Pro Football Hall of Fame Game history: How it started, game results, and information

What is the history of the Hall of Fame Game, when was it first played, and what are the results of the games through the years?

The history of the Hall of Fame Game dates back to 1962 when the Pro Football Hall of Fame was first established. However, the game has been around since the day work began on the Hall of Fame. Let’s examine the history of the Hall of Fame Game, the results, and where it takes place each year.

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History of the Hall of Fame Game

The Pro Football Hall of Fame wasted no time putting together the Hall of Fame Game. The first Hall of Fame Game was played in 1962. The second game took place the day after the Hall of Fame officially opened.

The game has been played every year since with four exceptions. There was no Hall of Fame Game in 1966 after the NFL and AFL merged. In 2011, the NFL lockout led to the cancellation of the contest. Subpar field conditions forced the game to be wiped out in 2016, and in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic made the game untenable.

When is the Hall of Fame Game typically played?

Since 1970, the Hall of Fame Game has been played at the beginning of the preseason. Prior to the 2002 season, the contest was usually held in July. But since the NFL now begins its regular season the week after Labor Day, the Hall of Fame Game is played at the beginning of August.

Before 1970, the Hall of Fame Game dates were not set in stone. The game was traditionally played in either August or September before the AFL and NFL merged. It was held between the conclusion of the preseason and the start of the regular season on four occasions. Three other times, it was played in August.

When was the first Hall of Fame Game?

As mentioned above, the first Hall of Fame Game was played back in 1962 on Aug. 11, when the ground was broken for the Hall of Fame building in Canton, Ohio. It was an exhibition battle between the New York Giants and St. Louis Cardinals that ultimately ended in a tie, 21-21.

Although that was the first Hall of Fame Game being played, the actual people being inducted were not announced until Jan. 29, 1963. The inaugural class of enshrinees consisted of 17 players and executives. The first people inducted were: Red Grange, Don Hutson, Dutch Clark, Bronko Nagurski, Mel Hein, Pete Henry, Cal Hubbard, Sammy Baugh, Johnny McNally, Ernie Nevers, Jim Thorpe, George Halas, Curly Lambeau, Bert Bell, Joe Carr, Tim Mara, and George Marshall.

Hall of Fame Game results

Here are the results of every Hall of Fame Game since its inception.

  • New York Giants 21-21 St. Louis Cardinals | 1962
  • Pittsburgh Steelers 16-7 Cleveland Browns | 1963
  • Baltimore Colts 48-17 Pittsburgh Steelers | 1964
  • Washington 21-21 Detroit Lions | 1965
  • Philadelphia Eagles 28-13 Cleveland Browns | 1967
  • Chicago Bears 30-24 Dallas Cowboys | 1968
  • Green Bay Packers 38-24 Atlanta Falcons | 1969
  • New Orleans Saints 14-13 Minnesota Vikings | 1970
  • Los Angeles Rams 17-6 Houston Oilers | 1971
  • Kansas City Chiefs 23-17 New York Giants | 1972
  • San Francisco 49ers 20-7 New England Patriots | 1973
  • St. Louis Cardinals 21-13 Buffalo Bills | 1974
  • Washington 17-9 Cincinnati Bengals | 1975
  • Denver Broncos 10-7 Detroit Lions | 1976
  • Chicago Bears 20-6 New York Jets | 1977
  • Philadelphia Eagles 17-3 Miami Dolphins | 1978
  • Oakland Raiders 20-13 Atlanta Falcons | 1979
  • San Diego Chargers 0-0 Green Bay Packers | 1980
    The game was called in the fourth quarter due to severe lightning.
  • Cleveland Browns 24-10 Atlanta Falcons | 1981
  • Minnesota Vikings 30-14 Baltimore Colts | 1982
  • Pittsburgh Steelers 27-14 New Orleans Saints | 1983
  • Seattle Seahawks 38-0 Tampa Bay Buccaneers | 1984
  • New York Giants 21-20 Houston Oilers | 1985
  • New England Patriots 21-16 St. Louis Cardinals | 1986
  • San Francisco 49ers 20-7 Kansas City Chiefs | 1987
  • Cincinnati Bengals 14-7 Los Angeles Rams | 1988
  • Washington 31-6 Buffalo Bills | 1989
  • Chicago Bears 13-0 Cleveland Browns | 1990
  • Detroit Lions 14-3 Denver Broncos | 1991
  • New York Jets 41-14 Philadelphia Eagles | 1992
  • Los Angeles Raiders 19-3 Green Bay Packers | 1993
  • Atlanta Falcons 21-17 San Diego Chargers | 1994
  • Carolina Panthers 20-14 Jacksonville Jaguars | 1995
  • Indianapolis Colts 10-3 New Orleans Saints | 1996
  • Minnesota Vikings 28-26 Seattle Seahawks | 1997
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers 30-6 Pittsburgh Steelers | 1998
  • Cleveland Browns 20-17 Dallas Cowboys | 1999
  • New England Patriots 20-0 San Francisco 49ers | 2000
  • St. Louis Rams 17-10 Miami Dolphins | 2001
  • New York Giants 34-17 Houston Texans | 2002
  • Kansas City Chiefs 9-0 Green Bay Packers | 2003
    The game was called in the third quarter due to severe lightning.
  • Washington 20-17 Denver Broncos | 2004
  • Chicago Bears 27-24 Miami Dolphins | 2005
  • Oakland Raiders 16-10 Philadelphia Eagles | 2006
  • Pittsburgh Steelers 20-7 New Orleans Saints | 2007
  • Washington 30-16 Indianapolis Colts | 2008
  • Tennessee Titans 21-18 Buffalo Bills | 2009
  • Dallas Cowboys 16-7 Cincinnati Bengals | 2010
  • The 2011 Hall of Fame Game was canceled due to the NFL lockout.
  • New Orleans Saints 17-10 Arizona Cardinals | 2012
  • Dallas Cowboys 24-20 Miami Dolphins | 2013
  • New York Giants 17-13 Buffalo Bills | 2014
  • Minnesota Vikings 14-3 Pittsburgh Steelers | 2015
  • The 2016 Hall of Fame Game was canceled due to poor field conditions.
  • Dallas Cowboys 20-18 Arizona Cardinals | 2017
  • Baltimore Ravens 17-16 Chicago Bears | 2018
  • Denver Broncos 14-10 Atlanta Falcons | 2019
  • The 2020 Hall of Fame Game was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Pittsburgh Steelers 16-3 Dallas Cowboys | 2021

Ryan Gosling is the Chief Platforms Officer for Pro Football Network. Follow him on Twitter: @ryangoslingPFN.

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