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Tacoma becomes a Super Bowl city

"Gridiron Glory" kicks off at the Washington State History Museum

Designed by Lesley-Anne Cooper. Photo credit: Washington State Historical Society

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Tacoma will become a "Super Bowl City" at the Washington State History Museum when "Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame" kicks off Saturday, May 27. The 6,000-square-foot multimedia exhibit is the largest, most comprehensive traveling exhibition ever created about the sport.

The WSHM is the only Pacific Northwest venue on the tour, and offers a rare opportunity to see some of the best memorabilia from the Pro Football Hall of Fame's collection. This includes the 1892 accounting ledger noting the first paid professional football player (considered pro-football's "birth certificate"), all the way up to the Lombardi Trophy from Super Bowl XLVIII, when the Seattle Seahawks gelded the Denver Broncos 43-8. And while that particular item is only available for viewing until early July, the 12th Man will be happy to know that the exhibit features a "Hometown Heroes" section devoted exclusively to the Seattle Seahawks' role in football history.

"We are excited to help bring this unique exhibit to the area for 12s from all over the region," said Mike Flood, Seattle Seahawks vice president of Community Outreach. "It is a great opportunity for fans to visualize how the Seahawks fit into the historical context of the NFL, including honoring our own Hall of Fame members."

The exhibit's Seahawks-centric wing will no doubt strike a somber chord with fans due to the untimely passing of Cortez Kennedy on Tuesday.  The legendary defensive tackle played his entire 11-season professional career with the Seahawks, and his contribution to their legacy can't be overstated.

Fans can relive the epic games of yesteryear through playbooks, interviews with legendary players and coaches and amazing archival game footage, learn about the role professional football played during some of the more tumultuous times in our nation's past, and maybe even rewrite NFL history, making tough calls as a referee in an authentic instant replay booth.

That's just a taste of everything fans can look forward to during the exhibit's 15-week run.

"We have our own winning playbook of special events coming up throughout the summer," said museum program manager Molly Wilmoth.

On opening day, you can get up close and personal with both a hawk and a falcon from West Sound Wildlife Shelter, the namesakes for countless sports teams.

"They really are the professional athletes of the air," said Julianna Verboort, marketing and communications director for the Washington State Historical Society.

If you prefer heavenly bodies to birds of prey, the Seahawks Sea Gals will be there, too, taking photos with all the aspiring astronomers.

Plus, you can show the pros how it's really done thanks to the green screen photo booth that puts you in the middle of some of the greatest games in history.

If that's not enough, the caricature artist will happily draw you and Brian Bosworth having a catch.

Neighboring businesses are just as excited about the exhibit, and each week offers a unique set of perks and exclusives in and around the museum. Don't miss a once-in-a-lifetime chance to experience some of the greatest parts of pro football history.

"Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame," Saturday, May 27-Sunday, Sept. 10, Washington State History Museum, 1911 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.272.3500, washingtonhistory.org

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