RUNNING HEAD: Kickoff to the hype

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Kickoff to the hype: Newspaper coverage of Super Bowl I

Brian Moritz Syracuse University Paper presented to the History Division Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Conference, St. Louis, Mo. Aug. 10, 2011

Direct all correspondence regarding this paper to: Brian Moritz 6 Saratoga Ave. Binghamton, NY 13903

Kicking off the hype Abstract

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On Jan. 15, 1967, the Green Bay Packers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs, 35-10, in the first AFL-NFL World Championship game – also known as the first Super Bowl. Super Bowl I was the first meeting between teams from the National Football League and the American Football League, and the popular mythology is that the game was not a big story at the time. This paper studies how newspapers at the time covered the game examines the coverage in eight newspapers from across the country. The study shows that the game received wide-ranging and prominent coverage in newspapers at the time, contrary to the myth. The dominant storyline was the merger between the two leagues and the fact that the teams acted as stand-ins for their respective leagues.

Keywords: Sports journalism; history; newspapers

Kicking off the hype Kicking off the hype: Newspaper coverage of Super Bowl I Vince Lombardi stood in his makeshift office inside one of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum’s locker rooms. He had just coached the Green Bay Packers to a 35-10 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in the first AFL-NFL World Championship Game, a contest the media had dubbed the “Super Bowl.” A huge throng of newspaper reporters with their notepads, TV and radio broadcasters with their lights, cameras and microphones crowded into the room to interview Lombardi, who was holding the game ball his players had presented to him after the victory 1. The questions started coming about how good the Chiefs – the champions of the upstart American Football League – compared with the other teams in the established NFL, the league the Packers were champions of. “Kansas City is a good football team,” Lombardi said, “But their team doesn’t compare with the top National Football League teams. I think Dallas is a better football team.”2 There was silence in the office, except for the reporters’ scribbling3 . Lombardi added, “that’s what you’ve wanted me to say, now I’ve said it.”4

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1

Michael O’Brien. Vince: A Personal Biography of Vince Lombardi. (New York: Morrow. 1989).
2

Bill Becker, “Lombardi Calls Chiefs Good Team But Not Equal to Top Elevens in N.F.L. The New York Times, January 16, 1967. S2.
3

Michael MacCambridge. America’s Game. The epic story of how pro football captured a nation. (New York: Random House, 2004).
4

Ibid. That quote from Lombardi also appeared in several print stories on January 16 newspapers, including the Associated Press game story that ran in papers nationwide.

Kicking off the hype Lombardi’s quote about the Chiefs would be featured on the front pages of sport sections across the country, in some instances in headlines 5. In a game that was hyped as the meeting between two teams and two leagues, Lombardi’s proclamation was taken as the final judgment. The Super Bowl has become, by any measure in 2010, the biggest sporting event

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in the United States, a touchstone event in the country’s pop culture calendar. Super Bowl XLIV, in which the New Orleans Saints rallied to defeat the Indianapolis Colts, was the most-watched TV show in broadcast history, and more than 4,000 media credentials were issued for the game. A significant part of the Super Bowl’s mythology is its growth into a dominant sporting event from humble, modest origins6. The first game was officially called the AFL-NFL World Championship Game – the name Super Bowl didn’t officially get tagged to the game until the third one. It was the only Super Bowl game that did not sell out. Reporters looking back at the game years ago recalled a lack of hype. Will McDonough, the longtime football reporter for the Boston Globe, remembered that “They issued just 328 media credentials then. (In 1991) it’s over 2,000 and they turned away 1,000.”7 Jerry Greene of The Detroit News remembered more bluntly, “There was

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Sample headlines include “Lombardi says Chiefs not equal of Cowboys” in the Washington Post; “NL football is tougher – Lombardi” in the Pittsburgh Press; “Pack too tough” in the Oakland Tribune.
6

Richard Wittingham. Sunday’s Heroes. (Triumph Books: New York, 2003); Bob Newhardt Carroll. When the Grass Was Real(Simon & Schuster; New York, 1993); Danny Peary. Super Bowl: The Game of their Lives. (Macmillan; New York, 1997). The notion of the Super Bowl’s origin story and the game’s mythology would be an interesting topic for future research.
7

Rachel Shuster. “Writers share memories of Super Bowls gone by” USA Today. January 25, 1991, 15e.

