With Super Bowl Gold (Number 50)
ready soon 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
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 ticket.
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
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 older.
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 time.
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 winning.
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
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
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 school.
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)
Written by acclaimed sports author
and oral historian Harvey Frommer, with an
introduction by pro football Hall of Famer Frank
Gifford, When It Was Just a Game tells the
fascinating story of the ground-breaking AFL–NFL
World Championship Football game played on January
15, 1967: Packers vs. Chiefs. Filled with new
insights, containing commentary from the unpublished
memoir of Kansas City Chiefs coach Hank Stram,
featuring oral history from many who were at the
game—media, players, coaches, fans—the book is
mainly in the words of those who lived it and saw it
go on to become the Super Bowl, the greatest sports
attraction the world has ever known. Archival
photographs and drawings help bring the event to
Dr. Harvey Frommer is in his 40th
year of writing books. A noted oral historian and
sports journalist, the author of 43 sports books
including the classics: best-selling New York City
Baseball, 1947-1957 and best-selling “Shoeless Joe
and Ragtime Baseball. He also authored the acclaimed
Remembering Yankee Stadium and best-selling
Remembering Fenway Park. The prolific Frommer is
working on “the Ultimate Yankee book” to be
published in 2017.