The three words we’ve been waiting a long time to hear: Football. Is. Back.
The 2022 Hall of Fame Classic between the Las Vegas Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars kicks off Thursday, Aug. 4, at 8 p.m. ET in Canton.
Fans looking to catch the action live can shop around at a trio of third-party ticket vendors: StubHub, VividSeats and TicketNetwork.
Check out the prices as of Aug. 1:
- StubHub seats start at $63
- VividSeats seats start at $72
- TicketNetwork seats start at $86
Fans eager to watch the game live on TV can do so for free with a fuboTV free trial or a DirecTV free trial.
More from The AP:
HENDERSON, Nev. (AP) — Growing up in Canton, Ohio, Josh McDaniels vividly remembers seeing stenciled helmets painted on the double-yellow lines on his way to Canton McKinley High School.
Every day, McDaniels couldn’t help but admire one of the most famous sports shrines in America, the Pro Football Hall of Fame sitting minutes from McKinley’s campus.
“It was never lost on me that this is a special place,” the first-year Las Vegas Raiders coach said Sunday. “There is such an element of history and tradition.”
And when he suited up for the varsity Bulldogs, their home games were played at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, formerly Fawcett Stadium, a 22,500-seat venue that is known much more for an annual game in August than anything else.
So when McDaniels takes the field with the Raiders on Thursday for this year’s Hall of Fame Game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, a mix of emotions and nostalgia just may overcome the 46-year-old.
“You’re playing right there, and you can see it over the stands,” McDaniels said. “It was a great place to be a young boy that loved football and what a blessing that I have an opportunity to come back there and do it. I never would have dreamed that this would have happened.”
The game will be extra special with late legendary wide receiver Cliff Branch and defensive lineman Richard Seymour set to be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Saturday, also at Benson Stadium.
And while McDaniels is looking forward to bringing his wife Laura and their four children, seeing his parents, reconnecting with family and old friends, some coaches, and former high school teammates, he’s especially excited to bring the Raiders to Canton.
“We took a poll the other day and there’s a lot of them that have never been there,” McDaniels said. “They’re in this fraternity and it’s this special place and I’ve been through it I can’t tell you how many times. And each time I go through it, I see something different or new or they’ve added to it.
“You just get excited because it’s such an important part of our game and so to be able to represent the league and our team going there and playing with Richard and Cliff going in, it’s just an exciting opportunity for us and I think our team is excited.”
Punter A. J. Cole III said he’s a “sneaky museum guy” and is looking forward to touring the Hall of Fame, and will be on the hunt for a specific former Raider punter’s relic.
“See if I can find Ray Guy’s cleat or something like that,” Cole said. “See if they got some cool artifacts in there, but yeah it will be cool to see that, the history of that, and see all the guys that get inducted.”
Prior to playing on Thanksgiving for the first time last season, when the Raiders pulled off the upset in Dallas, quarterback Derek Carr reflected on his younger days and playing a “Turkey Bowl” with his brother David before his family would gather to watch the NFL slate and eat dinner.
With another nostalgic game in front of him, Carr said he hasn’t thought much about playing in the preseason opener, yet, as his focus has been on what is an important ninth season of his career.
“To be able to play in that game, obviously, would be awesome,” Carr said. “Especially against a good football team, good front, good cover guys, good linebackers – it’d be fun to see it. At the end of the day, we are in training camp, so my mind is like ‘what do I have to do this afternoon? I got a lot in the meetings; I got a lot in the walkthrough.’ That is already going through my head. If I’m honest, I haven’t thought about what that would be like, but I’m assuming the more that I think about (it), absolutely it would be cool.”
McDaniels said with an extra preseason game, he and his staff we’ll try to make decisions they think are best for the team in terms of what they need to get accomplished each week. Whether it’s taking time to simply get reacclimated to calling plays, getting in the huddle, or playing third-down defense against real-time, real-speed opponents, McDaniels is ready to treat the preseason as if there’s plenty to be gained by everyone.
This week, part of that is embracing the history and nostalgia of the sport they’ve grown to love and play.
“It will be really an experience,” McDaniels said. “Surreal is probably a good word for it … my family has spent a lot of nights there over many, many years and so it’s a special place for us, and looking forward to having a special night hopefully on Thursday.”
Boselli carries memories of late father into Hall of Fame
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Tony Boselli has a video to watch, a bona fide tear-jerker that’s sure to turn one of the toughest offensive tackles in NFL history into an emotional wreck.
It’s a congratulatory message from his father, recorded 11 days before Don Anthony Boselli Sr. died following a 10-month bout with cancer.
Tony’s friends and family played it for him during a party celebrating his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in early February. The 6-foot-7 Colorado native and former USC star nicknamed “Big Bo” couldn’t bear to even peek at the big screen.
The first pick in Jacksonville Jaguars history and the franchise’s first Hall of Fame selection buried his face in his hands, losing control as an ultra-proud father gushed about his uber-successful son.
