2021 PFRA CONVENTION
June 24-27, 2021
Pro Football Hall of Fame Canton, Ohio
Join us to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the National Football League.
Watch this space for details about events, guest speakers and hotel accommodations.
ATTENTION: The PFRA Board recently decided to postpone the PFRA Convention originally scheduled for June of this year to the weekend of June 24-27, 2021 because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The Convention will still be held at the Pro Football Hall of Fame with the Hyatt Place Canton as our host hotel, and there will be no change in cost. The theme of the Convention will remain the same-the Celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the Founding of the NFL, and all previously announced add on activities will continue. We are currently in the process of confirming the new dates with all of our scheduled speakers. We plan to issue a follow up notice regarding reservation protocols for the new dates and any changes to the Convention program once we hear back from all of the speakers.
If you have already made and paid for reservations for the Convention or any of the add on activities we will simply hold your reservations/payments and apply them to the new dates.
If you need to cancel your Convention/add on reservations because the new dates do not work for you please contact Convention organizer George Bozeka at email@example.com and your payments will be reimbursed.
If you have already booked with the Hyatt Place, as a formality the Hyatt must cancel your current reservation, however on or about June 28 they will automatically rebook your reservations and sent you a new confirmation number. If the Hyatt needs updated credit card information at that time they will be in contact with you.
If you are unable to make the new dates you can cancel your Hyatt reservations with no penalty up to 48 hours prior to your planned arrival date.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact George Bozeka at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please disregard the reservation information and deadlines stated below, as we plan to issue a follow up notice regarding reservation protocols for the new dates and any changes to the Convention program once we hear back from all of the speakers.
The 2021 PFRA Convention will be held in Canton, Ohio in the Gold Jacket Lounge at the Pro Football Hall of Fame during the weekend of June 24-27, 2021. As we have done in the past, the Convention sessions will take place during the evening of Friday June 19 and all day Saturday June 20 with add-on activities on Thursday June 18 and Sunday June 21. The theme of the 2021 Convention will be the Celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the Founding of the NFL. The fee for the convention will be $50 for members and member spouses and $100 for non-members. The fee includes admission to the Convention, tour admission into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Museum (including the Hall of Fame Gallery, Talking Bronzed Busts, the “A Game for Life” Theater, the Lamar Hunt Super Bowl Gallery, the Super Bowl Theater, the Pro Football Today Gallery, The NFL’s First Century Gallery, the Interactive Area, and the Hunt/Casterline Pro Football Hall of Fame Card Collection), meals on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon, and free parking. A Convention logo t-shirt will also be available for an additional fee. To register for the Convention click on the 2020 PFRA Convention link on the PFRA website homepage and then use the PayPal link on the 2020 PFRA Convention page. The Convention logo T-shirts will be available for purchase at a later date.
Our host hotel will be the Hyatt Place Canton, located at 5421 Whipple Ave NW, Canton, Ohio 44720. The Hyatt Place Canton will charge PFRA a special group discount rate of $108 per night for their standard rooms (1 King or 2 Queen beds for up to 4 people). This includes parking and a free breakfast buffet. Other hotel amenities include a coffee and cocktail bar that serves Starbucks coffee, an on-site restaurant, a microwave that is available in the hotel lobby, free Wi-Fi, a pool, a spa, a business center, and a fitness center. The hotel is located in a large retail area and is approximately 10-15 minutes from both the Akron-Canton Airport and PFHOF. The Hyatt Place Canton also has an airport shuttle available from/to the Akron-Canton Airport and can schedule a shuttle to the PFHOF if necessary. To book the Hyatt Place Canton at the special group discount rate go to the following link https://www.hyatt.com/en-US/hotel/ohio/hyatt-place-canton/cakzn?corp_id=G-PFRA and use the code G-PFRA or simply call the hotel at 1-330-244-1700 Ext 0 and tell the front desk the dates and the group name (The Pro Football Researchers Association). There is a 48 hour cancellation policy. May 18, 2020 is the cut-off date for the special group discount rate.
The Convention itinerary will include our usual mix of speakers and tours. PFRA members Jeffrey Miller, John Steffenhagen, Joe Ziemba, Chris Serb, Chris Willis, John Maxymuk, Roy Sye, Lee Elder, Randy Snow, and Gregg Ficery plus guest speaker Kate Buford have confirmed to speak at the Convention.
