Super Bowl: from humble origin to king of U.S. sports events

Mon Jan 26, 2015 4:49pm EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Larry Fine

(Reuters) - From modest beginnings of cheap tickets and empty seats to $4.5 million for a 30-second TV ad, the Super Bowl approaches its golden anniversary entrenched as the undisputed king of U.S. sporting events.

Super Bowl 49 will pit the Seattle Seahawks against the New England Patriots in Glendale, Arizona, on Sunday and figures to join 21 previous Super Bowls atop the list of most watched U.S. TV broadcasts.

A far cry from the first Super Bowl clash between the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs in 1967, according to Jerry Izenberg of the (New Jersey) Star-Ledger, one of only two reporters to have covered ever Super Bowl.

"The 10 dollar ticket and it didn't sell out," Izenberg, 84, told Reuters about recollections of the first edition at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Izenberg underscored the lack of hoopla by comparing access to then-NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle at the 1967 showdown to the State of the NFL news conference now held at Super Bowls, which draw over 6,000 accredited journalists.

Rozelle, busy attending court proceedings to defend the league's local TV blackout policy to help attendance at the stadium, instead met with about a dozen reporters in his hotel suite prior to the game, the venerable columnist said.

"I learned more from that session than all the others put together. He sat on the couch and you could ask him anything," said Izenberg, author of "Rozelle: A Biography."

"The first six years of the Super Bowl, I interviewed guys (players) in their hotel rooms. Just call them up and ask them what would be a good time."   Continued...

Jan 25, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Fans await the Seattle Seahawks before press conference at the Arizona Grand Hotel in preparation for Super Bowl XLIX. at Arizona Grand Hotel. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports