CANTON, Ohio The Pro Football Hall of Fame is stuffy and old, filled with yellowing documents and bronze busts of players you've never heard about.
Wrong again, young whippersnapper.
In fact, one of the items currently on display dates all the way to Sept. 9. The ball that the 49ers' David Akers booted for a record-tying 63-yard field goal in Green Bay is there in the "Pro Football Today" gallery just a few feet from a football signed by 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh. He and Ravens coach John Harbaugh are noted for being the first head-coaching brothers to square off in a game.
Alex Smith may have his detractors but even his jersey is in the Hall. It represents the games that have been played abroad, in this case the 2005 contest between the 49ers and Cardinals in Mexico City.
The ball that Akers kicked was put on display Tuesday afternoon. On Tuesday morning, it was in a storage area in the facility's basement, one of the more than 800 footballs the Hall has gathered over the years.
There's the ball from the 1958 championship game between the Giants and Colts, commonly referred to as "The Greatest Game Ever Played." The ball from the first game played in the New Orleans Superdome after Hurricane Katrina is there, too.
Every time a player sets a record, the Hall asks for the ball. The one that Jerry Rice caught to set the NFL receptions record, for instance, is in one of the hundreds of boxes being housed in Canton.
Collections specialist Ashley Carter said about 90 percent of the Hall's collection is in storage, which is partly why the Hall is taking about 200 items on the road for the first time.
The Hall announced Tuesday that a traveling, 5,000-square-foot interactive exhibit will debut in Pittsburgh on Oct. 6, followed by stops in New Orleans for the 2013 Super Bowl, St. Louis and Detroit before going to New York/New Jersey for the 2014 Super Bowl.
A California stop is planned perhaps to coincide with a Santa Clara-hosted Super Bowl but a date has not been announced. The exhibit will spend between three to six months in each city.
The aim is to give viewers a taste of the Hall itself. It will feature select busts of Hall of Famers as well as artifacts like Rice's ball and the shoe the Saints' Tom Dempsey wore when he originally set the 63-yard field-goal record in 1970.
The traveling exhibit also will contain some never-seen-before items. Indeed, some of the most fascinating and touching possessions are currently in storage and away from public view.
For instance, there's a folded-up piece of green carpet on a shelf in the Hall's basement. It happens to be the section of turf from Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh where Franco Harris made "the Immaculate Reception" in 1972.
A dark green garment bag hangs a few feet away. It seems unimportant until you read the tag attached to it Pat Tillman, New Almaden, Ca. It's the bag the late Tillman used on the road when he was with the Cardinals.
As for Akers' ball, it's currently part of the wing that changes over quickly as new records are set and new milestones achieved. It rests above the kicking shoe worn by the Raiders' Sebastian Janikowski, who made a 63-yard field goal last season.
Carter said those items might not be replaced as rapidly.
"Those are more historical," he said. "They'll be on display longer, probably."
Akers has said he'll eventually send his shoe to the Hall of Fame. It's just that he's using it right now.