner’s lockout of the NFL players caused the game to be canceled, and 1966 when they did not hold the game.
In 1971 after the NFL and AFL merger the game was set up to feature one team who began play in the NFL and one team who began play in the AFL. There were two exceptions to this format. In 2009, the anniversary of the 50th season for the original 8 AFL teams, the two teams invited to play in the game were the Buffalo Bills and the Tennessee Titans. Of the original 8 AFL teams, their owners were still in place after 50 years, and as all of us should know they still are 4 years later, making 54 years of ownership in the AFL, and since 1971, the NFL. Bud Adams, the owner of the Titans originally had his team in Houston as the Oilers. Ralph Wilson, the Bills Owner, has always had his team in Buffalo. In 2009 he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in conjunction with his team being featured in the game.
In 2012 the game featured two teams who began in the NFL. I assume it was to balance out the 2009 two AFL teams, but do not know for sure why they broke from the format they have traditionally followed after the merger of the two leagues.
There are 32 teams in the NFL. 31 of those teams have played in the Hall of Fame game. The lone team who has not is the current defending Super Bowl Champion, the Baltimore Ravens. In contrast to this possible snub, the Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, New Orleans Saints, and Washington Redskins have all played in the game 5 times. If the 2011 game had not been canceled the Chicago Bears would have also played the game 5 times. The Bears were scheduled to play the St. Louis Rams.