More than 400 VIPS gathered at HistoryMiami Museum, 101 W. Flagler, a Smithsonian Affiliate, on Sept. 26 to celebrate America’s favorite sport at the VIP Preview Party of “Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” the largest and most comprehensive exhibition about professional football.
Notables in attendance included former Miami Dolphins player and Hall of Famer Dwight Stephenson, Hall of Famer Lesley Visser, as well as about 40 Miami Dolphins alumni including Nat Moore, Dick Anderson, Fred Banks, Mark Clayton, Mark Duper, Norm Evans, Arturo Freeman, Nate Garner, Eddie Hill, Jeno James, William Judson, Tony Nathan, Ed Newman, John Offerdahl, Kendall Newson, Tom Smith, Howard Twilley, Julius Pruitt, Keith Sims, Otto Stowe and Jed Weaver.
Other VIPS included Rodney Barreto, chair of the Miami Super Bowl Committee along with committee members. The celebration was emceed by American journalist, sports broadcaster and former Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jimmy Cefalo.
Guests enjoyed a cocktail reception and took a sneak peek at Gridiron Glory, an 8,000-square-foot exhibition featuring more than 200 awe-inspiring artifacts, rare photographs, one-of-a-kind documents, spectacular footage from NFL films, and interactive displays that challenge both mind and body. The interactive multimedia experience also included a
“Hometown Heroes” section that spotlighted the Miami Dolphins and local football heroes.
“What an amazing turnout for our red carpet event at HistoryMiami to be among all of the Miami football legends,” said Jorge Zamanillo, executive director of HistoryMiami Museum.
“Any football fan will be touched by the inspirational stories of the games, players, coaches and history on exhibition in Gridiron Glory.”
Pro Football Hall of Famer and former Miami Dolphins player Dwight Stephenson viewed his own jersey and other sports memorabilia on display for the first time. Attendees had the opportunity to get up close to artifacts including the seven-pound sterling silver Vince Lombardi Trophy and items from legends of the game like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, John Elway and Joe Montana.
Dolphins fans viewed notable artifacts from all-time favorites such as Dan Marino and Jason Taylor, including the footballs thrown by Dan Marino when he broke the career passing yardage and completions records, as well as Jason Taylor’s jersey, pants, shoes and helmet that he wore during the 2006 season when he won the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year.
Guests also were able to see how they measure up to the pros by comparing their physical dimensions and athletic abilities to those of the biggest stars in the game. Visitors tried on vintage pads and jerseys along with today’s equipment and stepped inside the Instant Replay Booth to see if they could make the right call. Interactive touch screen selection kiosks showed video clips on each member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Attendees were able to relive the game-changing, milestone records that turned players into legends through Fantastic Finishes from NFL Films in a pop-up theater and tested their knowledge of the 267 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame at interactive kiosks throughout the exhibit.
“It was powerful to see such a large group of Hall of Fame football players and other Dolphin alumni experiencing an exhibit that brings back many fond memories,” Barreto said. “What a great way to fire up our football spirit, as our community rallies to host our record breaking 11th Super Bowl during the National Football League’s 100th anniversary.”
The event was sponsored in part by Bacardi and Taste of the Redland, and hosted in partnership with The Pro Football Hall of Fame, Miami Dolphins and the Miami Hurricanes.
The exhibition is sponsored by Exclusive Heath Care Sponsor Baptist Health, Miami-Dade County, and Miami Downtown Development Authority.
The traveling exhibition has been featured in every Super Bowl city since its opening in 2012 and will run through Super Bowl week.
“Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” which officially opened to the public on Saturday, Sept. 28, will run through Super Bowl 2020 in Miami, until Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020.
For more information contact Michele Reese, HistoryMiami Museum
Musum hours are: Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, noon-5 p.m.; Monday, closed. Regular museum admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and students with ID, $5 for children 6-12, and free for museum members and children under 6.