Jeff, John Steffenhagen, Joe, and Chris Serb will participate in a panel discussion about the Founding of the NFL and the original teams.
Jeff’s books include Pop Warner: A Life on the Gridiron, 100 Things Bills Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die, Game Changers: The Greatest Plays in Buffalo Bills Football History, Rockin' the Rockpile: The Buffalo Bills of the American Football League, and Buffalo's Forgotten Champions: The Story of Buffalo's First Professional Football Team and the Lost 1921 Title. He was the 2004 recipient of the PFRA's Ralph E. Hay Award, presented for "Lifetime Achievement in Professional Football Research and Historiography."
John is the great grandson of former Rochester Jeffersons’ player, coach, owner and manager Leo Lyons and is the creator of rochesterjeffersons.org, a website that chronicles the history of the team. Leo was also present at the 1920 meeting in Ralph Hay’s Hupmobile showroom in Canton that founded the NFL.
Joe is the author of When Football Was Football: The Chicago Cardinals and the Birth of the NFL (1999 Nelson Ross Award by the Professional Football Researchers Association for recent Achievement in Football Research and Historiography).
Chris Serb is the author of the recent book War Football: World War I and the Birth of the NFL (2019 Nelson Ross Award by the Professional Football Researchers Association for recent Achievement in Football Research and Historiography). Chris is an independent journalist who has written extensively for such publications as the Chicago Tribune, Chicago History, Writer’s Digest, Chicago Athlete, and Men’s Fitness. He is the author of Sam’s Boys: The History of Chicago’s Leone Beach and Legendary Lifeguard Sam Leone (2000). Chris was a finalist for Chicago Headline Club’s prestigious Peter Lisagor Award for Best Sports Feature in 2000.
Chris Willis will make a presentation about his most recent book Red Grange: The Life and Legacy of the NFL’s First Superstar. Chris has worked at NFL Films as Head of the Research Library since 1996. His other books include Old Leather: An Oral History of Early Pro Football in Ohio, 1920-1935 (2005 Nelson Ross Award by the Professional Football Researchers Association for recent Achievement in Football Research and Historiography), The Columbus Panhandles: A Complete History of Pro Football's Toughest Team, 1900-1922, The Man Who Built the National Football League: Joe F. Carr, Dutch Clark: The Life of an NFL Legend and the Birth of the Detroit Lions, A Nearly Perfect Season: The Inside Story of the 1984 San Francisco 49ers, and Walter Lingo, Jim Thorpe and the Oorang Indians: How a Dog Kennel Owner Created the NFL's Most Famous Traveling Team. Chris was also the 2012 recipient of the PFRA's Ralph E. Hay Award, presented for "Lifetime Achievement in Professional Football Research and Historiography."
Kate Buford, the recipient of the PFRA’s 2010 Nelson Ross Award for "outstanding recent achievement in pro football research and historiography" for her book Native American Son: The Life and Sporting Legend of Jim Thorpe, will make a presentation about Jim Thorpe. Kate also wrote the New York Times Editors’ Choice best-seller Burt Lancaster: An American Life. A graduate of Columbia, Kate is the co-founder of Biography by Design, and serves on the board of Biographers International Organization.
PFRA member John Maxymuk has confirmed to speak at the 2020 PFRA Convention. John will make a presentation about Pro Football Hall of Fame player and coach Guy Chamberlin. Chamberlin is profiled in John’s recent book "Pioneer Coaches of the NFL." John is the author of numerous books on professional football history. In 2017, he was awarded the PFRA’s Ralph E. Hay Award for “Lifetime Achievement in Professional Football Research and Historiography.”
Roy, Lee, Randy, and Gregg Ficery will participate in a panel discussion about the Pre-NFL History of Pro Football. Roy is Vice President of the PFRA and Chair of the PFRA’s Pre-NFL Committee. Lee is a former Secretary and Board member of the PFRA. Randy runs his own website theworldoffootball.com. Gregg is the author of the upcoming book Gridiron Legacy: Pro Football’s Missing Origin Story. He will share research he has conducted regarding the early years of pro football and his great grandfather Bob Shiring who played for the Massillon Tigers of the Ohio League from 1903-1907.