Kicking off the hype no hoopla.”8 The Super Bowl mythology is best encapsulated by Pat Summerall, the former New York Giants kicker and longtime football broadcaster: “There was none of the hype that we now associate with the game; in fact, nobody really wanted to play the game.”9 But was that really the case? A look back at contemporary coverage of the first Super Bowl paints a different picture than the mythology. The game was, in fact, widely covered by the news media. The goal of this study is to examine exactly how Super Bowl I was covered in newspapers of the day. The study will be guided by the following research questions: RQ1: How was coverage of Super Bowl I presented in newspapers?

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RQ2: What themes and subjects dominated newspaper coverage of Super Bowl I? Eight newspapers will be examined as a part of the study; The New York Times; the Pittsburgh Press; The Post-Standard in Syracuse, N.Y.; the St. Petersburg Times in Florida; the Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Wash.); the Oakland Tribune; the San Antonio Express-News and The Washington Post. The papers were selected in part as a convenience sample because of their availability to the researcher via online databases, as well as the geographic and circulation disparity they provide. Four of the newspapers come from cities that had a pro football team in 1967 (New York, Pittsburgh, Oakland, Washington), while the other four cities did not have pro football. Of the pro football cities, two had teams in the NFL (Pittsburgh and Washington), one had an AFL team

8 9

Ibid. Wittingham, xviii.

Kicking off the hype (Oakland), and New York had one team in both leagues. While this sample is by no means representative from a statistical standpoint, it does provide a nice range of papers to study. Three days of newspapers were examined, either via online databases or on microfilm. All eight newspapers’ editions for Saturday, January 14 (the day before the game); Sunday, January 15 (the day of the game) and Monday, January 16 (the day after the game) were studied. This allowed the researcher to examine the pregame and postgame coverage in each newspaper. The Super Bowl is a natural event through which to study the coverage of major

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sporting events and the evolution of sports journalism. Media scholar Marshall McLuhan said of the game, “The Super Bowl is world theater. The world is a happening. In the speed-up of the electronic age, we want things to happen. This offers us a mosaic that the fans love – everything is in action at once.”10. Looking back at how newspapers covered the initial game will provided perspective at how the game is covered in the 2010s and beyond. ‘The last game, the final game …’ The Super Bowl was the product of the merger between the National Football League and the American Football League. The NFL was the established league, having been in business since 1922. The AFL began in 1960 with eight teams as a direct competition for the NFL. From 1960 to 1966, the two leagues evolved into bitter rivals. Teams from both leagues competed to sign the best college players, and the escalating

10 As

quoted in Wittingham, p. 189.

Kicking off the hype player salaries caused by this rivalry led to financial strain for teams in both leagues. In

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1966, officials from both leagues agreed on the terms of a merger. Starting in 1970, there would be just one NFL. All eight AFL teams would be absorbed into the NFL. Starting in 1967, there would be a championship game between the champions of the two leagues. The first game was scheduled for January 15 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.11 Lamar Hunt, the founder and owner of the Kansas City Chiefs, is considered the father of the Super Bowl. A part of the merger was the creation of a championship games between the two leagues. At a meeting between AFL and NFL officials, Hunt asked what they would call the championship game. When asked what he meant, he said, “You know, the last game, the final game, the Super Bowl.”12 At first, NFL and AFL officials hated the name Super Bowl. It was considered a placeholder name, used as shorthand in internal discussions.13 But the name went public, and the media seized on it. For one thing, it had a root in the popular college football bowl games that were played every New Year’s Day. But also, it was undeniably snappy. “AFL-NFL World Championship Game” doesn’t fit well in a headline. “Super Bowl” does. Even though the game was officially known by the lengthy name, it was widely called the Super Bowl. Virtually every news story, every headline referred to the game by its snappy nickname.

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Dates for the history of both the NFL and AFL are from the ProFootballReference.com. For a complete history of the NFL, see MacCambridge. For an oral history of the AFL in general and, specifically, the conflict between the two leagues, see Jeff Miller’s “Going Long.” McGraw-Hill; New York. 2003.
12 13

Miller, 205. Ibid, 205

Kicking off the hype The two leagues played their championship games on New Year’s Day, 1967.

