A Dozen Things I LEARNED
RESEARCHING, INTERVIEWING, WRITING
WHEN IT WAS JUST A GAME
Rozelle hung out in
a Miami Hotel men’s room for a couple of
hours and adjusted his tie, looked away, washed his hands whenever
later guessed that he had washed his hands 35 times while waiting
before he got
the news– at 33 he was the new NFL Commissioner.
American Footbal League NY Titan games
in the Polo Grounds. owner Harry Wismer
would count the number of legs sitting in the park, and then multiply
instead of dividing it by four to get an estimate of the attendance.
The “whammy” Super Ball
inspiration for the name SUPER BOWL. Pete Rozelle and other powers
and suggested AFL-NFL Championship Game, the Pro Bowl, the Ultimate
VINCE LOMBARDI out
of Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn,
an altar boy at his local parish, had
never held a
head coaching position beyond the high school level when he showed up On February 2, 1959 as a tough talking
and determined 45-year-for a meeting
with the Green Bay Packer Executive Committee.
They were interviewing him
for the head coaching job. He wound up hired as head coach and general
Elevated on the blocking sled, Lombardi
fond of exhorting his players to do nutcracker drills. Blood flowed
freely. The Packers worked out with cracked ribs, broken
torn cartilage. Dehydrated players were sometimes sent off to the
the Packer locker room at Lambeau
Field there was a big sign:
You See Here
You Say Here
You Hear Here
It Stay Here
You Leave Here
CURRY: Coach detested racism or any other prejudice. He wouldn’t
He had experienced it because of his Italian-American background. Other
had quotas; they would only have 1 or 2 African-American players. And
Lombardi didn’t believe in that stuff. We had 10 guys on the team at
He didn’t care what your
if you could play, and that was a great lesson for a southern kid
up. I had never been in a huddle with an
African-American until I got to Green Bay.
Stram of the Kansas City Chiefs was Lombardi’s opposing coach in the
Stram’s attention to detail was
evident in everything like having Dial yellow soap in the showers. He
it reduced infections. Like practicing over and over again the right
way for a
punter to give up a safety in his own end zone, to how the team would
on the field to warm up, to replacing every shoe lace in every shoe
every game, to all kinds of rituals and beliefs.
Both Stram and Lombardi were very religious, had one or more
with them and on the sidelines during games. Both coaches quoted scriptures.
first AFL-NFL Championship
Game was played on January 15, 1967. It was the only “Super Bowl” game
telecast by two television networks, the only Super Bowl to fail to
Tickets at $15, $12, $10 were thought to be over-priced and no one knew
what the new game was all about
especially with two Midwestern teams in it.
The Chiefs under Stram and the Packers under Lombardi had no
any kind and they did so much for diversity in pro football.
It was estimated that
there were more
African American athletes on the field that first Super Bowl day - - than at any other time in the
history of a sport that saw the NFL draft start in 1939 with no
franchise selecting an African-American player until 1949. Even during
War II, when the NFL was so shorthanded, no blacks needed to apply.
They knew bigotry
barred the door for them.
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 of this incredibly spun off
that was played on January 15, 1967 at the Los Angeles Coliseum, a game
for a time lacked a name, a game that lacked a venue, a game that
identity, a game that didn’t even sell out.
Written by acclaimed sports author and oral
Harvey Frommer, with an intro by pro football Hall of Famer Frank
It Was Just a Game tells the fascinating story of the
World Championship Football game played on January 15, 1967: Packers
Chiefs. Filled with new insights, containing commentary from the
memoir of Kansas City Chiefs coach Hank Stram, featuring oral history
who were at the game-media, players, coaches, fans-the book is mainly
words of those who lived it and saw it go on to become the Super Bowl,
greatest sports attraction the world has ever known. Archival
drawings help bring the event to life.
Frommer is in his 39th year of writing books. A noted oral historian
journalist, the author of 42 sports books including the classics:
“New York City Baseball, 1947-1957″ and best-selling “Shoeless Joe and
Baseball,” his acclaimed Remembering Yankee Stadium was published in
best-selling Remembering Fenway Park was published to acclaim in 2011.
Frommer mint condition collectible sports
books autographed and discounted are available always from the author.
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