Professional football is the most popular sport in the United States and to understand this sport and the role it plays in American society, I investigated the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio (Rovell, "NFL Most Popular for 30th," ESPN). The Hall of Fame is a museum that preserves and presents the history of professional football and honors the men who have played a significant role in the sport. The purpose of this investigation is to understand the role the Pro Football Hall of Fame plays, and its position in American culture.

My analysis has indicated three major themes: the Hall of Fame as a museum, as a pilgrimage site with religious components, and the themes of “family” and “community”. The Hall of Fame functions as a museum as it preserves and displays history and highlights the professional football community’s identity and values. It has become a pilgrimage site for fans seeking a connection to the men inducted into the Hall of Fame who have become “saints”. Additionally, there are several shrines within the Hall that highlight ultimate attainment in professional football and the immortalization of Hall of Fame inductees through bronze busts. The Hall of Fame both creates and reinforces the pro football community and is a place for families to visit for a shared experience, pass on traditions, and to connect with fictive kin. The Pro Football Hall of Fame is important because it serves as a site that displays football and American culture, expresses its values, and creates a sense of community and identity.


Frese, Pamela


Sociology and Anthropology


Social and Cultural Anthropology

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2016 Michelle Glazer