The curtain has been lifted on the 2017 NFL campaign and for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, a sparkling new stadium was dedicated to kick off the season.

Pro Football Hall of Fame President and CEO David Baker said Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium is truly a "game changer" not only for the Hall, but for the city of Canton.

"This is the finest small-venue NFLstadium in the world," Baker said. 

 The locker rooms each hold 105 people and the Club area holds 1,000 people. The press box is a new feature as well with great view lines of the playing field.

The 23,000 seat facility was dedicated Thursday morning and featured a statue of Saints owner Tom Benson, who contributed $11 million to the stadium project that now bears his name.

Baker was extremely appreciative of Benson's contribution to keeping football thriving in the Hall of Fame City.

"He felt that this was where the game of professional football began, and he thinks it should live forever in Canton," Baker explained.

Hall of Fame President David Baker said they are actively preparing for the NFL's 100th anniversary by building various amenites for the Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village.

 The venue will host not only football at the high school, collegiate and pro level, but concerts, and other entertainment options for as Baker puts it, " the next 100 years.

Published in Sam and Brad

Pro Football Hall of Famer Mike Haynes sat with WAKR's Aaron Coleman to talk a little football, golf, and awareness for prostate cancer and screenings.

Haynes, a member of the Class of 1997, is also a prostate cancer survivor.


An avid golfer, Haynes has played at Firestone's South Course in the past and always enjoys watching the world's best golfers compete in the Bridgestone Invitational.

Published in Sam and Brad
Sunday, 29 November -0001 19:00

AUDIO David Hill Humbled By Pete Rozelle Award

Longtime television producer for Fox Sports David Hill spoke with Sam and Brad to talk about being this year's recipient of the Pete Rozelle Radio and TV Award during this week's festivities at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.


Published in Sam and Brad

Former NFL fullback Lorenzo Neal joined the Sam and Brad Show to talk about inducting his good friend and former teammate with San Diego Chargers LaDanian Tomlinson into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Neal played 16 years in the NFL. The Pro Football Hall of Fame will hold their ceremonies in August.

Published in Sam and Brad

Canton Repository reporter Alison Matas joined the Sam and Brad Show to talk about the latest developments with the Pro Football Hall of Fame Village.


For the full interview, check in here.


Published in Sam and Brad
Wednesday, 21 June 2017 09:44

Pope Meets Hall Of Famers

Here's something you normally don't see at a football game: lots of guys wearing black and white around a guy who's wearing an all-white robe and cap.

Seven members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame including Franco Harris, Ronnie Lott and Floyd Little met with Pope Francis at the Vatican today. The Pope even blessed their Gold Jackets; Hall of Fame officials invited the Pope to visit Canton in 2020 during the Hall's Centennial Celebration.

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(Pro Football HOF) Led by seven Gold Jackets – CURTIS MARTIN, CHRIS DOLEMAN, FRANCO HARRIS, JIM TAYLOR, RONNIE LOTT, FLOYD LITTLE and 2017 Enshrinee JERRY JONES – along with Pro Football Hall of Fame Board of Trustees Chairman Randy Hunt, and trip organizers Hall of Fame Board Member Stephen Schott and Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, Carl A. Anderson, Pope Francis greeted and addressed this historic occasion at 8:57 a.m. local time at the Vatican today.

"I am pleased to greet you, the members and directors of the American Pro Football Hall of Fame and welcome you to the Vatican. Teamwork, fair play and the pursuit of personal excellence are the values — in the religious sense, we can say virtues that have guided your commitment, on and off the field" said the Pope, the first ever Pontiff from South America and the first ever Jesuit Pontiff. "These values meet the needs of our brothers and sisters and combat the exaggerated individualism, indifference and injustice that hold us back from living as one human family".

His Holiness then personally greeted and blessed the Gold Jackets, their wives, Hall of Fame board members and their wives, Hall staff members, as well as dignitaries from the Knights of Columbus.

Hunt offered the Pontiff the Hall's support of a worldwide conference on sports and invited His Holiness to attend the Centennial Celebration in Canton, Ohio on September 17, 2020.

Published in Local
Monday, 13 February 2017 17:08

AUDIO Joe Horrigan Talks Pro Football HOF

The Pro Football Hall of Fame's Executive Director Joe Horrigan spoke with Sam Bourquin and Brad Russell Monday afternoon.

 Joe spoke a little bit about this year's Class of 2017 and a little bit about what goes into the selection process.

For the full interview, click here.

