Sports Collectibles Holiday Gifting Guide for Autographed Memorabilia Rookies


Before we know it, our loved ones are going to hand us their holiday shopping lists and if your family is anything like mine, what used to be video games and toy robots now reads autographed trading cards or a signed football, jersey or helmet from their favorite sports players. Prior to working in the sports memorabilia industry, I would not have known where to start – beyond a Google and a prayer. Now I am here, Dear Abby-style, to help all of the spouses, parents, co-workers and novice givers who want to get the best gift possible for their sports fanatic friends and family without breaking the bank.


Buy from a company that will accept returns after the holidays. I cannot tell you how many times we get the call that no gift giver of memorabilia wants to make, “I bought this autographed football, and my husband already has it, and I need to return it.” We, and others, will accept returns whenever and for whatever reason, as long as the merchandise is in sellable condition and not custom-framed. Choosing a gift can be difficult and we want everyone to be happy.


Ensure the autograph on the item you’re looking to purchase is certified authentic. There are different types of authentication and different companies that provide these services. The most common phrase you’ll hear is a Certificate of Authenticity (or COA). In the past, these would be a physical piece of paper or card that stated the authenticity of the item and/or origination. Unfortunately, these were pretty easy to fake so as collecting has become a larger industry and we’ve moved into a new era of technology and invention, most authentication companies now use tamper-evident stickers (that may or may not still be referred to as a certificate or COA). The stickers can be a hologram and may have a QR code to direct you to the authenticator’s website database to verify your item. The most important aspect of a card or sticker is the number. The number is what you will use to look up on the authenticator’s official website and verify who signed the item and possibly where or when it was signed. This is an important feature that adds extra value to the collectible if you’re ever looking to possibly sell it in the future. The main benefit of the tamper-evident sticker is that it ensures the item you are receiving has not been altered. The sticker will leave specific marks if removed. Cards and tickets are slabbed or encapsulated, meaning they are sealed in a plastic case, authenticated and graded based on their condition. Finally, there is the Letter of Authenticity (or LOA). Letters are usually reserved for rare autographs, people who have passed away or items signed by multiple people. Some of the very reputable authentication companies include, but are not limited to:


Display cases and frames are highly recommended for autographed collectibles. Sports memorabilia, like other types of keepsakes, should be properly preserved. Framing is the best way to keep photos and jerseys pristine and looking great. Not to mention, it’s an excellent way to show off a prized autographed possession (while keeping it safe). Display cases for helmets, baseballs, footballs and endzone pylons are the best way to keep the items and the autographs preserved for years to come. Without proper care, the autograph may fade or smudge. In addition, depending on where they are stored or displayed, the item itself may become damaged by dust and lack of care. Autographed memorabilia items are an investment and should appreciate in value with time, if stored properly. For others, framing and display cases provide an avenue to show off your collectibles as if you have your very own art gallery or museum. Click here to learn how we custom-frame our jerseys!



Not all helmets are created equal. We are often asked to explain the difference between replica and authentic full-size football helmets. The simplest answer is the padding. The authentic helmet has the padding inside you would need to play in a professional game, while the replica has a plastic plate or an empty interior, depending on the age of the helmet. The longer answer is that an authentic helmet may add more value to the item due to the cost and accuracy of the construction, being the closest to what the players actually wear on the field. Additionally, there is an entire discussion about SpeedFlex versus Speed Rep or Eclipse versus Chrome and some of us who are buying gifts don’t care enough about the differences. It may seem overwhelming or complicated but, most of those terms mostly refer to the aesthetic aspects of the helmet. If you can afford it, go authentic. If you can’t, buy a replica version. At the end of the day, for most invested collectors, it is about the autograph. For those who just want it to look good, the matte black Eclipse and white matte Lunar variations, in addition to the shiny Chrome or radiant Flash versions always tend to grab the eye of admirers of a collection. They also add variation to an assortment that may already include the basic team designs. If the intended recipient is a stickler for historical accuracy, there are also throwback variations of team helmets corresponding to the different eras of uniforms worn by a team. Ardent collectors usually prefer to have the helmet bearing the autograph correspond to the style or design that was worn or used when that player was on the team. These are sometimes more difficult to find but can definitely add to the value. We have experts on-hand to help you find the best version of an autographed memorabilia item that fits both your budget and the fan or collector that you’re shopping for.

