Friday, January 15, 2010

The First Super Bowl

44 years ago today, this brand was born.

Forced by a merger between two opposing forces.

January 15, 1967.

Los Angeles, California.

It was on this day, the first ever championship game was played between the "upstart" American Football League and the "established" National Football League.

Coming into this first ever "Super Bowl", there was considerable animosity between the two rival leagues. Since the AFL started in 1960, the NFL regarded the circuit as an enemy that needed to be crushed. Bitter feuding erupted as the two leagues raided each others rosters for talent and engaged in costly bidding wars for college talent. Only after enough red ink had been spilled, did the two leagues enter talks that would eventually produce a merger and a single, unified champion.

Many sports writers and so-called "experts" believed the game would be a mismatch with the two-time NFL champions, Green Bay Packers taking on the Kansas City Chiefs.

The first Super Bowl attracted the largest viewership to ever see a sporting event up to that time. From the start there were special features to the Super Bowl including its designation with a Roman numeral by NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle to give the contest a sense of class.

Incredibly, Super Bowl I was the only Super Bowl in history that was not a sellout. Despite a TV blackout in the Los Angeles area, just over 63,000 fans turned out to cavernous Memorial Coliseum, willing to fork over the 12-dollars a ticket that local newspaper editorial described as "exorbitant".

Even more incredibly, all known broadcast tapes which CBS and NBC used to record the game in its entirety, were subsequently destroyed. A familiar practice back then was to recycle and reuse videotape by taping over previous content, losing the original footage in the process. NFL Films did have a camera crew present, and retains a substantial amount of film footage in its archives, some of which you were able to see here today.

The day on which the Super Bowl is played is now considered as an unofficial American national holiday with Super Bowl Sunday ranking as the second-largest U.S. food consumption day, after Thanksgiving.

Because of its high viewership, commercial airtime for the Super Bowl broadcast is the most expensive of the year. Advertisers coughed up as much as $3 million for a 30-second spot during Super Bowl XLIII in 2009

This weekend, the race to Super Bowl XIV resumes with the New Orleans Saints taking on the Arizona Cardinals and the Dallas Cowboys visiting in the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC while AFC match ups see the Indianapolis Colts hosting the Baltimore Ravens and the New York Jets trying to upset the San Diego Chargers.

When all is said and done, which two teams will add to another chapter to the Super Bowl history pages when the big game kicks off Sunday, February 7 in South Florida?

"The dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must pay for success. I think you can accomplish anything if you're willing to pay the price"

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