WHEN IT WAS JUST A GAME;
THE FIRST SUPER BOWL
By Harvey Frommer
Super Bowl Gold (Number 50) ready soon to take center stage, we flash
the first one whose name officially was the AFL-NFL Championship Game.
has many oral history memories.
Herewith, just a few of those who were there at
the game remember the time:
BUSSEL: At that time
I was living with my husband in New Jersey, and he was in the scrap
metal business. We were attending in Los Angeles a convention, a
between dealers in that industry. A
gentleman had extra tickets that he could not sell to the Super Bowl. That was hard to believe. So he offered them
for free to men attending the convention. My husband was a big football
fan of the New York Giants. He was
thrilled to go.
gentleman rented a
bus and offered free transportation to and from the game. That is how I
the privilege to attend the first Super Bowl. We got on the bus that he
chartered. It was loaded up with about 30 or 40 people, all in a happy
and behold, we
arrived at the Coliseum and wow, the tickets were on the 50 yard line.
did not know anything about the Kansas City Chiefs and not much about
aside from Bart Starr. Out of gratitude for the man who gave us the
rooted for Kansas City. Their fans there
were pretty happy the first half of the game.
was a pleasant day.
It was a plus plus day. And when I tell my children and especially my
grandchildren that their grandmother attended the first Super Bowl,
did not think to save
my program or my ticket.
WALLIN: We were
among a minority that watched the game on television in the Los Angeles
We had a directional antenna on the roof to get reception from San
Diego. We had thirty friends over to the
Everyone had a good time. In the second half, the picture became fuzzy.
asked me to go up onto the roof to move the antenna. It was quite a
next week we attached a rotor so that could adjust the antenna
KELLY: I was a senior in high school. We were living in
Menlo Park, California. The television set was in the living room, and
in color which had recently come into vogue. We had to get up from time
and adjust the color. We watched on CBS. My Dad loved Ray Scott. Looking
at that first game and all
the stuff that surrounded it, you would never guess in a million years
would become what it is today.
Little did I realize that I would join the
Kansas City Chiefs organization in 1974, working in public relations.
still a pretty good core of players who had played in that first Super
but the problem was they were all 7 years older.
VAUGHN: I’d never been on a
junket before but through the Meadowbrook Country Club in Kansas City,
of guys got together, and we chartered a jet to go out to Los Angeles
Super Bowl. The trip cost me about $200. I think the ticket was around
the game. I was about 34-35 years old at
went to Las Vegas first where we
were comped food, beverages, and lodging.
We were at the Sands Hotel, one of the earliest of the
great places out
there. We even were comped to see a show at the Flamingo. Bill Cosby
flight from Vegas to LA did not happen – Los Angeles was souped in. So
woke us up at 5 o’clock in the morning at the hotel to bus us from Las
the LA Coliseum. We had 3 buses for about 100 of us, all Kansas City
about a 5 hour journey, we
arrived. We missed the first quarter.
Our seats were not really good, more to the end zone than
We wore jackets and shirts and other things that let people know that
Kansas City Chiefs fans. And we were harassed. People teased us and
City was going to be badly beaten. But of course we thought otherwise.
that we stood a good chance of being competitive in the ball game, and
FOLVEN: I was about 19 years old and living at home in Lowell, Mass and
first year of college. The biggest game of the year at the Boston
Garden was at
twelve o’clock – the Celtics versus Philadelphia. Bill Russell versus
buddies Billy Brooks
and Charlie Gallagher and I were going to the game. In those days you
the day of the game and actually get a ticket. Billy Brooks had the
said we would all have to leave the Celtic game a bit early to get home
to see the big football game between Kansas City and Green bay. That
was at 4
got to the Garden about eleven o’clock or so. I had attended early
tried to sneak in and pay the ushers some money, but there weren’t any
around. We got in for six bucks or something like that. We had pretty
seats, and it was a great game. It was too bad we had to leave early in
I was a Boston Patriots fan in the
AFL. But to me the AFL was a minor league compared to the NFL. I
thought it was
nice that finally the two leagues were meeting in a championship game.
the Chiefs were going to get creamed.
first half I was surprised. The Chiefs looked okay. But
I wanted the Packers to win. They had Lombardi and Starr and Hornung
and all that great talent. They were always winning, always on
only TV set was black and white, a small one, in the
living room. I watched the entire game on NBC –Gowdy and Christman. The
day I read about the game in the newspapers – it didn’t get that much
GUTMAN: I followed the birth of the American Football League. In the
City area and its surroundings there was interest in the game not only
fans but also the media. I was living in Stamford, Connecticut and was
years away from beginning my writing career.
talk in the media and popular conversation was about the need of the
NFL to win
that game. A defeat in that game would have been crushing to the old
There was also talk: "Thank God, it's Lombardi" and the Packers
who are there representing the National Football League.”
My feeling was it was an unknown thing - two
teams, two leagues that have never met
before. You just did not know what to expect. At the first snap,
the two lines collided then you realized it was just another football
all the talk meant nothing.
the game on both CBS Channel 2 and NBC 4 in my room alone at home. The
a 13 inch black and white screen. The antenna was rabbit ears, but the
reception was pretty good. I
was a sports fan, not a fan of
either league. I enjoyed the game.
LOMBARDI: I was in Marymount
College in Boca Raton. It was a finishing school and there were a lot
politicians’ daughters there. It was
warm but I wanted to go to the game in California but I knew my father
the teacher that he was would never pull me out. He wanted me to be in
I watched the game on
a 19 inch nothing TV in the middle of the community area in our dorm
college girlfriends. The nuns, our teachers, wandered in and out. They
have snacks. I was just another student.
This was the first time I ever watched my father on TV. I had a
watching it because I had always been at the game watching him live. At
Lambeau, in Green Bay we had A1 seats on the 50 yard line. When we went
games, the seats were good but nothing like Lambeau. For me being in
Boca in a
community room watching my father and the Packers on TV - -it was a
(Autographed, mint, discounted copies of WHEN IT WAS JUST A
available direct from the author)
Written by acclaimed sports author and oral historian
with an introduction by pro football Hall of Famer Frank Gifford, When
Just a Game tells the fascinating story of the ground-breaking AFL–NFL
Championship Football game played on January 15, 1967: Packers vs.
Filled with new insights, containing commentary from the unpublished
Kansas City Chiefs coach Hank Stram, featuring oral history from many
at the game—media, players, coaches, fans—the book is mainly in the
those who lived it and saw it go on to become the Super Bowl, the
sports attraction the world has ever known. Archival photographs and
help bring the event to life.
Dr. Harvey Frommer is in his 40th year of writing books. A
historian and sports journalist, the author of 43 sports books
classics: best-selling New York City Baseball, 1947-1957 and
“Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball. He also authored the acclaimed
Yankee Stadium and best-selling Remembering Fenway Park. The prolific
is working on “the Ultimate Yankee book” to be published in 2017.