Washington, D.C. – Last night, U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) introduced bipartisan legislation authorizing the U.S. Mint to create a commemorative coin in recognition of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. The Pro Football Hall of Fame represents the best in professional football by honoring the individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the sport, preserving the history of the game, and promoting the positive values of the sport.  Canton, Ohio is the proud birthplace of pro football, as the American Professional Football League, which later became the NFL, was founded there in 1920.  The Buckeye State claims 23 Hall of Famers who played for the Bengals and Browns.

“The commemorative coin is a great way to recognize the legends who have contributed to America’s rich football heritage,” said Portman. “Ohio is well-represented in the Hall of Fame due to the talent of many former Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals players, including the great Ozzie Newsome, Bobby Mitchell, and my good friend Anthony Muñoz.  The Pro Football Hall of Fame commemorative coin will ensure that important aspects of America’s sports history are preserved, at no cost to the taxpayer.”

“West Virginia is proud to have six of its own in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, two of whom came from my hometown of Farmington” said Manchin.  “They contributed more to the little coal mining towns than just their talents on the football field.  They inspired everyone who watched them and showed that with a little bit of God-given talent and determination to succeed, you can be anything you want to be.  This coin will support the legacy that the Hall of Fame preserves and recognize the ways that sports gives back to our communities.”

In December 2012, 13 Pro Football Hall of Famers sent a letter to the U.S. Senate expressing their support of this legislative measure to commemorate and strengthen the Hall of Fame, stating, “With the present success of professional football, we believe that, more than ever, it is important for the Pro Football Hall of Fame to expand its capabilities to preserve the game’s history.”

They added, “The Pro Football Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act will honor the players, the history, and the cultural impact of professional football...The bill will not have a cost for taxpayers, but it will help support the Hall of Fame’s ‘Future 50’ effort, the largest expansion and renovation project in the Hall’s history. It will also allow fans across the country to join the excitement and participate in the game’s rich history with expanded education and national outreach programs.”

The bill will not come at a cost to taxpayers.  Since the modern commemorative coin program began in 1982, the United States Mint has raised over $418 million in surcharges to help build new museums, maintain national monuments like the Vietnam War Memorial, preserve historical sites like George Washington’s home, support various Olympic programs, and much more.  The proceeds from the Pro Football Hall of Fame commemorative coin will be used to support the Hall of Fame’s efforts to preserve and acquire memorabilia from one of America’s most popular sports.

Portman and Manchin introduced the Pro Football Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act (S.3077) in the last Congress, along with 12 other Senate cosponsors.  Representative Jim Renacci (OH-16) introduced corresponding legislation in the 112th Congress which passed the House of Representatives in August 2012.

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