Football Helmet Varieties


When it comes to the autograph itself, you want to find a clean, clear signature in a color that pops on the surface or photo – like white on red or black on white. As we all know, even some of the most accomplished individuals don’t necessarily have the neatest handwriting or sign their names legibly. Each signature is different. Certain players do not sign their entire name and others spell it out with every letter. There are players

Derrick Brooks Autographed Football

like Pro Football Hall of Famers Derrick Brooks of the Florida State Seminoles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Lynn Swann of USC Trojans and Pittsburgh Steelers fame who have signatures that are works of art themselves. It is evident on all of their items (and we know from working with them at signings) that they take pride in their autographs and have added fun elements. Brooks incorporates a smiley face with his signature and Swann draws the letter S in his last name to resemble the elegant bird that is a homophone of his surname. Autographs can be acquired at an organized signing or captured in a quick moment – adding or detracting to the accuracy and quality of the signature. Some items have inscriptions (for example, a player’s number,  championship, accomplishment(s), nickname or clever phrase) and some don’t. Some items are personalized and others aren’t. Inscriptions most often add to the value of the item as a lot of famous figures charge more for additional verbiage at an autograph signing. Prime examples are a National Championship or Hall of Fame induction year, accomplishments like Rookie of the Year (ROY) or MVP or a team motto like Roll Tide for the Alabama Crimson Tide or Go Dawgs for the Georgia Bulldogs and others. Conversely, a personalization (like To Joe) can reduce the resale value of a collectible as it is really only meaningful for a person with that name (but what a treasure if you happen to find an item in the wild with your gift recipient’s name on it, as long as they’re not looking to resell in the future).


I know that the amount of information here can be daunting. But in the end, it is really about your loved one’s face when they unwrap their jaw-dropping gift and you become the ULTIMATE HOLIDAY HERO!

When in doubt, please reach out to our Customer Experience Specialists who are ready and eager to assist you with any questions or concerns you may have to ensure that you find the perfect gift for the sports and entertainment fanatics in your life. Shop your loved ones’ favorite sports superstars’ autographed helmets, autographed jerseys, autographed baseballs, autographed footballs, autographed photos and more today at!

Contact us during business hours, Monday through Friday from 9am until 5pm, eastern time on the phone at 800-793-9793 or through the chat feature in the bottom corner of our website at Alternately, you can email us at [email protected]. Due to the holiday volume, please allow a couple business days for an email or voicemail response.


This post brought to you by Sports Collectibles Blog Dog, Fancie!

-Fancie is mom to Blog Dog Shimmer. As the mama, she wanted to bring this sage advice to other mamas and loved ones looking for the perfect gift for the sports lovers in their lives. Fancie is just as stately and elegant as her name suggests, except when Shimmer is chasing her around the house! But she also knows that her human mama can’t resist her precious face and loves to spoil her rotten.


College Rivalry Spotlight – Georgia vs Florida Football Classic

As October comes to a close, several NCAA Football teams are hyping up to face off with one of their rivals – the #2-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes will be traveling to State College to take on #13 Penn State Nittany Lions (not as much friction as a Buckeyes / Wolverines game, but still a good matchup), while intrastate rivals #4 Michigan and Michigan State face off. However, in terms of celebrations, the SEC’s GeorgiaFlorida Football Classic in Jacksonville, FL this weekend will be drawing fans near and far to “DUUUVAL” for what was once well-known as The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. The teams and the city have since eschewed that moniker, giving rise to the “River City Showdown” and “War of the Oar,” among others, but generally it’s known as the Florida-Georgia or Georgia-Florida game, depending on who the home team is that year.

This year, the undefeated Bulldogs are the home team and Stetson Bennett, Brock Browers and crew are expected to soundly defeat Anthony Richardson and the Orange and Blue. However, intense rivalry matchups can sometimes be unpredictable, which will only amplify the hum of excitement generated by the throngs of cross-border rivals that will converge on the city on the St. Johns River starting Thursday.

Adding to the contention between these two storied franchises, even the year of the first matchup is debated. According to the University of Georgia‘s Athletic Department, the first game between the two schools was held in 1904 in Macon, Georgia, with the Bulldogs coming out on top, 52-0. This is disputed by the Gators because the University of Florida, as we know it now, wasn’t officially formed until the Florida state legislature consolidated its public universities in 1905. Therefore, according to UF, the first Florida-Georgia matchup was in 1915 in Jacksonville. The Dawgs still shutout the Gators 37-0 with Florida not winning until their 8th matchup (7th for UF) in 1928.

