When the first Super Bowl was held in 1967, it wasn’t even known by that name. It was called the AFL-NFL World Championship Game. There was no Vince Lombardi Trophy because Lombardi was coaching one of the teams, the Green Bay Packers.
The game was televised by both CBS and NBC because they each had contracts to televise the leagues, which would merge a few years later.
There were no computer-generated stripes on the TV image of the game and the graphics were likely made by manually superimposing white letters on black paper.
Instant replay was introduced at a TV equipment show later that year.
But what must have been different was the food.
Pizza delivery in the South was unheard of. Growing up in Social Circle, I didn’t know much about “restaurant” pizza. We only had those frozen jobs made by Jeno’s.
Think about this: Doritos were not introduced nationally until 1966 and were relatively new. Fritos had been around, but the “scoop” variety was years away.
Chicken came only one way, as a whole fryer that mama would cut up and fry. Kentucky Fried Chicken was relatively new and, in some towns, was not open Sundays. It would be nearly 20 years later before anyone heard the first mention of Buffalo chicken wings.
Most people bought Coca-Cola in either 6.5- or 10-ounce returnable bottles. An automatic ice maker was a newfangled gadget only enjoyed by a few. Ice was made in refillable trays.
The microwave oven was still a decade and a half from being widely used.
In this area, most supermarkets did not sell beer, much less have a display promoting it for a football game.
There were no wardrobe malfunctions at that first game. Trumpeter Al Hirt appeared with the bands of the University of Arizona and Grambling State University. Hirt wore a dark suit, a tie and a shirt with cufflinks. His tie remained tied during his performance.
The first game did not sell out. There were 33,000 empty seats in the Los Angeles Coliseum and the game was blacked out to TV viewers in the Los Angeles market.
Why the dismal ticket sales? Newspapers in the region wrote editorials blasting the ridiculous $12 ticket price. No one in their right mind would pay that kind of money to see a football game. Face value of tickets to this year’s Super Bowl ranged from $850 to $1,250, but brokers are getting much more.
The biggest TV at the time was a 25-inch console with one speaker. We didn’t get our first color TV until 1971, so we watched the game in black and white. Many homes still had a color TV with an octagon-shaped screen. Cable was in its infancy and there was no such thing as home satellite. Most of us watched on rabbit ears, a pair of telescoping antennas or on an outdoor home antenna that may require rotating to get a good picture.
If you had a color set, you might have to adjust the color when the game came on. Folks will be watching this game on big flat screens with high-definition pictures and surround-sound.
This year, the average American will spend $118 on their Super Bowl party. Just think, 46 years ago, folks wouldn’t spend $12 to see the game in person.
The times, they are a changin’.
Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on gainesvilletimes.com/harris.