With the next Super Bowl almost upon the
globe and ready to take center stage, we flash back to the first one
whose name officially was the AFL-NFL Championship Game. My book has
many oral history memories. Herewith, just a few of those who
were there at the game remember the time:
ANN BUSSEL: At that time I was living with
my husband in New Jersey, and he was in the scrap iron and metal
business. We were attending in Los Angeles a convention, a meeting
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, a fan of the New York Giants.
He was thrilled to go.
This gentleman rented a bus and offered free transportation to and from the game. That is
how I was had 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 party mood.
Lo and behold, we arrived at the Coliseum
and wow, the tickets were on the 50 yard line. I really did not know
anything about the Kansas City Chiefs and not much about Green Bay
aside from Bart Starr. Out of gratitude for the man who gave us the
tickets, we rooted for Kansas City. Their fans there were pretty
happy the first half of the game.
It 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, they say “What?”
I did not think to save my program or my
FRED WALLIN: We were among a minority that
watched the game on television in the Los Angeles area. We had a
directional antenna on the roof to get reception from San Diego.
We had thirty friends over to the house. Everyone had a good time. In
the second half, the picture became fuzzy. Dad asked me to go up onto
the roof to move the antenna. It was quite a day. The next week we
attached a rotor so that could adjust the antenna electronically.
DOUG KELLY: I was a senior in high school.
We were living in Menlo Park, California. The television set was in the
living room, and it was in color which had recently come into vogue. We
had to get up from time to 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 that
it 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. There was still a pretty good core of players who had played
in that first Super Bowl, but the problem was they were all 7 years
LU VAUGHN: I’d never been on a junket
before but through the Meadowbrook Country Club in Kansas City, a group
of guys got together, and we chartered a jet to go out to Los Angeles
for the Super Bowl. The trip cost me about $200. I think the ticket was
around $10 for the game. I was about 34-35 years old at that
We 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 was the celebrity.
Our flight from Vegas to LA did not happen – Los Angeles was souped in.
So they woke us up at 5 o’clock in the morning at the hotel to bus us
from Las Vegas to the LA Coliseum. We had 3 buses for about 100 of us,
all Kansas City Chief fans.
After about a 5 hour journey, we arrived.
We missed the first quarter. Our seats were not really good, more
to the end zone than anyplace else. We wore jackets and shirts and
other things that let people know that we were Kansas City Chiefs fans.
And we were harassed. People teased us and said Kansas City was going
to be badly beaten. But of course we thought otherwise. We felt that we
stood a good chance of being competitive in the ball game, and maybe
STEVE FOLVEN: I was about 19 years old and
living at home in Lowell, Mass and in my 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 Wilt Chamberlain.
My two buddies Billy Brooks and Charlie
Gallagher and I were going to the game. In those days you could go the
day of the game and actually get a ticket. Billy Brooks had the car. He
said we would all have to leave the Celtic game a bit early to get home
in time to see the big football game between Kansas City and Green bay.
That was at 4 o’clock.
We got to the Garden about eleven o’clock or so. I had attended early
Mass. We tried to sneak in and pay the ushers some money, but there
weren’t any ushers around. We got in for six bucks or something like
that. We had pretty good seats, and it was a great game. It was too bad
we had to leave early in the fourth quarter.
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. I felt the Chiefs were
going to get creamed.
The first half I was surprised. The Chiefs
looked okay. But I wanted the Packers to win. They had Lombardi and
Starr and Hornung and Taylor and all that great talent. They were
always winning, always on television.
Our 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 next day I read about the game in the newspapers –
it didn’t get that much play.
BILL GUTMAN: I followed the birth of the
American Football League. In the New York City area and its
surroundings there was interest in the game not only among fans but
also the media. I was living in Stamford, Connecticut and was two years
away from beginning my writing career.
The 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 league. 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, however, when the two lines
collided then you realized it was just another football game and all
the talk meant nothing.
I watched the game on both CBS Channel 2
and NBC 4 in my room alone at home. The set had 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.
SUSAN LOMBARDI: I was in Marymount
College in Boca Raton. It was a finishing school and there were a lot
of politicians’ daughters there. It was warm but I wanted to go
to the game in California but I knew my father being 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 with my
college girlfriends. The nuns, our teachers, wandered in and out. They
let us have snacks. I was just another student. This was the
first time I ever watched my father on TV. I had a difficult time
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
to away 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 strange experience.
(Autographed, mint, discounted copies of
WHEN IT WAS JUST A GAME are available direct from the author)