Both teams have had their winning streaks over the years and it’s always a momentous matchup for fans on both sides of the Florida-Georgia state line. Since 1933, the game has been held in Jacksonville on neutral territory (with the exception of 1994 and 1995) as it is the largest city between the two campuses to accommodate the swell of revelers. The game even has its own hall of fame that holds an induction ceremony over the weekend to honor two players from each team. The city of Jacksonville Sports and Entertainment Office established the hall of fame in 1995 “to acknowledge the many great records, performances, career highlights and outstanding memories that have made the Georgia-Florida game one of college football’s best traditions.” This year’s inductees include Georgia’s John Little and Champ Bailey and Florida’s Andre Caldwell and Trey Burton.

Over the years, the showdown between these two storied football programs has produced moments that have echoed through time and become a part of each team’s rich history. Will this year’s game add to the lore? After all, in 1985, the Gators came to Jacksonville undefeated and #1 in the nation for the first time in the school’s history. The year prior, they beat Georgia 27-0 to secure their first-ever SEC Title. This game would not go as well for UF. Georgia soundly defeated the #1 team, 24-3, ending Florida’s hopes that year for another title. In 2002, the 5-3 Gators beat the 8-0, #4-ranked, Bulldogs, ruining their perfect season in a stunning upset. Could the Gators once again pull an upset and triumph over the currently undefeated, reigning 2021 National Champions? Unlikely – but there’s a certain kind of magic in the mystery of the matchup.

When one thinks of the Bulldogs’ 1980 Championship team, legend Herschel Walker is probably the first player that comes to mind. But it was during the 1980 game at the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville that another star rose to save the season. Arguably one of the best plays in college football history occurred during a Florida-Georgia weekend and helped to secure Georgia’s first-ever National Championship Title in 1980. Known as “Run Lindsay, Run!” (or as I was instructed by the legendary ball-carrier Lindsay Scott himself, “Munson really only ever said Run Lindsay!“), the pass from QB Buck Belue to WR Lindsay Scott and Scott’s ensuing 92-yard run saved Vince Dooley‘s #2 Bulldogs’ perfect season and allowed them to press on and win the 1980 National Championship. The undefeated Dawgs were trailing by one point (21-20) with one minute and 35 seconds left in the game facing third and long on their own 8-yard line. Belue threw a high pass to Scott who ran the football down the sideline 92 yards to score and win the game. The televised moment was made truly iconic due to long-time Georgia announcer Larry Munson‘s call of the play.

Buck back. Third down on the 8. In trouble. Got a block behind him. Going to throw on the run. Complete to the 25, to the 30. Lindsay Scott 35, 40. Lindsay Scott 45, 50, 45, 40. Run Lindsay! 25, 20, 15, 10, 5. Lindsay Scott! Lindsay Scott! Lindsay Scott! 

Well, I can’t believe it. 92 yards and Lindsay really got in a footrace. I broke my chair. I came right through a chair. … This is incredible! You know this game has always been called the world’s greatest cocktail party. … Do you know what is going to happen here tonight? … Man is there gonna be some property destroyed tonight!

26 to 21, Dawgs on top! We were gone. I gave up, you did too. We were out of it and gone. Miracle!

Across the years, during the highs and lows of these two legendary football programs, the city of Jacksonville has borne witness to gridiron greatness and this year’s game will be no different. If you’re going to Duval, make sure to find our GameDay Auctions booths at the Hall of Fame Luncheon, during the block party surrounding the Exhibition Baseball game on Friday and in the stadium at the game on Saturday. Find more information about the schedule of events HERE.

Regardless of which team you cheer for, find autographed memorabilia celebrating legends like Nick Chubb, Herschel Walker, Buck Belue, Lindsay Scott, Jordan DavisTim Tebow, Emmitt Smith, Steve Spurrier and Danny Wuerffel plus current stars Stetson Bennett, Brock Bowers, Anthony Richardson, and more. Do you have a favorite Florida-Georgia/Georgia-Florida showdown year or moment? Let us know in the comments!

Can’t make it to the game? Just for reading our blog, save an extra 10%* now when you shop with promo code GAFL2022 through 10/31/22! Shop autographed jerseys, autographed footballs, signed full-size Riddell Speed Replica and Authentic Helmets, autographed photos, autographed mini helmets and more today. Also be sure to check out our custom jersey and photo framing options to make your autographed collectibles museum-worthy!