Published in Sam and Brad
Friday, 10 February 2017 19:32

AUDIO Morten Andersen Talks HOF Nod

Morten Andersen, longtime NFL Placekicker and one of the members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2017 joined the Sam and Brad Show to talk about the big news about being enshrined in Canton.


Published in Sam and Brad
Thursday, 09 February 2017 17:24

AUDIO Jason Taylor Talks HOF Nod

Jason Taylor, former University of Akron Zip, and 15-year NFL vet spoke with Sam and Brad Thursday to talk about his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2017.

For the full interview, click here.


Published in Sam and Brad
Tuesday, 07 February 2017 16:30

AUDIO Kenny Easley Talks HOF Induction

Former Seahawks great Kenny Easley joined Sam and Brad Tuesday afternoon to talk about his induction for the Class of 2017 for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.


For the full interview, click here.

Published in Sam and Brad
Monday, 06 February 2017 18:30

AUDIO Pete Fierle Talks HOF Class of 2017

The Class of 2017 for the Pro Football HOF has been announced and more of pro football's greatest players will be enshrined in Canton this summer.

Pete Fierle from the Pro Football HOF joined the Sam and Brad Show Monday to talk about it.


Published in Sam and Brad
Monday, 06 February 2017 17:03

AUDIO Former Zip Jason Taylor Heading To HOF

One of the inductees to the Pro Football HOF, Jason Taylor found out the good news over the weekend that he will be enshrined in Canton as part of the Class of 2017.

One of his former coaches, Lee Owens, former head coach at the University of Akron, current head coach at Ashland University spoke with Sam and Brad to talk about how Jason committed himself to the game of football.


For the full interview, click here. 

Published in Sam and Brad

Pro Football Hall of Fame announcing some changes to the Hall of Fame Game and weekend, most notably moving the game to Thursday night.

This year it'll be Thursday, August 3rd. Gold Jacket Enshrinement happening Friday the 4th, and Saturday, August 5th, will be the parade and concert.

An enshrinement ceremony for the newly-renovated Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium will also take place Saturday night. 

Read the full press release below: 

The Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce and Pro Football Hall of Fame have worked in a spirit of collaboration for the past 53 years as our community celebrates the induction of football players, coaches, and contributors into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  This year is no exception, with several schedule changes that will be instituted as part of the continuous effort to maximize the guest and visitor experience.
Notable changes this year include that the Hall of Fame Game will be played for the first time ever on a Thursday night, August 3rd.  Friday, August 4th will feature the annual Fashion Show Luncheon, and the Enshrinees’ Gold Jacket Dinner where the Class of 2017 will receive their Gold Jackets during the nationally televised event.
Saturday, August 5th, will kick off with The Canton Repository Grand Parade and conclude with the Enshrinement Ceremony at newly renovated Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. Fans are in store for another big day on Sunday, August 6th starting with the Enshrinees’ Roundtable and concluding with the third annual Concert for Legends.
The full schedule is below (subject to change as details are confirmed).  Some of the events are ticketed, many are free, and all are guaranteed to be fun.


Published in Local
Wednesday, 14 December 2016 18:23

AUDIO Big Doings At Pro Football Hall Of Fame

Exciting things are on the horizon for the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.

Pete Fierle from the Hall joined Sam Bourquin Wednesday to talk about the new suites, the new amenities, and lounge areas going into the stadium.

This world-class venue will have something for everyone according to Pete, and the stadium will be opened for enshrinement week in 2017.

For the full interview with Pete, click here. 


Published in Sam and Brad
Thursday, 18 August 2016 10:01

HOF Sweetens Scrapped Game Refunds

The Pro Football Hall of Fame extending out it's refund offer from the scrapped Hall of Fame game -- and now it includes hotel fees based on review. The updated policy significantly sweetens the payoff for fans stiffed when the game was canceled because of concerns over the safety of players on the field.

In addition to face value reimbursement of tickets, all fees, pre-paid parking and reservation fees and one night of hotel are now added subject to "review, approval and verification."

Reimbursed fans will also get souvenir goodies and first place in line for a future Hall of Fame game over the next five years.

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(Pro Football Hall of Fame) Pro Football Hall of Fame President David Baker announced today that the Board of Trustees for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit institution, approved a special reimbursement plan for all ticketholders to the 2016 Hall of Fame Game. Notwithstanding the language on the tickets, ticketholders will be fully refunded the face-value of their ticket. Additionally, the Hall of Fame will refund all processing, shipping and handling fees, pre-paid parking purchased through the Hall of Fame, pre-sale reservation fees, and one night of hotel accommodations to eligible fans, subject to appropriate review, approval, and verification.

