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The story goes that the Super Bowl got its name from Lamar Hunt, architect of the AFL and owner of the Kansas City Chiefs, who, when seeing his daughter play with her "Super Ball", got the idea to name the championship game between the AFL and the NFL, the Super Bowl. The name stuck, but not until two years later and was then retroactively applied to the previous games.
The first contest was on this date, January 15, 1967, and featured Vince Lombardi's Green Bay Packers (13-2) against Hank Stram's Kansas City Chiefs (12-2-1) and was held in Los Angeles' Memorial Coliseum.
At that time, the NFL required a black out of the game in the market of origin, even if it was a neutral site and sold out (Super Bowl I was not sold out). Tickets for the game were $12.00 and considered exorbitant at that time. In fact, several newspapers printed editorials about the overpricing of the tickets and ran stories on how to pirate the signal from TV stations outside the Los Angeles area.
Green Bay won the game with a score of 35-10. Each player for the Packers received a $15,000 bonus and each player for the Chiefs received $7.500.
A one-minute commercial ad cost between $75,000 - $85,000, last year a 60 second ad sold for 6 million dollars!
In the quarterback position for the Packers was veteran quarterback Bart Starr. He was the top-rated quarterback in the NFL for 1966, and won the NFL Most Valuable Player Award, completing 156 out of 251 (62.2 percent) passes for 2,257 yards, 14 touchdowns, and only 3 interceptions..
One great story from this first Super Bowl surrounded back up wide receiver, Max McGee. Legend has it that Max had been out on the town the previous night and was quoted as saying, "I waddled in about 7:30 in the morning and I could barely stand up for the kickoff. On the bench Paul (Hornung) kept needling me, 'What would you do if you had to play?' And I said, 'No way, there's no way I could make it.'"
Sure enough, the starting wide receiver, Boyd Dowler, was injured early on and McGee was thrust into a game he had no business being in. McGee had to borrow a helmet from a teammate as he hadn't bothered to bring his out of the locker room. Max McGee became an unlikely hero in the game when he caught seven passes for 138 yards and scored two touchdowns.
In the above photo, Coach Lombardi and Wisconsin Governor, Warren Knowles admire the "World Professional Football Championship" trophy in the locker room after the game. The trophy, which is handcrafted by Tiffany, was officially renamed the "Vince Lombardi Trophy" in 1970, after Lombardi's sudden death from cancer, as a tribute to his victories in the first two Super Bowls. It was first presented as such in Super Bowl V to the Baltimore Colts who defeated the Dallas Cowboys (16-13).Both NBC, who held the rights to televise AFL games, and CBS, who had the rights to broadcast NFL games, were allowed to televise the game and used their own announcers. One little known fact about Super Bowl I is that at the start of the second half, the Chiefs received the opening kickoff and returned it for good field position, around midfield. However, CBS did not return in time from a halftime commercial break for the start of the second half. Ironically, NBC missed the first kickoff and return, and the Chiefs were forced to receive another "official" kickoff, this one being stopped around the Chiefs' twenty. They then advanced the ball to their own 49-yard line, but were intercepted, a play that turned the game around. One can only wonder what the outcome would have been if the first kickoff had been allowed to stand.
Sadly, all tapes of the game in its entirety were reused since videotapes were so expensive at that time and no one had any idea the importance this game would have in the future. Some small samples still survive and NFL Films, who had a crew present retains some footage in their archives, some of which have been released.