You can also find our GameDay Auctions booths at every Georgia Bulldogs and Florida Gators home football game the rest of this season. For more information on where to find our Georgia GameDay Auctions booths at Sanford Stadium in Athens, click HERE. Get more details on where to find us at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, aka The Swamp, in Gainesville by clicking HERE. Thanks for reading! We’ll see you at the game!

Speaking of JACKSONville, this post IS brought to you by Sports Collectibles Blog Dog Jackson!

– Jackson is a rescue dog born and raised in Florida. He loves watching NFL football with his pop-pop and college football with his GiGi when he visits her in Ohio. This weekend he will be cheering on both teams although he might lean a bit toward the Gators. His mama is the Team Lead for GameDay Auctions at the University of Georgia (and has become an adopted Georgia Bulldogs fan herself) so he gets jealous of the Uga stuffed animals that she brings home and hates when she has to travel to Athens for the football games. But he also gets EXTRA EXCITED when she comes home from a trip so he doesn’t mind it too much. He won’t be in Jacksonville this weekend but looks forward to his next opportunity to blog!


Watch Out for these Fantasy Football Wideouts This Season

Every single day that passes by in the NFL Preseason, fantasy managers across the country are getting more and more excited to draft their fantasy team. The wide receiver position has blossomed into one of the most dominant position groups to target earlier in a draft.

Some of the top-end fantasy receiver talent on a week-to-week basis has a higher upside for fantasy managers than running backs, especially in the popular PPR formats. The high-end wide receivers even have a more consistent production record than running backs which can give you one less headache to deal with all season. We will be highlighting some of the best receivers to draft in your league this year.

The top receiver this season is Los Angeles Rams current Triple Crown Winner Cooper Kupp was absolutely unstoppable last season and won plenty of fantasy football championships for his fantasy managers. Kupp is easily the top receiver going into this season as well. While he may not win the receiving Triple Crown again, he will be putting up monster numbers in a pass-heavy Sean McVay-coached Rams offense. There are a couple of questions this season with how Cooper Kupp’s target share will look with newly acquired Allen Robinson II and quarterback Matthew Stafford’s elbow soreness. Even with these questions, Kupp looks like a clear cut WR1 and worth a top 5 selection in your fantasy football draft.

There is some debate on the second-best receiver in the fantasy football community. However, we believe that the next best receiver you should be looking at is former LSU Tigers standout and reigning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Ja’Marr Chase. The Cincinnati Bengals made an unbelievable Super Bowl run thanks in large part to their stud receiver Ja’Marr Chase. He played with Joe Burrow at LSU and has brought that same type of success to the NFL. As a guy who can win any 1-on-1 matchup he is an elite WR1 option. He is helped by the fact that defenses have to respect his receiving counterpart Tee Higgins as well as their terrific wide-zone running game led by Joe Mixon. While having all these additional weapons usually gives fantasy managers pause when spending a top pick on a player given their target share won’t be as large, Chase has show everyone that he can provide excellent production as a WR1. Look for Ja’Marr Chase anywhere in the top 8 selections of your fantasy draft.

Other former LSU Tiger and current Minnesota Vikings star Justin Jefferson is the next best receiver after Kupp and Chase. He also played with Chase and Burrow on that amazing 2019 LSU Tigers National Champions team. While Chase has shown out in the one year he has played, Justin Jefferson has done that over the past two seasons with the Kirk Cousins-led Vikings. Just like Chase getting help with lots of talent, Jefferson also has a star-studded surrounding cast. The other offensive weapons that defenses must worry about covering are fan-favorite Adam Thielen and another top fantasy pick in Florida State Seminoles alum Dalvin Cook. If you are seeing a theme here, it is that these two receivers are incredibly close in fantasy rankings because their situations are incredibly similar. We gave Chase a slight edge, but also look to grab Jefferson in those top 8 picks of your fantasy football draft.

Another top receiver is Los Angeles Chargers player Keenan Allen. While there might be plenty of picks in between our top three receivers and Allen, we assure you that it will be worth the wait. Allen has consistently put up big seasons for fantasy managers everywhere. With a young star quarterback in former Oregon Ducks standout gunslinger Justin Herbert, Allen is looking at another top 10 fantasy campaign on the horizon. Like Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase, Keenan Allen is helped by an excellent surrounding crew in newly re-signed Mike Williams and another top fantasy running back in Austin Ekeler. Allen has plenty of history for fantasy managers to look at and realize this is a WR1 type you can get in round 2 or 3 if you use your early picks on a couple of running backs or get one of the top two tight ends. (Read our Fantasy Tight End 1 Article here.)