Baker stated:

"The Hall of Fame game is our event. We sincerely regret disappointing fans but we believe that cancelling the game was the right thing to do. Respect for players and their safety must always come first, especially by the Hall of Fame. We endeavored to handle, to the best of our ability, these difficult circumstances in the right way. Our focus was on the safety of the players and the best and safest way to communicate the decision to fans, teams, league and the media representatives.

We take full responsibility for what occurred at the game. We are doing what is right for our fans. We will learn from this experience so something like this never happens again."

In addition to the increased reimbursements, the Hall of Fame announced it will also provide to ticketholders:

- four admission tickets to the museum to be used once any time during the next five years;

- a commemorative photo of the Hall of Fame Class of 2016 along with their fellow Hall of Fame members taken on the front steps of the museum;

- a copy of the 2016-17 Pro Football Hall of Fame Yearbook;

- the right, before the general public, to purchase a ticket for a future Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony or Pro Football Hall of Fame Game for one year in any of the next five years;


- a 30 percent discount for the purchase of any merchandise from the museum's online store.

Full information and details about how to take advantage of the reimbursement plan will be forthcoming and will be shared via the Hall's website at or by phone at 844-4HOFTIX (844-446-3849).

Published in Local
Monday, 08 August 2016 16:21

AUDIO HOF Game Cancelled: Who's To Blame?

The 2016 NFL season got off to a bizarre start as the annual Hall of Fame game was cancelled last night due to unsafe playing conditions at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.

Sam Bourquin, who was there last night in Canton offered his take on the situation and what his takeaways were from last night's events.


"It was embarassing," Bourquin said. "David Baker (Hall of Fame President) said it was embarassing, and I felt bad for David last night."

Baker made the official announcement to a chorus of boos last night at 8 p.m., with a crowd of over 23,000 in attendance.

Zac Jackson from spoke with Sam as well about what transpired and how the field looked that night.

"It (the field) looked beautiful, but it didn't look done," Jackson said. "It made a whole bunch of people look silly, including the city of Canton, and ESPN,and it's something that should and could have easily been avoided."


 The fans who attended last night's game can check out refund policies here,  and the Hall's brass says an investigation will be conducted as to what exactly went wrong.

Joe Scalzo from the Canton Repository joined in the discussion as well to offer his take on what happened Sunday and how the Hall and the City of Canton can recover from this.


For the full interview with Zac Jackson, click here.

For the full interview with Joe Scalzo, click here.

Published in Sam and Brad
Monday, 08 August 2016 15:44

HOF Game Refund Policy Announced

A refund policy has been announced for Sunday night's cancelled NFL Hall of Fame Game.

The HOF says credit card purchases will be automatically refunded, and refund checks will be automatically issued for those who paid with a check.

Cash ticket purchases will be refunded by check. You can request a refund by mail or in person. A refund request form is now on the Hall of Fame's website.

The HOF says refunds will be processed by August 31st.


(Pro Football Hall of Fame) Due to the cancellation of the 2016 NFL/Hall of Fame Game, the Pro Football Hall of Fame will refund original ticket purchasers for the total ticket amount as detailed below.

Refunds will be processed by August 31, 2016.

Credit Card Purchases

Charges will be automatically refunded

Check Purchases

A refund check will be automatically issued
If your mailing address has changed since you purchased tickets, please provide the Hall with your new mailing address at 844-4HOFTIX or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Cash Purchases

Refund payments will be issued via check. There are three ways to expedite cash purchase refunds

Request a refund via mail
Download the refund request form (instructions are included). You will need to mail/return your original Game tickets with your refund request form.

Request a refund in person
Bring the original game tickets to the main Ticket Office at the Hall of Fame
We can also mail a refund request form. Please contact us at 844-4HOFTIX or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Ticket Reseller ("Secondary Market") Purchases

Contact the reseller directly regarding their individual refund policy. The Pro Football Hall of Fame is not responsible for any tickets that were not purchased directly from the Hall of Fame.

For questions, contact the Pro Football Hall of Fame at 844-4HOFTIX or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Published in Local
Monday, 08 August 2016 06:15

HOF Game Scrubbed Over Paint Job

If you were looking to kick off the NFL season last night, you weren't going to find in Canton. The NFL was forced to cancel Sunday night's Hall of Fame game due to poor field conditions.