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Green Bay, which had won three NFL championships since 1960 and was considered the premier team in that league, defeated the Dallas Cowboys, 34-27, to win the NFL title. The Kansas City Chiefs – who began their existence in Dallas before moving to Kansas City in 1963 – won their first AFL title with a 31-7 victory over the Buffalo Bills. The two teams would meet in two weeks in the first Super Bowl. It would mark the first time an NFL team played an AFL team. There hadn’t even been an exhibition game, scrimmage or even a practice between the two leagues.14 In 1967, pro football was in a rare space in the sports landscape. In some ways, it was considered the most popular sport in the United States. On the other, the Super Bowl was a new kind of sporting event. In a way, it is the first modern sporting spectacle. At the time of the first game, all of the biggest events on the sporting calendar were longestablished, tradition-heavy events – the World Series, the Kentucky Derby, the Indianapolis 500, the Rose Bowl15. The week after the AFL and NFL championship games, the cover of the January 9 edition of Sports Illustrated featured a photo of Bart Starr leading the Packers to victory over the Dallas Cowboys16. But a week later, the week leading up to the first Super Bowl, an issue that came out three days before the game, featured Lynn Tindall in a bathing suite. It was the magazine’s annual swimsuit issue17.
14 15 16 17

MacCambridge, 237 Ibid., 239 Sports Illustrated, January 9, 1967. Sports Illustrated, January 16, 1967.

Kicking off the hype Sports media in 1967

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In 1967, the sports media found itself in the middle of a transition. Television was becoming more and more powerful, as more games were broadcast. The routines of journalists were changing as well. Sports writers had traditionally been tied very closely to the teams – traveling to road games on the team’s dime; drinking with players and coaches after games; writing pieces for the team’s official program. 18 By the mid-1960s, reporters had started to assert their independence from the teams. 19 While baseball was still the preeminent sport in 1967, football was growing in population, and the press corps that descended on Los Angeles for the first Super Bowl reflected this. More than 1,000 media credentials were issued for the game, including 338 for newspaper reporters20. NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle – a former public relations executive – gave his PR staff $250,000 to spend on the media. “I don’t care how you spend it,” he told one of his staffers. “But when the news media leaves, I want them to be talking about all the things we did that they don’t do at the World Series.”21

18 19

George Vecsey. A Year in the Sun. McGraw-Hill; New York. 1989.

David Maraniss. When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi. 2006. Maraniss also describes the story of an Associated Press reporter whom Lombardi banned from team press conferences because he reported that Packers’ running back Jim Taylor was upset at his salary. Maraniss wrotes that a Milwaukee Sentinel reporter had the same story but was prevented from writing it due to his editor, who was a big Packers fan. The press protested the banishment of the AP reporter, and Lombardi eventually rescinded the ban.
20 21

“A Big Day for Passes.” The New York Times January 15, 1967, S2.

Hill, 232. Mickey Herskowitz, a member of the AFL staff who worked with NFL officials as part of the Super Bowl.

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The reporters descended on Los Angeles in the week leading up to the game. With more than 1,000 credentialed media members covering the game, players dealt with far more reporters than they used to. Coverage was informal and relaxed. Rather than having formalized press conferences or availability sessions, reporters went to the team hotel to have meals with players or to visit them in their hotel rooms22. Vince Lombardi conducted interviews in a small conference room at the team’s hotel in Santa Barbara – the coach didn’t need a microphone to be heard by the 30 or so reporters there. 23 The Kansas City Chiefs stayed in Long Beach, where flamboyant defensive back Fred “The Hammer” Williams entertained reporters with boastful predictions and demonstrations of karate moves right in the lobby of the team’s hotel24 . The rest of this paper will examine the Super Bowl coverage in eight newspapers, both from a presentation perspective (i.e. how prominent was game coverage displayed) and from a coverage perspective (i.e. what were the dominant storylines and themes?). The study begins on Saturday, Jan. 14, 1967, the day before the game. January 14: The Day Before All eight newspapers had some sort of Super Bowl coverage on Saturday, but the amount varied from paper to paper. The New York Times had just two stories on one of their inside sports pages, one a general game advance and the other a story about Kansas

22

Ibid (quoting from Star-Ledger columnist Jerry Ledger); Peary, 9 (quoting Green Bay quarterback Bart Starr).
23 24

Shuster, 15e. Ibid.