The last wide receiver we are looking at is our favorite sleeper pick in former Florida Gators standout Kadarius ‘Yung Joka’ Toney. Toney won’t be going in the top 7 or 8 rounds in any fantasy draft but we believe this could be a big season for him. He is one of our favorite breakout candidates going into this season. While Toney might not be his team’s top wide out, he showed flashes of greatness last year against the Dallas Cowboys. Putting up 189 yards receiving with ten catches certainly gave him WR1 potential. That may not happen on a week-to-week basis, but he has the capability to put up the type of scores to make him a late-round steal after round 8 in fantasy drafts. If Daniel Jones and the rest of the New York Giants offense can put it together, Toney could easily become a top 15 fantasy receiver if he reaches his full potential.

Thanks for reading! Be sure to check out our other 2022-2023 Fantasy Football Draft Advice Blogs here. Follow our blog for the best 2022-2023 NFL Fantasy Football News and Tips throughout the season.

Find all of the best NFL Wide Receiver Authentic Autographed Memorabilia at like autographed helmets, autographed jerseys, autographed footballs and more!

This fantastic Fantasy Football Advice Post was brought to you by Sports Collectibles Blog Dog Barkley!

-Barkley is the ultimate NFL Fantasy Football Superstar. He loves watching football with his mom and dad along with long walks and lots of treats!

Double Play – Sports Superstar Siblings

Seeing a set of siblings in the sports world is nothing new. No matter what sport it is, you’ll find family. We have seen families such as the DiMaggios with Joe, Vince and Dom tearing up professional baseball dating back to the 1950s, all the way to the Klitschko brothers collecting heavyweight title belts in the boxing world. Countless families have made their mark in the sports realm and with Serena Williams announcing her retirement, let’s take a look at some of our favorite Superstar Siblings.

1) Serena and Venus Williams
When one thinks of siblings dominating their sport, it’s impossible not to immediately think of Serena and Venus. The Williams sisters are widely referred to as the greatest female tennis players of all time, being referred to as the “Picasso and Monet” of women’s tennis for their skill. Both sisters have a plethora of accomplishments including both holding the title of number one in the world in singles at different points. Venus held this accomplishment for 11 weeks in 2002 while Serena held the accomplishment for a staggering 316 weeks. That is 72.7 months or 6.05 years. The sisters have dominated the doubles circuit together throughout their careers as well. Together, they have won 22 titles and even have 3 Olympic gold medals to their resume. The Williams sisters are without a doubt the greatest sister duo to grace the tennis court but are also viewed as one of the greatest sibling duos of all time, any sport.

2) John and Jim Harbaugh
This nod may seem off to people as the brothers are currently coaches, but coaches are just as pivotal in sports as the players so these two deserve the spot. John, currently the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens, bounced around coaching jobs after his playing days. He had stints with programs such as the Pitt Panthers, Morehead State, University of Cincinnati Bearcats, and Indiana University Hoosiers. John made the leap to coaching in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1998 as a special teams coach where he stayed for ten seasons before landing the head gig in Baltimore where he would capture a Super Bowl victory. Jim took a little more direct route to coaching in the League. Jim spent 15 seasons in the NFL playing for countless teams. While playing in the league, he assisted his father in scouting and recruiting. After retirement, Jim was brought to the Oakland Raiders where he coached Rich Gannon in 2002, the year Gannon won NFL MVP. Jim went on to coach the San Francisco 49ers, giving us that highly anticipated brother-vs-brother Super Bowl XLVII matchup. Jim Harbaugh is now the well-known head coach of the Michigan Wolverines football team with a record of 61-24. The brothers have solidified their place on this list by becoming the first two brothers in NFL history to coach against each other for a championship.

3) J.J., T.J. and Derek Watt
Any modern-day NFL fan knows the Watt name. J.J. Watt was the first brother in the League and immediately made a name for the family by racking up five tackles and a fumble recovery in his very first game with the Houston Texans. J.J. has built a Hall of Fame worthy career for himself, the man is a 3x NFL Defensive Player of the Year award winner, led the league is sacks twice, tackles for a loss three times and even led the league in forced fumbles AND defensive touchdowns in separate seasons. Youngest brother T.J. is proving to be just as much of a monster. T.J. was an NFL Defensive Player of the Year finalist in 2019 and 2020 before capturing the award in 2021 as he tied the NFL record for sacks in a year with 22.5 in a season. T.J. also led the league in tackles for a loss, quarterback hits, and sacks (obviously) the past two seasons, a clear powerhouse that is only getting started. Middle brother Derek also is signed onto an NFL roster. Derek was drafted in 2016 by the then San Diego Chargers and now plays alongside T.J. with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The odds of a college athlete making it to the professional level are listed at 1.6% while the odds of a child in youth football making it to the Big Time is as little as 0.2%. The Watt family has defied those odds immensely.

