By Howard Balzer
Isaac Bruce will have to wait a year to get his Gold Jacket.
As one of 48 selectors for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, we received the following letter earlier this morning:
Dear Hall of Fame Selectors:
Today we are making a difficult announcement: All events related to the 2020 Enshrinement Week Powered by Johnson Controls will be rescheduled for 2021.
This is the right decision for several reasons, first and foremost the health and welfare of our Gold Jackets, incoming Centennial Class of 2020 members, Hall personnel and event volunteers.
We also must consider the most appropriate way to fulfill the first tenet of our Mission: “To Honor the Heroes of the Game.” This decision meets that duty.
The game will kick off a spectacular week of events, including a historic first for the Hall: two Enshrinements over one colossal weekend. We will need each of you to help us make 2021 the best year ever at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Let’s join together for “Twice the fun in ’21” – for what promises to be the greatest gathering in the 100-year history of the National Football League.
Thank you for your understanding and continued commitment. Next year starts now! The VERY best is STILL ahead.
With GREAT Respect & Sincere Appreciation,
President & CEO
A subsequent press release said, “As a public health precaution, the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce are rescheduling all events associated with the 2020 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival.
Events tied to Enshrinement Week Powered by Johnson Controls now will take place Aug. 5-9, 2021.
The National Football League, the Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers have agreed to postpone the 2020 Hall of Fame Game into 2021. That matchup, which sold out in 22 minutes when tickets went on sale in March, now will be played on Thursday night, Aug. 5, 2021. It will kick off a full slate of events tied to honoring as many as 28 legends of the game in two Enshrinements.
Denny Saunier, president and CEO of the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce, said the “community stands ready to make next August truly memorable.”
“We have been a proud partner with the Hall for more than 50 years in producing wonderful events that showcase Canton and surrounding areas,” Saunier said. “Although we’re all disappointed we won’t be enjoying those festivities this summer, we look forward to welcoming the huge numbers of visitors and returning Hall of Famers who will make the 2021 Enshrinement Week special.”
Fans may retain their tickets for the 2020 Hall of Fame Game to ensure their seats for the matchup in 2021 at the same price, or they can apply for a refund. Fans who hold their tickets also will receive a 25 percent discount on Hall of Fame merchandise purchased before March 31, 2021 and an opportunity to upgrade seat locations (if available).
Fans who retain their tickets for the Enshrinement of the Centennial Class of 2020 will hold those seats, and they also will be included in the pre-sale opportunity for tickets for the Enshrinement honoring the Class of 2021, which will be held separately from the Class of 2020s.
For fans seeking a refund on ticket purchases, the request must be received by Friday, July 31. The refund policy, an online form for submissions and answers to other questions will be posted Monday, June 29 here.
“We believe postponing Enshrinement Week events in 2020 is the right way to honor our enshrinees and their families properly, along with the other living Gold Jackets who want to come to Canton for this celebration,” Baker said. “We also believe next year promises to be the greatest gathering in football ever.”
This story, along with video of LaDainian Tomlinson’s stirring 2017 speech can be seen at: si.com/nfl/cardinals