Golden Super Bowl now grown up from modest beginning

Sat Jan 30, 2016 2:16pm EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Larry Fine

(Reuters) - The stadium had 33,000 empty seats, tickets for the game went for a top price of $12 and college marching bands supplied most of the entertainment.

No, this was not some minor college football game.

This was the AFL-NFL World Championship, the 1967 origin of the Super Bowl, an event that has become a virtual national holiday in the United States and is celebrating its 50th anniversary game on Feb. 7 in Santa Clara, California.

It all began as a showdown between the National Football League and American Football League champions played in Los Angeles' Memorial Coliseum, a site announced just six weeks before the Jan. 15 game.

The clash between the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs was arranged after an agreement struck the previous June to merge the upstart AFL into the long-established NFL.

By its third installment, it officially became named the Super Bowl, sprung from a suggestion ahead of the first game by Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt, who got the idea from his children's high-bouncing Super Ball, a popular toy in the day.

The debut pitted the NFL champion Packers, coached by the legendary Vince Lombardi, whose name now graces the Super Bowl trophy, against the AFL-best Kansas City Chiefs, coached by Hank Stram.

Ten future Hall of Famers suited up for Green Bay and four for the Chiefs.   Continued...

General view of the press box roof during a field preparation press conference prior to Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium. Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports