The Pro Football Hall of Fame has embarked on an ambitious plan to construct a Hall of Fame Village. Saints owner Tom Benson has given the project an enormous chunk of seed money.
As reported last night by Peter King of TheMMQB.com on NBC’s Football Night in America, Benson has made an historic donation to the Hall of Fame.
A statement released confirming the $11 million gift reveals that the Hall of Fame will rename the venue that hosts the annual Hall of Fame game and enshrinement ceremony as the “Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.” Of Benson’s gift, $10 million will be used to upgrade the facility that also serves as the home for two high school teams and two college teams.
The other $1 million from Benson will be devoted to the Hall of Fame’s Legends Landing Program, which is intended to provide assistance and housing for Hall of Famers and former NFL players who are in grave financial need.
“My donation to the Hall of Fame was an easy decision,” Mr. Benson said in a statement. “It was a right decision and it was a decision that I believe will have great impact on the current game and help foster a better game in the future while also having direct and tangible impacts on the Legends of our game with the Legends Landing.”
Mr. Benson, who purchased the Saints in 1985, also sent a letter to his fellow owners requesting that they match his $1 million gift to the Legends Landing Program.
“While recognition for a gift like this is nice, it is not the point,” Benson said. “The point is understanding what is behind the plans for the Hall of Fame Village. . . . Once I learned them I wanted to play a role. . . . I feel this small part I am playing here is my way of saying thank you to the great game of football.”
It’s a great gesture, and here’s hoping that others who have benefited from the game of football will follow Mr. Benson’s lead.