For weeks now, the NFL Hall of Fame organizers held their collective breath.
They hoped the NFL lockout would not have an adverse affect on the annual Hall of Fame weekend in Canton, Ohio. But their fears came to reality Thursday when a collective bargaining agreement was not voted on by the NFL players, which effectively made it impossible for the St. Louis Rams and the Chicago Bears to play the scheduled Aug. 7 game.
The NFL announced it was canceling the game. The Bears were set to open training camp Friday but with the four-month-old lockout still unresolved, the stalemate remains.
“The time is just too short,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “Unfortunately, we will not be there to play the game there this year.”
The Hall of Fame will still host its enshrinement ceremony on Aug. 6, but there is no denying the impact that will be felt with the game not being played the following day. The Hall of Fame will refund the money for game tickets bought, but it also extends out to the Canton community that won’t have every hotel booked to capacity nor will it have its restaurants overflowing with customers.
But the Hall of Fame took the high road.
“While the Pro Football Hall of Fame is disappointed by the news that the NFL/Hall of Fame Game will not be played, we appreciate the effort that was made on our behalf by the league and players right up until the last minute,” organizers said in a released statement on the Hall of Fame website. “Obviously, the loss of this year’s game will have a significant adverse economic impact on the Hall of Fame and the Canton community. We believe, however, that the long-term stability this new agreement will provide will be beneficial not only to the league and the players, but to the fans and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.”
(Photo: Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)