Ziegler Fiesta Bowl Museum

IMG_8942_resizedWith the exception of 4 days when we flew to Tampa to see some Blue Jays Spring Training games, we made Scottsdale our home base from March 15th to April 5th.  While I will probably write at least one blog post to give you our overall impressions of the area, (given it was our first trip to Arizona), for the most part I’m going to provide you with a series of posts about the things we did, saw, visited, and experienced.

For no particular reason as far as order is concerned, here’s the first one.

Fiesta Bowl team sweaters_resizedRegardless of whether or not you’re a fan of U.S. College Football, you’re probably aware of the proliferation of “Bowl” games that take place on or around New Year’s Day.  One of the most important of these annual match-ups between the top College teams in the U.S. is the Fiesta Bowl, played at the University of Arizona’s stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

And again, regardless of whether you follow the U.S. College game very closely or not, you’ve likely heard of the “Heisman Trophy“, awarded annually to the outstanding college football player in the United States.

Why I am writing about bowl games, and the Heisman Trophy?  Because, not far from our condo in Scottsdale, we happened photo (9)across the Ziegler Fiesta Bowl Museum, and since Mary and I are such huge sports fans (although we don’t follow college ball that closely), we couldn’t resist the opportunity to see what was inside.

The museum is rather unassuming looking from the outside, and to be honest when you first walk in the door, you’re not exactly overwhelmed either.  In terms of physical space, the entire museum doesn’t take up much more space than the average high school classroom.  There are essentially two rooms, including the lobby and a couple of small alcoves.

What is impressive is what’s kept in the museum.  It is home to some of the most important trophies in College Football including the Fiesta Bowl trophy itself, the Heisman Trophy (noted above), the Jim Thorpe Award (top college defensive back), the Eddie Robinson Award (coach of the year), and The National Championship Coaches’ Trophy.

Fiesta Bowl trophy_resized
Fiesta Bowl Trophy

Jim Thorpe Trophy

Hiesman trophy

College football fans (this means you Carey Lewis) will take great delight in checking out an array of exhibits featuring memorabilia from Fiesta Bowl events and bowl games, as well as all 120 Football Bowl Subdivision team helmets – very, very colourful.

1970's poster_resizedDrum Corp hat from the Fiesta bowl_resized








Heisman winners_resizedThe Heisman Trophy is contained in a case with all the winner’s names etched into it, going back to 1935, and those names include numerous #1 NFL first-round draft picks as well as 8 NFL Hall-of-Famers.

I found myself scanning the list of names and came across O.J. Simpson in 1968.  In the back of my mind, I thought I recalled that his name had been removed from the list (in disgrace) following his infamous murder trial in 1995.  Upon checking, I found out that his name is still on the trophy, but is he is never invited to any Heisman-related events.  I also learned that he sold his own personal copy of the trophy in 1999, for $230,000 (U.S.) as part of the settlement of the civil trial brought forward by the families of Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman.

While we only spent about 30 minutesphoto (10) on-site, we enjoyed our visit, and were frankly amazed that such a significant piece of sports hardware, the Heisman Trophy, was virtually hidden away in a little store-front museum, near a Fashion Mall in Scottsdale, Arizona.

You never know what you’re going to find when you start exploring.

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