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(EDITOR'S NOTE: To listen to the Jim Porter interview, click on the following linkEp 92: Pro Football Hall of Fame President Jim Porter | Spreaker)

Jim Porter grew up in Canton, Ohio … spent his life in Canton, Ohio … and now holds the most prestigious job in Canton, Ohio.

He’s president of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“Very surreal,” he said on the latest “Eye Test for Two” podcast (fullpresscoverage.com).

For good reason: As a child, Porter annually attended the Pro Football Hall-of-Fame's induction ceremonies, and it was more than a big deal to him. 

It was the biggest.

“For me,” he said, “the Hall goes back to me sitting on the wall when the enshrinement was on the steps. Kids my age used to count down days ‘til Christmas. I used to count down days ‘til enshrinement.”

And so he does today.

Only now he’s not sitting outside the Hall. He’s sitting inside, this week presiding over his first board-of- selectors meeting. The group of 49 voters met virtually Tuesday to elect the Class of 2022, with Porter running a 7-1/2-hour Zoom call to elect five modern-era candidates and three coaching, senior and contributor finalists.

That’s a big deal, too. 

Remember: It was only three months ago that Porter took over after the Hall’s previous president and CEO, David Baker, unexpectedly resigned. Now, he’s in a charge of one of the NFL’s most sacred institutions, making decisions that determine where and with whom it goes next.

It’s a daunting task, and Porter welcomes help … especially when it comes from unexpected sources.

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“About a week after (I took over),” he said, “I’m driving down the road. It was a Friday night, and my phone rings. I don’t recognize the number, but I haven't recognized a lot of the numbers of the past week. So I thought I better answer it. And I hear a voice, a deep voice.”

“Jim?”

“Yes.”

“Coach Madden.”

Yes, that coach Madden. Hall-of-Famer John Madden had called to offer Porter his congratulations – and not just for assuming his new job as president; but for one of the first moves Porter made after taking over.

“He said to me: 'I don’t care how many more great decisions that you make,’ “ Porter recalled. “ ‘You’ve made the best one that you’re going to make as president by bringing Joe Horrigan back.’ ”

Horrigan is the Hall's former executive director who retired in 2019 after 42 years on the job. He returned two-and-a-half years later after he was summoned by Porter, serving as a senior advisor who this week sat in on the board-of-selectors meeting as he had decades before.

“One thing I was taught years ago by some members,” said Porter, “is if you’re not the smartest person in the room, find other people around you that are smarter than you. And that’s what I did with Joe … I was surprised when he left us two-and-a-half years ago and honored that he decided to come back and help us.”

Porter would hear twice more from Madden, with “incredible advice,” suggestions and ideas that he had in mind. So the obvious question: What was the best piece of advice … or suggestion … Madden offered?

“He had been talking to the Hall over a period of time,” said Porter, “making sure that our video archives are up to speed and that every Hall of Famer has a video prepared. And while we have written stories and things like that, we haven’t done that.

“I had just hired a young lady out of Kent State (Brianna Gordon) to do some audio and video work for us, and so I put her on that project. And she was just in my office (Wednesday). She had 16 done. There are 354 to do. So she’s got a ways to go.

“So, yeah, he asked … or suggested … and we moved right away. And it’s happening.”