Three add on activities have been added to the schedule, one for early arrivals on Thursday afternoon, one on Friday afternoon, and one on Sunday morning.
The Thursday June 18 add on activity for early arrivals is a tour of the Paul Brown Museum in Massillon from 2:30- 4:00. Massillon is 20 minutes to the west of Canton. There is no charge for the tour. After the tour we will visit Paul Brown Tiger Stadium in Massillon and view the Paul Brown statue and Ohio historical marker at the entrance to the stadium. Special exhibits that will be featured at the Paul Brown Museum during our visit include Massillon’s Gridirons which includes photographs of the fields where Massillon's High School Tigers football team and pro teams (including the Tigers, Maroons, and more) practiced and played football, Paul Brown’s Pro Teams: History of the Browns and Bengals, and the Paul Brown & Tigers Timeline. Deadline for reservations for the Thursday add on is June 11. To make reservations for the Thursday add on, please contact Convention Organizer George Bozeka at email@example.com, 330-571-0112 or 330-867-1950. Also, if you have any questions contact George.
The Friday June 19 afternoon add on is a pre-Convention luncheon from 12:00-2:00 at historic Bender’s Tavern in downtown Canton. Established in 1902, Bender’s played a key role in the early days of pro football and the founding of the NFL. According to the Bender’s website…”As many regulars to the restaurant will tell you, the first organizational meeting for what later became the NFL was held in Canton, Ohio, at the Jordan and Hupmobile automobile showroom in 1920. Meetings to persuade the NFL to locate the Hall of Fame in Canton also took place in Canton (1962)…What the history books won’t tell you is where those meetings carried on at…Bender’s Tavern. There was a room in the upstairs part of the restaurant that served for a great meeting and drinking spot. In the early days, Jim Thorpe was known to frequent the bar at Bender’s. Like many business deals and great ideas throughout the century in Canton, Bender’s served as one of the great places to meet. If only we were there to hear those conversations!” The luncheon will be held in the Hall of Fame Room at Bender’s. Cost of the luncheon is $22 per person and includes your choice of the following entrees: Chef Salad (julienne ham, turkey, swiss & cheddar cheese, tomato, egg, choice of dressing), New Yorker Wrap w/ Chips (corned beef, turkey, swiss, coleslaw & French dressing on a tomato wrap), Linguini w/ Portabella, Thyme & Sherry Cream (small mixed greens salad), Fresh Boston Scrod ala Foley (roasted red skin potatoes & coleslaw), Chicken Marsala (mashed potatoes & sweet peas), Sliced Marinated Sirloin (roasted red skin potatoes & green beans). Dessert (Jerry's Famous Chocolate Peanut Butter Mini Sundae). All-inclusive price includes bread service, coffee, tea & soda service, tax & gratuity. Alcoholic beverages are extra. Jon Kendle, Director of Archives and Football Information at The Pro Football Hall of Fame, will be the guest speaker at the luncheon. Following the luncheon, participants will take a walking tour of completed pieces in The Eleven, a $2.2 million multi-year project of ArtsinStark and The Pro Football Hall of Fame which celebrates the greatest moments in professional football history with a walkable series of 11 pieces of world-class art throughout downtown Canton, including the site of the founding of the NFL. Reservations for the Friday add on will be limited to 50, first come, first served. Make your reservations and luncheon selections at the Convention link on the PFRA website. Deadline for reservations is June 4.
The Sunday June 21 morning add on is a Behind the Scenes Tour of the Ralph Wilson, Jr. Pro Football Research and Preservation Center at the Pro Football Hall of Fame from 10:00-12:30. Jon Kendle will conduct the tour, and there is no fee for the tour. Reservations will be limited to 25, first come, first served. The deadline for reservations is June 12. To make reservations for the Sunday add on, please contact Convention Organizer George Bozeka at firstname.lastname@example.org, 330-571-0112 or 330-867-1950. Also, if you have any questions contact George.
Please stay tuned to The Coffin Corner, PFRA Website, and PFRA Forum for additional details and announcements. If you have any questions regarding the Convention or hotel reservations please contact Convention Organizer George Bozeka by email at email@example.com, or by phone at 330-867-1950 or 330-571-0112.