The main problem was reportedly the wrong type of paint used to paint logos on the field; it quickly became more like a glob of tar. Players also noted parts of the field were "like cement" and didn't have the proper shock-absorbing layer of rubber chips to help cushion hits to the ground, a must for tackle football on artificial turf.

Fans immediately began lining up at customer service tents for refunds.

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(National Football League) The official return of pro football will have to wait another four days. The NFL canceled Sunday night's Hall of Fame game because of poor field conditions. The Green Bay Packers and Indianapolis Colts are headed back home.

HOF DavidBaker"I was notified at about 5:30 that there was a problem at midfield and in the end zones with some of the painting that it was kind of congealing and rubberized, which meant players might slip on it," Pro Football Hall of Fame president David Baker (seen at left, after making the cancellation announcement)  told NFL Media's Steve Wyche. "The folks with the field tried to remediate that by dropping some other pellets but after talking to the coaches and staff for both the Packers and the Colts, there was a concern they might be able to remediate it but they would have to do something underneath the surface.

"We think we could make it playable, that it might be playable now but if there is any concern, anything in the minds of players we want to err on the side of player safety. This is the Pro Football Hall of Fame. You've heard me many, many times talk about our values of commitment, integrity, courage, respect, and excellence. If we don't have that integrity to respect our players and respect their safety, then we shouldn't be doing this job. It was a difficult decision to make. ... But in some respects, it was an easy, ethical decision.

"When the field was put down -- this was a brand-new field that had only been used one year at the Superdome in New Orleans -- when it came here, it passed the safety tests. This morning when the cover was taken off, it passed the safety tests then. But I think the concerns were really about the painting and the rubberized surface."

The NFL and NFLPA issued the following statement:

"Due to safety concerns with the condition of the playing surface in Canton, tonight's game between the Indianapolis Colts and Green Bay Packers has been cancelled. We are very disappointed for our fans, but player safety is our primary concern, and as a result, we could not play an NFL game on this field tonight."

The embarrassing news casts a pall on an otherwise great weekend. Sunday's game wasn't going to be much of a regular season preview, although it provides a chance for end-of-the-roster plays to impress coaches and make the team. Undrafted free agent Joe Callahan was expected to start at quarterback for the Packers. Starters usually play a series or two at most in the first preseason game.

"It sucks, but the conditions of the field weren't safe for any player on either roster," veteran Colts linebacker D'Qwell Jackson told NFL Media columnist Michael Silver.

More than anything, this is a huge letdown for the crowd in Ohio. This weekend in Canton proved to be a pilgrimage for Packers fans and now it has been cut short.

Published in Local

Two key members of the Indianapolis Colts organization will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame this weekend in Canton, and one former Colt offered his thoughts on the men he took the gridiron with.

Former Colts linebacker Gary Brackett joined the Brad Russell show to talk about Tony Dungy and Marvin Harrison being inducted into football's greatest fraternity and what he's doing after a solid 9-year career in pro football.

Gary said that playing for Coach Dungy was a truly special time in his life.

"He had very good values and morals as a coach," Brackett said. "He was very mild mannered, but very prepared and effective, and we always had a great game plan for whoever we were playing."

Brackett helped the Colts win Super Bowl XLI over the Chicago Bears. He came into the league with the Colts in 2003. 


Now after retiring from pro football in 2011, Gary is involved with his restaurants and the Gary Brackett Impact Foundation. 

Published in Brad Russell

Another famous name in broadcasting is this year's recipient of the 2016 Pete Rozelle Radio and TV Award.

CBS Sportscaster James Brown is this year's award winner, with his distinguished work on the NFL Today on CBS Sports amongst other programs.

Brown joined Brad Russell to talk about the honor, this year's induction class, and some of his memorable moments during his 30-plus year career in broadcasting.

 He even reflected on his time when the power went out in the Superdome during the Super Bowl between the Ravens and the 49ers, calling it "an experience of a lifetime."

Brown will receive the Pete Rozelle Award at the Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony on Saturday.

Published in Brad Russell
Wednesday, 03 August 2016 16:17

AUDIO Pete Fierle Talking HOF Weekend

It's almost here, and the football world once again will be converging on Canton, Ohio.

Pro Football Hall of Fame Chief of Staff and VP of Communications Pete Fierle joined Sam Bourquin and Brad Russell to talk about the festivities including the enshrinement and the Hall of Fame Game on Sunday.

 The inductees for the Class of 2016 include former Packer great Brett Favre, Tony Dungy, and Eddie DeBartolo Jr.

