Ten more Things I Learned
IT WAS JUST A GAME: REMEMBERING THE FIRST SUPER BOWL
By Harvey Frommer
Other rivals to the NFL
through the decades had sprung up:
(1946–1949) None of them had the
financial muscle and the organizational skills behind them that Lamar
American Football League, had.
Commissioner Pete Rozelle’s suggestions for the name of the new game
"The Big One." That name never caught on. “Pro Bowl,” did not work.
Series of Football.” That died quickly. It was deemed too imitative of
baseball’s Fall Classic.
Quarterback Bart Starr of the Packers on Vince
Lombardi: It was a fabulous experience all of us had
playing for him, being coached by him. I could hardly wait for the next
to get into the meeting to start that day off. He made everything so
so challenging. He was a brilliant teacher and because of it he was a
player ED LOTHAMER
said of Kansas City Coach Hank Stram:
There were times when he had practices and a band playing.
If an entertainer or celebrity was in
Kansas City, often they would call Hank, and Hank would invite them to
over and watch practice. People like
Muhammad Ali, Jim Nabors, Al Hirt, Edie Gorme and Steve Lawrence, all
us practice. You never knew who was going to pop up.
to that first Super Bowl Game on January 15, 1967 – the Packers and the
has never played against each other. Actually, no NFL team had ever
against an AFL team – even an exhibition game.
Saturday night before the game even
chubby Jackie Gleason, one of the famed comedians of that era, got into
by ending his CBS television urging his huge audience to make sure to
the next day to CBS and watch the world championship football game.
“It’s gonna be
murder!” Gleason bellowed
were those who thought “The Great One” went a bit too far, that he was
of a shill for his CBS network that carried the NFL broadcasts.
Some celebrities of the
time at the
game included: famed
movie and TV stars Henry Fonda, Kirk Douglas, June Allyson, Janet
Connors, Danny Thomas, CBS TV anchor Walter Cronkite, comedian and
sports fan Bob Hope, late night
TV host Johnny Carson.
Two different footballs
were used in
the game. When the NFL Packers were on offense, they used the NFL ball
the AFL Chiefs were on offense, the AFL ball was used.
Two kick-offs incredibly
to start the game’s second half because NBC-TV was in commercial for
one and a “do over” was allowed.
Pete Rozelle’s wish was that the
game would one day surpass baseball’s World Series. It would do much
With that first game
history - The Super Bowl has evolved into the
grandest, grossest, gaudiest annual
one-day spectacle in the annals of American sports and culture. All
this incredibly spun off the game that was played that January day in
the Los Angeles Coliseum, a game that for a time lacked a name, a
identity, a game that didn’t even sell out.
Written by acclaimed sports
author and oral historian Harvey Frommer, with an intro by pro football
Hall of Famer Frank Gifford, When It Was Just a Game
tells the fascinating story of the ground-breaking AFL–NFL World
Championship Football game played on January 15, 1967: Packers vs.
Chiefs. Filled with new insights, containing commentary from the
unpublished memoir of Kansas City Chiefs coach Hank Stram, featuring
oral history from many who were at the game—media, players, coaches,
fans—the book is mainly in the words of those who lived it and saw it
go on to become the Super Bowl, the greatest sports attraction the
world has ever known. Archival photographs and drawings help bring the
event to life.
Harvey Frommer is in his 39th year of writing books. A
noted oral historian and sports journalist, the author of 42 sports
including the classics: best-selling “New York City Baseball,
Joe and Ragtime Baseball,”
the acclaimed Remembering Yankee Stadium and best-selling
Remembering Fenway Park.
Frommer mint condition collectible sports
books autographed and discounted are available always from the author.