Star-studded list of former players to headline Pro Football Weekly’s Football Legends Live! event Saturday
Hub Arkush couldn’t have guessed what Pro Football Weekly would turn into when he joined the family business more than four decades ago.
On Saturday, Pro Football Weekly will celebrate its 50th anniversary with Football Legends Live! from 8 to 10 p.m. at the Raue Center for the Arts, 26 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake.
The event will feature a panel of Pro Football Hall of Famers, Brian Urlacher, “Mean” Joe Greene, Dan Hampton, Lawrence Taylor, Anthony Munoz and Randy White, along with emcees Dave Kaplan and Pat Boyle.
Arkush called Football Legends Live! a fitting tribute to the publication’s golden anniversary with the panel going in depth to discuss Pro Football Weekly’s “Team for the Ages” and “Bears Team for the Ages.”
“We think we’ve got a fantastic show ready for everybody,” Arkush said. “There’s a lot of great video and a lot of great topics to discuss with our Hall of Famers.”
The doors open at 7 p.m. with the program set for 8 p.m. One-of-a-kind sports memorabilia and exciting trips will be available in the silent auction supporting Special Olympics before the event begins.
“If you’re a football fan, this is going to be an incredibly entertaining, fun and exciting event, where you will hear directly with some of the biggest names in football,” said J. Tom Shaw, vice president of Audience and Revenue for Shaw Media, who is directly involved with the Football Legends Live! event. “It’s a very unique opportunity to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Pro Football Weekly. I hope that everyone who is in the McHenry County area who is into football can come and join us.”
Tickets can be purchased online at www.shawmediaevents.com/e/pfw50.
Before the big night, Arkush sat down with the Northwest Herald to talk about PFW’s storied history, how the “Team for the Ages” was selected and Saturday’s celebration.
Fifty years is pretty incredible. Have you taken the time to think about it?
Arkush: It’s hard to wrap my head around. We never focused on making it to 50 years. We luckily have found ways to reinvent the idea and the product as the media business and technology has changed. It’s an accomplishment in some senses, and it’s about being stubborn because we’ve refused to stop doing it.
How difficult was it putting together the “Team for the Ages?”
Arkush: I’d be lying if I said it was easy. It was both selected by fans and an expert panel. We’re very proud of the expert panel we put together, 18 of the biggest names in football media. But we wanted fans to be able to participate, as well. We completed the fan voting first, then the panel got together and cast their votes. You can actually go to profootballweekly.com/teamfortheages and see all of the experts’ picks.
Which position was the hardest to decide?
Arkush: I think the toughest was probably running back, where Walter Payton was a near-unanimous choice. Barry Sanders was a close second. And then it got interesting because everybody had different people. I had Adrian Peterson and Earl Campbell. Campbell made the team, AP didn’t. The fan voting was very strong on Emmitt Smith, so the panel came in and said if that’s the way the fans voted, then Emmitt Smith has to be on the team. Then we basically had to break ties between AP, Campbell and Gale Sayers. Eventually, the panel selected Campbell.
What are you looking forward to during Saturday’s 50th anniversary celebration?
Arkush: In addition to the six Hall of Famers, which even my family can’t wait to get there and meet, we will also be talking about the greatest Bears of the modern era. It’s going to be a two-hour presentation that is pure football history.