Pete also talked about the new additions and changes made to Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, and how the folks who will be coming to Canton will be impressed with all the changes surrounding the campus.

For more with Sam, Brad and Pete, click right here.

Published in Sam and Brad
Tuesday, 02 August 2016 11:43

Time For HOF Wine

Just in time for the Hall of Fame Game and the hordes of fans paying tribute to the Packers, the Colts, Brett Favre, Marvin Harrison, Tony Dungy, Kevin Greene, Orlando Pace, Eddie DeBartolo, Kenny Stabler and Dick Stanfel.

Canton-based Gervasi Vinyard has a limited edition taste of football -- complete with "bold layers of black currant, black cherries and notes of plum. Although a diehard Browns fan will note the "notes of plum" have nothing to do with Milt Plum, who's backup in Cleveland was Hall of Famer Len Dawson before Plum moved on to the Detroit Lions, Los Angels Rams and finally the New York Giants where he was the backup for Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton before retiring from the game at the end of the 1969 season.

The local Cabernet Sauvignon is called "Excellence" is available at the Gervasi Vinyard stores for $38.50 a bottle.

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ExcellenceWine(Gervasi Vinyards) Gervasi Vineyard has united with the Pro Football Hall of Fame with to produce the first co-branded wine debuting the Hall's iconic logo. The specially labeled wine, a Limited Edition label was debuted on August 1 at Gervasi Vineyard.

The 2016 Limited Edition wine is a Cabernet Sauvignon, full bodied with bold layers of black currant, black cherries and notes of plum. As with all wines at Gervasi Vineyard, the wine is given a special name to fit its "personality". For this first edition, the wine has been titled "Excellence".

"Partnering with the Pro Football Hall of Fame for our first co-branded label wine is incredibly exciting for us. Joining Canton's iconic Pro Football Hall of Fame with Canton's own Gervasi Vineyard is a perfect fit," said Gervasi's General Manager, Scott Swaldo. "We are honored to be selected to provide the Hall with this wonderful wine aptly named 'Excellence', as we both celebrate 'Excellence' as a core value of our organizations."

The 2016 Limited Edition Pro Football Hall of Fame wine will be available for purchase at Gervasi Vineyard at The Marketplace boutique gift shop, and The Crush House Wine Bar & Eatery, priced at $38.50 per bottle (take home rate). Gervasi Vineyard features award-winning wines, offering 27 varietals ranging from a dry Cabernet Sauvignon to a sweet Vidal Blanc Ice Wine.

Winemaker, Andrew Codispoti said, "This partnership is a pinnacle experience, a celebratory juncture in our winemaking journey. It's a champagne moment bubbling with excitement. We are energized by this chapter of our legacy."

Published in Local

The Black College Football Hall of Fame  is coming to Canton and one former HBCU and NFL star is excited to see it be a part of the new-look Hall of Fame in the future.

Former Grambling State and Super Bowl MVP Doug Williams joined Sammy B on a "Feel Good Friday" to talk about what it's like to have a significant part of African-American history and college football history come to the Hall of Fame City.

"For this to happen, it's a blessing," Williams said. "I take my hat off to Dave Baker and Joe Horrigan for allowing us an opportunity to be a part of this."

 The Black College Hall of Fame was based in Atlanta and was spearheaded by Williams and former NFL player James Harris.

Many former coaches and players are honored in this Hall of Fame, and Williams, along with many other former black college greats are grateful for the opportunity to have their history told and preserved for generations down the road.

You can check out the Pro Football HOF's release on this exciting collaboration below.

Published in Sam and Brad

This summer, the Pro Football Hall of Fame Academy will be giving young football players a chance to show their skills and improve upon them in front of former NFL players and coaches.

David Hill,  National Director of Player Development for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Academy joined Brad Russell in the Average Sports Show to talk about the Academy and what the players will expect while in Canton.

"It's going to be an opportunity for both some of the top prep players in the country and some of the top youth players in the country to improve their skill sets, and it's a training opportunity being done by some of the best coaches from all around the league," Hill said. "It's a fantastic opportunity for a young player."

The Academy will take place down at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium  in two sessions from July 10-13 and July 14-17 .


 Hill said the most important aspect of the Academy will be the character and life lesson development.

"I do think that the game offers those opportunities, it's always been that way, and it's going to be more emphasized there being a part of the Pro Football Hall of Fame."

For more information or to nominate an athlete, visit here. 

Published in Brad Russell

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