Before we get to Super Bowl 56 on Sunday, let’s take things all the way back to Super Bowl 1 . . . in which the Green Bay Packers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 35 to 10 at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
There were actually two separate leagues at the time, the NFL . . . represented by the Packers . . . and the AFL . . . represented by the Chiefs. The leagues had agreed to merge in 1966, but until 1970, they kept separate schedules and only met in the championship game.
There’s your background . . . now here are 8 fascinating facts about Super Bowl 1:
1. Officially, it wasn’t called the Super Bowl. After kicking around names like “The Big One” and “The Pro Bowl”, officials decided to call it the “AFL-NFL World Championship Game”.
Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt came up with the name “Super Bowl”, after seeing his kids play with a Super Ball. Even though that name picked up steam with fans and the media, NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle hated it.
The championship wasn’t officially referred to as the Super Bowl until Super Bowl 3 in 1969.
2. The game aired on two networks. Since NBC had the rights to the AFL, and CBS aired NFL games, the championship was simulcast on both networks . . . for the first and only time.
3. It didn’t come close to selling out. Tickets only averaged 12 BUCKS, and the game was blacked out within 75 miles of the Coliseum. But still, about a third of the stadium’s seats were empty. It remains the ONLY Super Bowl that didn’t sell out.
4. Each team used different balls. At the time, the AFL was using a ball made by Spalding that was longer, narrower, and had a tackier surface. NFL balls were made by Wilson. So each team got their own when they were on offense.
Also, the AFL had the two-point conversion, but the NFL didn’t. So they didn’t use it during the game. When the leagues finally merged, they did away with the two-point conversion altogether . . . until it was brought back in 1994.
5. The second half kickoff had to be redone because NBC missed it. They were still airing an interview with BOB HOPE when the half started.
6. The halftime show was two guys in jetpacks. There were also marching bands, and hundreds of pigeons were released into the air. One of them dropped a load on BRENT MUSBURGER’s typewriter.
7. Footage of the game was lost for decades. Both CBS and NBC erased the footage, supposedly so they could reuse the tapes for SOAP OPERAS. It was a common cost-saving measure at the time.
In 2005, a guy named Troy Haupt found a copy of the CBS broadcast in his attic. His father had recorded it. It was digitally restored, but wasn’t shown until 2019, because Haupt and the NFL couldn’t hammer out an ownership agreement.
8. An NFL Network attempt to show the game in 2016 was kind of a disaster. They edited together footage from their NFL Films division, and put the game’s original radio broadcast over it.
It also featured running commentary from current NFL analysts, which was NOT well-received. They made up for it by showing it again without the commentary.