Baker: Plan for full HOF ceremony, but contingencies in place

Much like the entire NFL season, the Pro Football Hall of Fame is planning for the HOF Game and ceremony to move forward as scheduled.

Hall of Fame president David Baker joined Good Morning Football on Wednesday and said that there are several contingencies in place in case those plans get altered and the game (Aug. 6) or enshrinement (Aug. 8) cannot take place.

"Our plan right now is to go forward as if we're going to have a full ceremony ... just like we normally would," Baker said. "But we also have really five contingency plans that stretch from delaying it for a couple weeks to going all the way to next year. We have had to run financial analysis on that and we have like 17 different partners -- including the NFL Network, ESPN and NBC -- and so we've had to work it through with those partners. Kind of like the game itself, we have a game plan. We're preparing to move forward. But we're also ready, if we have to call an audible, to go to any contingency."

The Pro Football Hall of Fame reopened Wednesday, after being closed for the first time in its history for the past three months. Baker noted that there is no certainty when it comes to the future, given the unknown nature of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I was very encouraged by, when all this came down, I think it was March 11, which was a Wednesday night -- March Madness was canceled by the NCAA, NASCAR canceled its series, Spring Training was canceled, the NBA suspended its season. As it turns out, about 36 hours later, at 9 o'clock on Friday morning, our tickets for the Hall of Fame Game, between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cowboys, went on sale. I (was) a little concerned about that in that environment, but I want to tell you that it sold out in 22 minutes. The enshrinement is almost sold out. So, we've got the luxury of not worry about having to sell tickets, but we want to see what happens. We're all prayin', not only for the Hall of Fame Game but for the season, because we may know more 30 days from now than we do now. We certainly know more now than we did 30 days ago. But we're going to be ready for whatever comes."

The Steelers and Cowboys are slated to meet in the preseason Hall of Fame Game on Thursday, Aug. 6, at 8 p.m. ET.

Five modern-era players (Steve Atwater, Isaac Bruce, Steve Hutchinson, Edgerrin James and Troy Polamalu), two coaches (Bill Cowher and Jimmy Johnson) and three contributors (Steve Sabol, Paul Tagliabue and George Young) are set to be enshrined on Saturday, Aug. 8.

Ten senior selections (Harold Carmichael, Jimbo Covert, Bobby Dillon, Cliff Harris, Winston Hill, Alex Karras, Donnie Shell, Duke Slater, Mac Speedie and Ed Sprinkle) are scheduled to be enshrined in a separate ceremony on Friday, Sept. 18 as part of the once-in-a-lifetime Centennial Celebration in honor of the NFL's 100th year.

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