NY Times

Before the Bowl was Super: When Commercials Cost $45,000 Per :30, Not $4.5 Million; When 2 Networks Broadcast the Game; and When Two Different Size Footballs Were Used. We Now Refer to It as Super Bowl 1, Though It Wasn’t Called The ‘Super Bowl’ Then. So How Did The Game Get Dubbed the ‘Super Bowl’?

Jan 28, 2015  •  Post A Comment

The answer to that question and all of the above information is contained in a wonderful, must-read article published last weekend by The New York Times and written by historian Michael Beschloss.

Beschloss writes that since both the National Football League and the American Football League had their own TV contracts, the game, called the “First A.F.L.-N.F.L. World Championship Game,” and played on Jan. 15, 1967 in a Los Angeles Coliseum that was a third empty (most expensive ticket: $12), was broadcast on both CBS and NBC, each using its own announcers.

“NBC and CBS each paid $1 million for the privilege, selling commercials for $70,000 to $85,000 per minute [versus the $9 million per minute this year]; they hawked 10-cent Muriel cigars and McDonald’s hamburgers (‘Over Two Billion Sold’). CBS tried to draw viewers by preceding its Super Bowl coverage with an exhibition by the Harlem Globetrotters.”

Playing in the game were the Green Bay Packers from the NFL and the Kansas City Chiefs from the AFL. The two teams had not played each other before. The Packers led at halftime, 14-10, and won the game 35-10.

So how did the game get called the Super Bowl? Writes Beschloss, “[A]fter watching his children enjoying Wham-O’s bouncy new Super Ball, the A.F.L.’s founder, Lamar Hunt, [owner of the Chiefs and] son of the maverick Dallas oil tycoon H. L. Hunt, told N.F.L. Commissioner Pete Rozelle that the game should be called something like the Super Bowl, although he was sure that name could be improved. The name was quickly adopted by other owners and much of the news media.”

Beschloss’article is filled with other gems as well, such as this one: “The A.F.L.’s football (manufactured by Spalding) was a quarter-inch longer, slightly narrower and more tacky on its surface than the N.F.L.’s ball (made by Wilson). The A.F.L.’s ball was said to be easier to pass, the N.F.L.’s more kickable. As a compromise, each team was authorized to use its own football while on offense.”

We highly recommend you read the entire original article, which you can find if you click here.

superbowl1Packers’ Legendary Coach Vince Lombardi Walks Off the Field at the End of the First Super Bowl (from TV footage)

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