HistoryMiami wants to take Miamians back to a magical time in the city's history when the Dolphins weren’t an abomination of a franchise. We’re talking about the good ol’ days when Sundays during football season were filled with optimism, exhilaration, and Dan Marino's record-breaking passes instead of bleakness, misery, and Stephen Ross' incompetence. Relive those glory days at the exhibit, "Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame," open September 28 through February 9, 2020, at HistoryMiami.
The traveling 6,000-square-foot exhibit — courtesy of Super Bowl LIV, which will be held February 2, 2020, at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens — includes a "Hometown Heroes" section dedicated to Dolphins greats and local standouts. You'll find the football Marino used when he broke the NFL's career passing yards record in 1995; the jersey, pants, shoes, and helmet Jason Taylor wore on his way to win the 2006 NFL Defensive Player of the Year award; and the helmet Larry Csonka sported in Super Bowl VII, which capped the Dolphins' much-celebrated undefeated season.
But "Gridiron Glory" isn't just a place for misty-eyed Dolphins fans to reminisce. The exhibit is dedicated to the history of pro football and caters to all NFL fans through more than 200 items, including the Super Bowl XLII game ball used when the New York Giants ended the New England Patriots’ undefeated season. (Some would argue that ball belongs in the Dolphins section as well.) In addition to displaying memorabilia, the exhibit offers rare photos, documents, and a pop-up theater where guests can watch classic footage from — cue the trombone — NFL Films.
"The Champions Theater is by far the most popular area because of the film that was created exclusively for the exhibit by NFL Films, and the Lombardi Trophy at its center," exhibition manager Kevin Barrie says. "Also, the casts/molds of the players' arms, legs, hands, etc., are big photo ops for visitors."
The interactive portions of the exhibit allow guests to try on vintage pads and jerseys and test their athletic skills against some of the game's biggest names. At interactive kiosks, NFL trivia geeks can test their knowledge of all 267 Hall of Fame members.
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"Gridiron Glory" is not to be confused with the NFL's annual Super Bowl Experience, which will take place January 25 through February 1, 2020, at the Miami Beach Convention Center. The main difference: The former is a museum exhibit, while the latter is more of an extravaganza that bills itself as an "interactive theme park" and includes player signings. Another difference: the price of admission. Adults will pay $10 for HistoryMiami's exhibit, while last year's Super Bowl Experience ran $20 to $40.
Super Bowl LIV will mark the record-breaking 11th time Miami has hosted the big game, but it's the first time "Gridiron Glory" will hit the Magic City. Miami hasn't hosted a Super Bowl since the exhibit began traveling to Super Bowl host cities in 2012.
It looks like Miami's turn with "Gridiron Glory" will be worth the wait. "From year to year, the artifacts have not changed much outside of when new records are made and the occasional cycling out of artifacts that are more sensitive to environmental conditions," Barrie says. "However, HistoryMiami Museum is the first venue to have approximately 50 percent of the items switched out before the show opens."
"Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame." September 28, 2019, through February 9, 2020, at HistoryMiami, 101 W. Flagler St., Miami; 305-375-1492; historymiami.org. Admission costs $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and students with ID, and $5 for children aged 6 to 12. Admission is free for museum members and children under 6.