4) Joey and Nick Bosa
Oddly enough, our next set of Superior Siblings in Sports are also defensive monsters in the NFL. Joey Bosa and Nick Bosa both hail from THE Ohio State University and were both highly touted coming out of college after playing for the Buckeyes. Joey was selected third overall by the then-San Diego Chargers. Joey has been a problem for opposing offenses since entering the league, having double-digit sack seasons in four out of his first six. Joey also found himself having a career year last season once again, tallying 7 forced fumbles on the year- good for the number two spot in the league. A contract with the Los Angeles Chargers that will add up to $135,000,000 through 2025 isn’t a bad career achievement either. Nick, Joey’s younger brother by three years, has quickly made a household name for himself as well. Chosen as the number 2 overall pick in the 2019 Draft, Nick has already led the league in a statistical category when he racked up 21 Tackles for Loss in 2021. Nick is still on his rookie contract, with the San Francisco 49ers picking up the fifth-year option, but expect a contract similar to his brother’s very soon.

5) Dalvin Cook and James Cook III
Rushing their way into the Running Back Realm of our Superstar Siblings List, this will be the first season that brothers Dalvin Cook and James Cook will be playing on the professional level together. Dalvin, a Florida State Seminoles standout who attended the same high school as Devonta Freeman, another former Seminoles star, played at FSU from 2014 through 2016 under Coach Jimbo Fisher. Dalvin dazzled on the field for the Noles becoming 2014 ACC Championship MVP and bookending his time in Tallahassee with a win over Michigan in the 2016 Orange Bowl. That year he also broke Warrick Dunn‘s Single Season Career Rushing Record of 3,959 yards. After the Orange Bowl win, Cook announced that he was going to forgo his senior season with the Seminoles to join the 2017 NFL Draft. He was selected in the second round by the Minnesota Vikings and has remained with the team for the past 5 seasons. Dalvin’s younger brother James Cook III was initially committed, after his FRESHMAN year of high school, to follow in his brother’s footsteps and become a Florida State Seminole. He later decommitted the summer before his senior year and decided to land in Athens, Georgia with the University of Georgia Bulldogs, charting a course into the history books. As a senior for the Dawgs in 2021, he rushed for 728 yards and 7 TDs plus caught 27 passes for 284 yds and 4 touchdowns- culminating with a National Championship win in Indianapolis over the Alabama Crimson Tide. Declaring for the NFL Draft in 2022, James was drafted also in the 2nd round but by the Buffalo Bills. During Week 10 of the 2022 NFL Season, the Cook brothers will be running against each other in Buffalo and we can’t wait to see how the National Champion Cook will fare this season against his Fantasy Football Favorite brother.

6) Peyton and Eli Manning
These two may be retired from playing but with a heavy New York Giants bias and the two hosting their own Monday Night Football analysis, they’re still getting the final nod on my list. Peyton Manning, hailing from the University of Tennessee Volunteers played with the Indianapolis Colts for the majority of his illustrious career, ending his time on the field with the Denver Broncos, leading them to victory in Super Bowl 50 making him the first starting quarterback to win the Super Bowl with more than one NFL team. He will go down as one of the best to ever do it, there is no NFL fan who is not aware of him. A host to multiple NFL records, two-time Super Bowl champion, five-time NFL MVP, two-time NFL Offensive Player of the Year, fourteen-time Pro Bowler, seven-time First-Team All-Pro, and of course 2007 Super Bowl XLI MVP. Peyton Manning has a better career accolade list than your created Madden NFL player does- he was THAT good. Eli, the New York Giants legend, may not have had the blockbuster career of his older brother, but he wasn’t a slouch. Eli holds the Giants franchise record book slots for passing yards, touchdown passes and completions. Eli also proved to be an ironman player, currently holding the third-longest consecutive starts streak by an NFL quarterback. Ranked 8th in NFL history for passing yards and 9th in touchdowns, a two-time champion over Tom Brady and the NFL record for passing yards in a singular postseason, Eli was still that dude.

