KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s a Kansas City Chiefs prime-time destination. But time is running short.
Gridiron Glory runs through Sept. 6 at the Union Station, a beautifully restored landmark that was renovated in 1999.
Gridiron Glory showcases more than 200 football artifacts, photos and rare documents from the Pro Football Hall of Fame collection.
Gridiron Glory is well worth the price of admission.
My favorite feature was the interactive game of “You Make the Call.” This one is pure fun.
You’re shown a replay and get a chance to step into the referee’s shoes and make the correct call in a specified time period.
Our crew got every call correct.
Another interesting topic was NFL history associated with The Road to Equality —the story of the rise of black football players.
Black players were among the sport’s best before the Depression hit. NFL history indicates that black players were limited from competing after the Depression in favor of lighter-skinned players.
By 1933, there were no black players competing. The NFL did not feature another black player until after World War II.
The tide started turning when Paul Brown of the Cleveland Browns signed Marion Motley and Bill Willis in 1946. The Browns quickly started winning with the best players they could sign and teams slowly followed suit.
The success of the American Football League was traced to providing players with an equal opportunity. The leagues eventually merged with the National Football League.
The Kansas City Chiefs are prominently featured. The most interesting sidelight was a overview of the Chiefs’ first stadium Municipal Stadium in a downtown neighborhood.
The Chiefs won AFL titles in 1962, 1966 and 1969. They Chiefs defeated the Minnesota Vikings 23-7 in Super Bowl IV.
All of the Chiefs NFL Hall of Famers are showcased. It was especially fun to see a display case for Hall of Famer Derrick Thomas, who died from injuries en route to the Kansas City International airport. Thomas' vehicle crashed on icy roads when he was traveling to the NFC Championship in St. Louis.
Gridiron Glory tackles everything from football’s cultural impact to the science behind the game. Guests will able to view NFL Films video footage and learn about the sports’ pioneers. This interactive multimedia experience includes rare documents and spectacular NFL Film footage. Additionally, a special gallery of 4,000 square feet – including unique artifacts — will be created to pay tribute to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Interactive elements include:
• Kick the Field Goal and Make the Game-Winning Pass.
• Try It On—Wear reproductions of vintage uniforms and protective gear and try on some of today’s lightweight and durable equipment.
• Measure Up to the Pros—Compare your body size to that of NFL players.
Other highlights include:
• Great Moments—Some of the greatest plays in NFL history.
• Great Players—Legends Johnny Unitas, Jim Brown, Joe Namath, Lynn Swann, and Chiefs are highlighted.
• Dynasties—The teams too tough to beat from every era.
• Pioneers—A homage to the early days of football.
• Science of Football—An interactive exploration of science, technology and innovation at work through football.
• Records are Broken—Priceless artifacts recounting many milestone events.
• A Way of Life—How the sport has impacted the American way of life.
• The Media—Its impact on American pop culture as seen through TV, film and other media.
• Champions — A look at championship games and teams through mementos.
Jim Misunas is a staff reporter for the Great Bend Tribune. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.