Thousands of college football fans from across the country will join the National Football Foundation from July 16-17 at the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind., for the organization’s annual Enshrinement Festival, which will pay tribute to the storied careers of Chris Spielman from the Ohio State University along with 23 other football standouts as they are formally enshrined into the Hall of Fame.
“We are very pleased to have the opportunity to enshrine another exceptional class of college football legends,” said NFF President & CEO Steven J. Hatchell. “Each year our hard-working honors courts do an outstanding job ensuring the game’s greatest players and coaches find their place on college football’s mountain top. We look forward to celebrating in South Bend with this amazing class and their loyal fans from around the country.”
A member of the acclaimed Ohio State football program, Chris Spielman made a name for himself during his four years in Columbus. Leading the Buckeyes to three consecutive bowl games, Spielman also played in two Big Ten Championships and earned First Team All-Big Ten three times.
In 1987 Spielman won the Lombardi Award and was named the top defensive player in the 1987 Cotton Bowl. During this game, Spielman had two interceptions; one for 24 yards leading to a touchdown to clinch the Buckeye victory. Spielman finished his career with 546 tackles, eight sacks, and 11 interceptions.
Upon graduation, Spielman was picked in the second round of the NFL draft by the Detroit Lions. During his time with Detroit, Spielman became the first Lion to register 1,000 career tackles. Spielman never missed a game.
After playing for Detroit for eight seasons, he also joined the rosters of the Buffalo Bills and the Cleveland Browns. During his professional career, he was named to the Pro Bowl six times. Spielman suffered a neck injury in 1997, which forced him to retire before the regular season began in 1999. He took the 1998 season off to be with his wife Stefanie, who was battling breast cancer. When commenting about his induction into the College Football Hall of Fame, Spielman remembered his late wife Stefanie:
“There was such a genuine smile on her face and pure joy that she’d gotten out of this, because she understood what my passion for college football is. It’s amazing.”
Spielman now works as an ESPN college football color commentator and for local sports radio shows in Columbus, Ohio. He is also active in increasing resources for breast cancer research.
Fans have a variety of opportunities to meet and mingle with the enshrinees during this spectacular event. The jam-packed weekend will include a celebrity golf tournament, a fan festival, a grand parade, a youth football clinic, a fireworks spectacular with the celebration culminating with the Enshrinement Dinner & Show on Saturday evening.
“The College Football Hall of Fame is honored to host so many notable contributors to the game in South Bend, celebrating this tremendous accolade,” said College Football Hall of Fame Executive Director Lisa Klunder. “Enshrinement in the College Football Hall of Fame is a rare distinction shared by only the most accomplished players, and our festival boasts a myriad of events to highlight this extraordinary achievement.”
Paul M. Banks is President and CEO of The Sports Bank.net , a Midwest focused webzine. He is also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, the Chicago Tribune’s blog network, Walter Football.com, the Washington Times Communities, Yardbarker Network, and Fox Sports.com
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