Who are your top picks for Dynamic Duos or Trios of Super Siblings? Let us know in the comments below.

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-Tucker, a Military Brat pup hailing from CT – and considered by some to be the 4th Manning brother – loves going for relaxing walks, ear rubs, scratching rugs, and eating entire bowls of chicken enchilada meat before his family can eat it! A HUGE fan of the Yankees, GIANTS and most things New York (with the exception of a borderline-unhealthy obsession with LeBron James), TuckTuck is so excited to get to blog about his favorite thing – SPORTS.

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Enshrinement Memories: My Road to Canton

Unlike most stories about a player’s journey into the hallowed halls of the Museum on George Halas Drive in Canton, Ohio, mine did not begin on the gridiron. It started in Fashion School.

Growing up in Canton, it’s easy to take a world-class museum and Mecca of Football that’s in your own backyard for granted. Sure, I looked forward to the yearly parade in early August and the fireworks that would come a month or so after the 4th of July, but I never truly appreciated the importance of living so close to such a treasured locale until I was in my senior year as a Fashion Merchandising major at Kent State University. Located about 45 minutes from Canton, Kent State, coincidentally, is the alma mater of Pittsburgh Steelers legend and Hall of Famer Jack Lambert and football megastars like San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates, New England Patriots receiver Julian Edelman, Alabama coach Nick Saban, Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz and so many more football greats. As a soon-to-be graduating senior, I needed an internship to complete my degree program. My aunt had a friend who worked at the Hall of Fame. Having been raised in Northeast Ohio, I was, by birth, a Cleveland Browns fan, but not nearly as interested in sports at age 21 as I was when I was younger. I knew more about fabrics and designers than I did about pick sixes and wideouts.

The Hall of Fame Museum Store had just recently launched their e-commerce site, were growing fast and in need of help. The retail and merchandising department had never had an intern before. I didn’t know a lot at the time about football, or sports in general, but retail is retail, right? While this is somewhat true, I found myself needing to learn as much as I could about the gridiron game and its greats in order to excel at my job. I didn’t know at the time that this opportunity at one of the top football destinations in the world would ignite a lifelong enchantment with the sport.

I’ve now worked in the sports industry for over a decade. Though I’ve held jobs in other industries, I kept coming back to sports and everything I learned at the HOF where my professional career began – a place where, for the talented few, a professional football career culminates.

My day-to-day duties as an intern and, later, as E-Commerce Coordinator, were in the licensed merchandise realm and handling marketing for the online and in-museum store. However, during the summer when the Hall becomes one of the top tourist destinations in Ohio and surrounding areas, it was all-hands-on-deck.

My first Hall of Fame Enshrinement as an intern was the Induction of the Class of 2007 – Gene Hickerson, Michael Irvin, Bruce Matthews, Charlie Sanders, Thurman Thomas and Roger Wehrli. By the time Enshrinement Weekend rolled around that summer, I had proofread so many lists of Hall of Famers for the new store merchandise that I could tell you the year that each Hall of Famer was inducted or could spell names like McElhenney, DeLameilleure and Nitschke without hesitation. It wasn’t until the magic of that first Hall of Fame Weekend that the true passion for my job ignited.

The air was electric and excitement was evident on the face of each visitor as they flocked to our museum, converging on Canton like a pilgrimage to a holy place that they may only get to visit once in their lifetime. Seeing stars in fans’ eyes in the presence of their heroes and being part of an event that was in the national spotlight for several days gave a purpose and new meaning to work. Meeting and interacting with players who were the best at what they did and had set records that were forever inscribed in the annals of sports history was inspiring. Learning that most were actually very humble and down-to-Earth men who had led extraordinary lives was insightful. The majority of these Gridiron Greats were appreciative of the Hall of Fame and the city of Canton for the yearly homecoming celebration that gave them a place to congregate with their fellow Enshrinees and reminisce on careers, plays and historic games.

Part of my Hall of Fame Weekend responsibilities included working with the members of the incoming Class to acquire autographed items for our store and assisting in running the public autograph sessions that were run throughout the weekend with the new Class and returning Hall of Famers. I even started our own Returning Hall of Famers Autograph Session in 2012 where we would invite every returning member to participate, giving fans an opportunity to meet players and get autographs from all ends of the pricing spectrum. By 2013, during the 50th Anniversary Enshrinement Celebration, we had a star-studded lineup including names I had even known before my football fascination began- including Chicago Bears famed Coach Mike Ditka, San Francisco 49ers stars Jerry Rice and Steve Young, New York GiantsFrank Gifford, to name a few. The session was a success and I witnessed firsthand what these superstars were made of- as entertainers and as people.