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City’s offensive line being a potential key to the game.25 The Spokesman-Review carried just one story on the second sports page in the middle of the page – the Associated Press’ general story. 26 The placement of the story, and its short length, suggests it was used as almost of a filler story . The Pittsburgh Press27 and the Oakland Tribune28 each had just one story each Other papers, however, published far more substantial packages. The Washington Post had three pages worth of coverage, with including a bylined game preview29 and notes 30 from writer Dave Brady, both of which carried a Los Angeles dateline. The Post also featured a column from Shirley Povich 31, which it ran with a banner headline above the sports section’s masthead. The St. Petersburg Times had a huge package on their front sports page. In a unique spread, three columns – from Milton

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William Wallace, “Arbands to start at end for Chiefs” and Frank Litsky “Super Duels in line are key to game.” The New York Times January 14, 1967, 23. It should be noted that The Times’ entire sports section consisted of inside pages. There was no sports section cover in this day’s edition.
26 Associated

Press “Pro rivals complete drills for initial test of strength.” SpokesmanReview, January 14, 1967, 9. The same story also appeared in the St. Petersburg Times, the San Antonio Express-News and the Syracuse Post-Standard
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Universal Press International “60 million to watch Super Bowl” The Pittsburgh Press, January 14, 1967, 6.
28

Bob Valli. “Foundling Chiefs Challenge the Old Pros.” Oakland Tribune, January 14, 1968, 14
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Dave Brady. “Chiefs already sky high for Packers.” The Washington Post, January 14, 1967, D-1.
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Dave Brady. “State’s Super tax is certain winner.” The Washington Post, January 14, 1967, D-3.
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Shirley Povich. “CBS-NBC Knock Heads for Super Prestige.” The Washington Post, January 14, 1967, D-1.

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Richman, Red Smith and Povich. - ran above the masthead, dominating the front page of the sports section.32 Three storylines dominated the coverage on the day before the game – the merger between the two leagues; the novelty of the game itself; and the television coverage. The merger hook is obvious. This was the entire reason for the game. It was the first time teams from the two leagues had ever met on the field. Chiefs coach Hank Stram told reporters that the rivalry between the AFL and NFL had been “a war of words for 7 years, and now we’ll settle it on the field”33 . The AP story, in the lede, referred to the game as “the first test of strength between the champions of the National and American football leagues.”34. Another part of this was the established pecking order of the two leagues and teams, a sort of inter-league hegemony. Green Bay was the dominant team, the unquestioned favorite from the unquestioned stronger league. Kansas City was the upstart team from the upstart league. All three columns in the St. Petersburg Times played off of this. They all noted that Kansas City was stronger than popularly perceived - Richman in fact picked the Chiefs to win35 – but it was all within the context that Green Bay was the favorite, the perceived stronger team. In a sense, all three columns hinted that Kansas

32 33

“Three Super Views.” St. Petersburg Times, January 14, 1967. B-1.

Dave Brady. “Chiefs already sky high for Packers.” The Washington Post, January 14, 1967, D-1.
34

The Associated Press. “Pro rivals complete drills for initial test of strength.” The Spokesman Review, 9.
35

Milton Richman. “Ominous notes in Vince’s drum?” St. Petersburg Times, January 14, 1967. B-1.

Kicking off the hype City wasn’t a pushover and was, in fact, a pretty good team.36 Bob Valli’s story in the

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Oakland Tribune was the one of eight written from a Chiefs’ slant rather than one dealing with the Packers’ strength and experience. The story focused on the impact the game would have on the AFL’s reputation, that the Chiefs needed to win to validate their league’s standing.37 However, there was very little talk of actual football, of strategy or of match-ups beyond vague generalities. The dominant storyline was the showdown between the two leagues who just so happened to be represented by the Packers and Chiefs, not between the two teams themselves. The AP story didn’t deal with any football issues until the eighth paragraph. The story included financial details of both the league’s potential profit (third paragraph) and the individual players (sixth paragraph) and the fact that the game was being broadcast on both CBS and NBC. In this respect, the story has an introductory feel. It’s a story to introduce people to the basics of what this game is rather than a preview of it.38 The fact that the game was being broadcast on two networks was a major story on the day before the game. Povich’s column in The Washington Post, which carried a banner headline on the front page of the sports section, was all about the business of the TV coverage. It also noted the way the game had been hyped – or even overhyped.

36

Ibid. Red Smith. “Packers have to prove it.”; Shirley Povich. “Chiefs need to start fast.” St. Petersburg Times. January 14, 1967, B-1.
37

Bob Valli “Foundling Chiefs challenge the old pros.” Oakland Tribune, January 14, 1967. 14.
38 AP.

The Spokesman Review. 9.

Kicking off the hype “Privately, both networks are admitting now that they have may have overdone it.”

