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Sacco Sez: It's never too early to start planning

Both the National Football League and the NCAA have begun preparations for one of our biggest celebrations ever.

The NFL will celebrate its 100th year of play in the 2019 season, and in that same year, the NCAA will celebrate the 150th year of American football.

Recently, the NFL named my dear friend Pete Abitante to the post of Vice President of Special Projects, and one of Pete's biggest tasks is to have a vital role in the planning for the 2019 celebration.

"With all the great success and popularity of the NFL, virtually unmatched by other pro sports leagues," Abitante said, "we will be working very hard as a team to ensure that our 100th anniversary of play is recognized and celebrated from top to bottom in all aspects of our game. 

"This is a daunting task, which is why discussions are already underway on the many ways we can pay tribute to our game by involving past and current players, coaches and administrators, our network and business partners, and the greatest fans in the history of sport in America." 

The Pro Football Hall of Fame will be celebrating just as heavily and will stretch their festivities over a two-year period. 

"The Hall has two opportunities to celebrate the game, as 2019 is the 100th season of play, which will involve big celebrations at all levels, but the other opportunity comes with the fact that 2020 [marks] 100 years from the actual birth of the NFL in Canton on Sept. 17," Hall of Fame Executive Director Joe Horrigan said.

Many of the original organizing meetings for the NFL were held in Canton, which will lead the Hall of Fame to be "Canton-centric" in its 2020 celebration, Horrigan said.

"[The Hall] will have many special events that we hope will include legends of the game, past and present," said Horrigan of the two-year celebration. 

The Hall of Fame Village is slated to open by that time, and the new addition will serve as an integral part of all festivities in Canton.

Abitante's role will be to include the cities of the 32 franchises in a year-long celebration of America's greatest spectator sport, Sunday afternoon tradition and prime time tradition.

Not to be out done, the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame announced they will convene their first planning meeting for the 250th anniversary of college football on Aug. 1, in Irving, Texas, home of the NFF and College Hall of Fame.

"No one could have imagined that since that first football game was played on Nov. 6, 1869, that college football would grow to become one of America's greatest traditions," said Larry Smith, Pac-12 Commissioner and head of the planning celebration committee.

So as pro football collectively takes a break and celebrates the Fourth of July before training camps begin later this month, the folks who will be those in meeting rooms are working hard behind the scenes with thoughts, ideas, concepts and numerous planning sessions.

Every day in football is exciting, but while fans are enjoying the 2017 season they also can look forward to huge celebrations of the game we all love in 2019.

On both the NFL and college levels of football, it is never too early to think ahead. 

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