So many memories were made over those weekends where we worked sometimes from 6am until almost midnight, depending on the events being held. But my fondest are of the quieter moments, away from the excitement and craziness, when I was able to observe these gridiron greats as normal human beings who, themselves, were truly in awe of the magnitude of Enshrinement.

In 2011, while working with St. Louis Rams legend Marshall Faulk, getting footballs and helmets signed for the store, I was stationed at the Enshrinees’ hotel in a conference room down from where NFL Auctions was set up for their private signings. I loved this location as you never knew who would pop in to say hello and wish the incoming Inductees luck with the coming weekend. I was getting some fresh paint pens ready for Faulk and when I turned around, I noticed there was a newcomer in the room greeting Marshall. It was none other than larger-than-life legend Coach John Madden. Madden walked over and surprised Faulk as he was busy signing footballs. I ended up witnessing a moment in time that no one else has probably had the opportunity to do and while it wasn’t earth-shattering, I knew it was momentously special. Coach and Player. A simple pep talk and chat between two men became a memory burned in my mind. Faulk was humbled as Madden patted him on the shoulder and wished him the best of luck in the upcoming days- asking about his upcoming Enshrinement speech and advising him to enjoy the excitement and bask in the glory of what was to come.

Other snippets of time from those treasured weekends include watching the incoming Inductees having their final fitting of the infamous Haggar Gold Jacket. And given the size of some of these guys, sometimes last-minute alterations were needed before their upcoming moment on stage. New York Giants Coach Bill Parcells and I talked about his horses in Saratoga and his daughter Jill as he signed for us before his Induction in 2013. Later that same weekend, I helped Minnesota Vikings and Ohio State Buckeyes legend Cris Carter decide which tie would look best with his Gold Jacket. Lastly, in 2011, seeing a rare smile on the face of notorious tough-guy Jack Lambert not once, but twice, first when I mentioned his Kent State polo shirt and that I had gone to school there and later the same day as he spotted his former Steelers teammate “Mean” Joe Greene arriving at the autograph session. The men looked anything but ferocious as they embraced and reminisced.

Current Hall of Famers weren’t the only stars on the grounds during Enshrinement Weekend. Meeting future Gold Jacket Drew Brees when the New Orleans Saints toured before the game one year was a pleasant respite from running rom the autograph tents to my office and back through the closed museum where I happened upon the team. The visiting teams would always tour the Hall the evening before the Hall of Fame Game, eagerly taking in the history and artifacts around them where they hoped to someday find their own likeness sculpted in bronze.

We were a family at the Hall of Fame and the Enshrined members were a part of that group, forever memorialized in those halls. Many would tell me how returning to Canton was like coming home. Sometimes it was the little things that we assisted them with like finding someone a space to take a breath from the crowds in our office area or helping to choose the best souvenirs to take home to their friends and family. The yearly pilgrimage in August is a highly anticipated and joyous reunion for the majority of these guys. I’ll never forget the smiles and hugs from Enshrinees who I had previously worked with during their Induction year when they returned the next to welcome the newest members of their exclusive fraternity. Along with Faulk, Charlie Sanders, Detroit Lions member of the Class of 2007, who was enshrined my first year at the Hall, always had the biggest smile on his face when I’d see him and always remembered my name and asked how I was doing. Memories like these have stayed with me to this day. I have my dream job now in Florida as Director of Marketing for Sports Collectibles and I still get to work with fans and players alike. But I will always miss my co-workers at the Hall and treasure the memories I have from Enshrinement Weekends past as the spotlight once again shines upon Canton and the next group of extraordinary football luminaries preparing to become a part of history.

Congratulations to the Class of 2022 – Tony Boselli of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Cliff Branch of the Oakland Raiders, Green Bay Packers Safety LeRoy Butler, NFL Official Art McNally, Carolina Panthers‘ Sam Mills, Richard Seymour of the New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles Coach Dick Vermeil and Bryant Young of the 49ers!

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This post brought to you by Sports Collectibles Blog Dog Jackson!

-Jackson didn’t grow up in Canton like his mom but he loves visiting his GiGi there! Jackson loves watching football games with his PopPop, cheering on his hometown team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers! He lives to chase his sister Kali the Cat around the house, lay out in the sun on the lanai and play with his Hall-of-Fame-worthy collection of toys.