For sure, Goodyear blimps have consistently looked down on college football games.
Even so — actually, because of that — Goodyear’s iconic airship will be inducted as an honorary member into the College Football Hall of Fame.
It’s a testament to Goodyear blimps providing aerial college football coverage dating back to telecasting the 1955 Rose Bowl.
The blimp will be the first nonplayer or coach to be inducted into the Atlanta-based college football organization.
The Akron tire maker says its blimps over the decades have covered more than 2,000 games, including the latest Cotton Bowl that Goodyear also sponsors.
An exhibit, complete with blimp artifacts, video footage, photos and more will open later this year at the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame.
The National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame will induct the blimp as well as former college players and coaches. The 2019 College Football Hall of Fame Class, also announced Monday, is made up of 13 players and two coaches who will be officially inducted during an awards dinner on Dec. 10 in New York City.
“College players and fans know that when the Goodyear blimp shows up, it’s a big game. Its presence is intrinsically known and tied to the traditions that make college football so great,” Archie Manning, National Football Foundation chairman, said in a news release. “As the eye in the sky to college football’s greatest coaches, players and moments, it’s only fitting that the Goodyear blimp joins the College Football Hall of Fame in a year when the game celebrates its 150th anniversary.”
Blimp “firsts” include being the first to provide aerial coverage of a major sports event and the first to deliver high definition live video to a national sports game.
ESPN planned to do a live production, or BlimpCast, inside the blimp of the 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship on Monday between the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide and the second-ranked Clemson Tigers.
“I’ve been lucky enough to both play and broadcast underneath the shadow of one of sports’ biggest icons, and each time it’s special,” said Kirk Herbstreit, former college football player and ESPN analyst. “For me, playing under the blimp felt like a payoff for the hard work that goes into game day, so I’m excited it’s getting recognized for its contributions to college football.”
Goodyear is proud that its airship is an honorary member of the College Football Hall of Fame, Todd Macsuga, Goodyear’s general manager brand marketing, North America consumer, said in the release.
Goodyear has three U.S.-based NT, or New Technology, semi-rigid airships that were all built at its Wingfoot Lake blimp base in Suffield Township outside Akron.
Wingfoot One is based in Florida, Wingfoot Two is based in California, while the newest airship, Wingfoot Three, is based at Wingfoot Lake.