Most NFL wins by a starting quarterback? The Hall honors that with Tom Brady’s game-worn jersey and game ball from his 201st win, which came against the Rams back in 2016.
Most Super Bowl passing yards? Brady’s Super Bowl LII game worn jersey is on display to celebrate his 505 yards passing this past Feb. 4.
LeGarrette Blount’s 15th rushing touchdown, which set a franchise single-season record? That ball is in The Hall along with the ball Randy Moss caught for his NFL Record 23rd touchdown.
Honoring records along with the players or teams that set them is part of The Hall’s mission. Honoring new Patriots and NFL records has, fortunately, become common in Foxborough. But discussing the Guinness Book of World Records at The Hall? That doesn’t really happen much.
Dan Staples, of Dan’s Balloons, is at The Hall all week trying to earn a place in the Guinness Book for the largest balloon sculpture ever made. The current record, which was set in a Cincinnati mall in 2015, was a 72-foot-long-by-40-foot high bat – the winged variety rather than the baseball kind.
Staples, who is originally from South Boston, but now lives in Nashua, N.H., is creating a Patriots logo that he hopes will be 100 feet long and 80 feet high when completed. He is working alone in the museum’s Hall of Fame gallery with a surveyor scheduled to arrive Friday to take official measurements.
“This is the perfect place for it,” Staples said before getting back to work on Tuesday morning. “This place celebrates greatness, but you have to put the work in. This is my Super Bowl.”
He takes his work quite seriously and has high expectations.
“People often think of birthday party clowns creating balloon animals, but I think of this as art,” Staples said. “I started doing this about six years ago. I was working in retail and the hours were such a grind. So I went to work for a friend’s entertainment company and while doing that, I started learning how to make balloon animals. I did some small things by myself and eventually started to get creative. To set a world record now would be incredible.”
It will not be easy, however. Staples has spent six months planning the project and plans to use about 4,000 balloons. He used 950 on Patriots Day, April 16, when he started the sculpture. An occasional “pop” can be heard through The Hall, but it doesn’t slow him down.
His balloon business has garnered him some positive publicity and his work at Patriot Place has helped grow his business. It all started with the property’s summer movie nights.
“Patriot Place was showing ET and I posted a balloon ET I had made to their Facebook page. Lucia [Conte] from Patriot Place called me about coming to movie night and then I started doing other events for them,” Staples explained. “Business has grown exponentially because of what I’ve done in Foxborough.”
One trip to Foxborough – on the morning of the Patriots 2017 season opener – was especially satisfying. Staples made a balloon statue of Patriots owner Robert Kraft before visiting the Patriots Pro Shop intending to buy the special edition Kraft Nike Air Force One sneaker.
“I arrived late and was the back of the line,” he said, “but Mr. Kraft came to the back of the line and started talking to me about the sculpture, which Scott Zolak named ‘Balloon Bob.’ He joked around and was so genuine. He gave me two tickets to that’s night’s game.”
With tickets in hand and time to kill before the Thursday night kickoff of the 2017 NFL season, Staples proceeded to create a Tom Brady balloon costume, which he then wore around Patriot Place to become a walking photo opportunity.
“Being a balloon artist is fun, but I like to be good at what I do,” he said. “People achieve things in different ways. I’m never going to have a statue, but my two daughters think I’m like one of the Patriots players. They asked me about failing to break the Guinness record and I told them that I win either way by being able to create this sculpture in the Patriots Hall of Fame.”
More than a few records are honored in The Hall. So if Staples is able to earn a spot in the Guinness Book, he’d fit right in.