In commemorating the 150th season of college football, leaders from the College Football Hall of Fame and the National Football Foundation launched several initiatives and plans ahead for the coming months.
The two organizations, along with ESPN and the team specifically designed to head up the College Football 150th Anniversary led by CFB150 committee executive director Kevin Weiberg, hope to highlight the sport with emphasis on history and tradition. Other efforts include creating educational opportunities, leadership development and community impact. Events will center around the anniversary of the first college football game, which took place Nov. 6, 1869, and featured a game between Princeton and Rutgers.
“The idea is to prepare for the future. We want to make sure that the challenges of the game have some answers,” said Steve Hatchell, president and CEO of the National Football Foundation, during a presentation Wednesday at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta. “It does not get any better than this. I’m so excited.”
The events and initiatives are both material to the game of football and the media. The foundation released a uniform-logo program, distributing 200,000 uniform patches and helmet decals to schools and officials.
There also will be a 62nd annual awards dinner Dec. 10 in New York City, where the 30th presentation of the William V. Campbell Trophy, which honors college football’s top scholar-athlete, will take place.
Dennis Adamovich, the CEO of the College Football Hall of Fame, described the organization’s efforts to highlight the history of college football. Each staff member wears commemorative patches, and the Hall’s second floor features an exhibit with information, trophies and the first dirt from the game between Princeton and Rutgers to exemplify the many decades of the game.
“We’re a house of stories; we’re at the epicenter of college football. We’re here to tell those stories, and we’re here to celebrate the game,” Adamovich said.
Ivan Maisel has covered college football for ESPN since 2002, and he’s helped put together ESPN’s coverage — both written and video content — of the 150th anniversary with a variety of documentaries, including 60-second vignettes, a series of features and more to run from August to January.
Hatchell hopes the combined efforts will be well-received, giving the fans, players and coaches of college football a glimpse into its history.
“We like to point out, every school has their story, every player has their story,” Hatchell said. “(Our job) is how do we capture all of that? You don’t do that by sitting down on a weekend. ... This takes a long time, it takes a lot of very good people.”
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