“I get emotional just thinking about it,” Boselli said recently. “I still haven’t got up the strength to go back and watch it all.”
He plans to, though. Boselli hopes to muster the nerve to hit play before next Saturday’s Hall of Fame enshrinement in Canton, Ohio. It will be nearly a six-month wait to watch the entire nine-minute clip, a relatively brief delay considering it took Boselli six years to gain entrance into the NFL’s most esteemed club.
His dad was there for every minute and milestone — except the final and most fulfilling one.
“I know he would have been just over the moon,” Boselli said. “And so, selfishly for me really more than anything, him not being here is hard. But I know that he was proud of me. It doesn’t take away the fact that he was there every step of the way during my journey.
“But there’ll be a small little void in Canton without him being there, but I know he’s there in spirit. I believe he’s looking down from heaven smiling and proud of his oldest son making it to the Hall of Fame.”
The 50-year-old Boselli credits his namesake for being a role model, a mentor, a friend and a hero. Boselli Sr. taught his oldest son how to water ski, snow ski and play just about every sport. The elder Boselli would spend all day managing a McDonald’s franchise in Boulder and come home to play baseball, basketball or football with the kids.
Fostering a strong work ethic was always the main goal, and Tony was clearly paying attention. It helped him through high school, college, the NFL and in life after football.
Boselli was a five-time Pro Bowl selection in seven seasons in Jacksonville. His relatively short career was the main reason he needed six tries as a finalist to get a bronze bust.
His playing days were cut short because of a botched shoulder surgery, an injury that never allowed him to get on the field after the Houston Texans made him the top pick in the 2002 expansion draft. Nonetheless, Boselli has the distinction of being the first pick in the history of two franchises.
During his Jacksonville tenure, he was perhaps the best left tackle in the league. He allowed 15½ sacks in 91 games and was a three-time All-Pro (1997-99).
He took his game to another level against the NFL’s top competition, stifling stars such as Reggie White, John Randle and Bruce Smith along the way. He dominated and frustrated Smith during a wild-card game in December 1996, holding the league’s Defensive Player of the Year without a sack in Jacksonville’s 30-27 victory.
Boselli gained even more recognition two years later when he manhandled and even taunted Miami’s Jason Taylor on “Monday Night Football.” Boselli and Taylor exchanged verbal jabs throughout the prime-time game, which the Jaguars won 28-21, and their highly anticipated matchup got heated when Boselli motioned to Taylor to follow him down the field after Jacksonville scored a late touchdown.
“I think he wound up getting a personal foul,” said Taylor, a 2017 Hall of Fame inductee who played 15 NFL seasons. “It was probably for unnecessary roughness because he was wearing my (butt) out.
“If they didn’t turn the lights out, lock the gate and make everybody leave the stadium, I would still be there right now with him whipping my (butt).”
While those two games deservedly get plenty of attention in Boselli’s career, his best play often gets lost in the shuffle. On Nov. 8, 1998, Cincinnati cornerback Artrell Hawkins scooped up Mark Brunell’s fumble at the Jaguars 40-yard line and appeared headed for a touchdown. But Hawkins started celebrating too soon and pointing at a 330-pound Boselli who was chasing him. Boselli ended up catching him at the 15.
Six plays later, Jaguars cornerback Aaron Beasley picked up Neil O’Donnell’s fumble and returned it 90 yards for a score and a 24-0 lead.
“Hopefully, it defines the whole team,” Boselli said after the victory.
It certainly did Boselli, a hard-nosed left tackle who was willing to do anything to help the Jaguars win. He was a leader in the locker room and in the community, and he remains an integral part of the organization more than two decades after his last game. He’s currently an NFL radio analyst for Westwood One and part of Jacksonville’s preseason broadcast team.
The Jaguars worked with Boselli’s wife of 27 years, Angi, to shoot the video of Boselli’s dying father. Boselli Sr. had spent some of his final months near his son in Jacksonville while getting treatment for melanoma. He died on Memorial Day 2021.
The team’s video staff whittled the nine-minute video into a 90-second clip for the HOF party, with Boselli Sr. sharing his thoughts in a voice softened from cancer treatments.
“He was a really tough character. He was tough in all sports and everything that he did. He was the hardest-hitting player on the team. Today, Tony Boselli is a hard-working man,” the elder Boselli said. “In fact, there’s many times I’ve told Tony, ‘Quit working so hard. You’re working too many hours and you’re doing too much.’ He says, ‘Dad, that’s OK, because you were a hard-working man, too, and you supported us and you always showed us how to be that kind of character.’
“Tony was the most gifted athlete out there. I would like to share with him how proud I am of what he’s accomplished throughout his years of football, throughout his years of being a man, and everything that he has done to get to this position. Because he has done a lot more than just play football to get to this position. He is truly a great man.”