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Povich wrote39 . The San Antonio Express-News and Syracuse Post-Standard both carried a wire story about how the battle that mattered was not between the AFL and NFL but between the two networks for ratings and advertising dollars. 40 Both stories were highly explanatory in nature, explaining why such things were important to the television executives 41. January 15: Game day The day of the game brought a significant upgrade in the amount of coverage Super Bowl I received. All eight newspapers had multiple stories spanning multiple pages of coverage. Including agate packages and briefs, The New York Times had 23 stories. Two ran on the cover – one an overview of the game that served as an advance, and a story about Rozelle’s frustration at the fact that the game did not sell out 42. Several papers ran extensive agate packages, featuring team-by-team comparisons, schedules, statistics, and the names and background information on the game’s officials. The AP moved a position-by-position comparison of both teams in which all the starters for both teams at

39 40

Povich. The Washington Post. D-1.

Brent Musburger. “Real super battle Sunday will be CBS against NBC.” San Antonio Express-News. January 14, 1967, 4-B. The story also appeared in the Syracuse PostStandard. Musburger, in an ironic twist, went from criticizing TV in this story to becoming a well-known sports broadcaster for CBS in the 1970s and 1980s.
41

Both Povich’s column and Musberger’s story were the only stories in the three-day sample that used any anonymous sources.
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“The Super Bowl: Football’s Day of Decision Stirs Nation” and “Rozelle says price is wrong as sale of tickets lag.” The New York Times. January 15, 1967. S-1.

Kicking off the hype all 22 on-field positions were compared.43 The Spokesman-Review, which a day earlier ran just one story, had five stories over three pages, including the agate comparison.

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Along with the volume of copy, the game coverage also brought out several visual elements in design. Along with the main game preview picked up from the UPI wire, the Pittsburgh Press ran a huge, six-column cartoon about the Super Bowl, one which stressed the pageantry and the TV coverage of the game44 . The Syracuse paper ran four large photos along with the jump of the AP game preview (the story ran above the masthead on the front page, which was dominated by coverage of Syracuse University’s basketball victory over LaSalle) 45. The Oakland Tribune had four stories on the game, as well as an entire inside page dedicated to the game. 46 Once again, the St. Petersburg Times had one of the more interesting packages. Despite having no NFL team nearby, the paper’s Super Bowl coverage took up all but one of the eight columns on the front page. The AP game preview, as well as starting lineups, ran superimposed over a photo of the LA Coliseum on the sports cover, and an entire inside page was dedicated to more stories, a syndicated column by Arthur Daley and agate packages. The front cover contained a teaser, which said in part: “It’s more than just a game – this game that is ‘the only game

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The Spokesman-Review (6), The St. Petersburg Times (5-C); Oakland Tribune (43) and The New York Times (S-3) all ran this.
44 45

Pittsburgh Press, January 15, 1967 4-1. See Appendix 1.

The Herald-American. January 15, 1967. Note that the two Syracuse newspapers of the day, the Herald-American and the Post-Standard, combined to publish one Sunday edition.
46

Oakland Tribune. January 15, 1967. 43

Kicking off the hype in town’ and the nation. It’s really a revelation. For instance, is the NFL really stronger than the AFL? If so, embarrassingly so?”47 That quote speaks to the dominant theme and storylines in pre-game coverage. Continuing from the previous day, the story of the AFL-NFL merger, and the pressure

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both teams have to represent their respective leagues, dominated the coverage. Again, the coverage advanced a notion of inter-league hegemony – that the NFL was the dominant league, the Packers were a dominant team and the Chiefs were trying to crash that party. The notion of reputation emerged as a theme within the merger storyline. Sunday’s stories advanced the notion that this was not just a game between the Packers and the Chiefs but instead a showdown between the two leagues. However, there was no consensus on which team had more pressure. Some writers believed it was Kansas City that was trying to prove that it and the AFL deserved a place at the grown-ups’ table. The Chiefs were “inflamed with the notion that they could make believers out of the NFL skeptics”48. The AP quoted a Chiefs player as saying “We’re the kids from across the tracks. We’re coming over the play the rich kids.”49 Others, though, believed the pressure was on the Packers. They needed to win, and win big, to prove NFL superiority. Even a close victory would be a blow to the NFL’s reputation 50. And a loss to the Chiefs would be devastating. Writing about Rozelle’s work at making the merger happen, columnist

47 48 49

St. Petersburg Times. January 15, 1967, B-1. Brady. “Packers picked to whip Chiefs.” The Washington Post, January 15, 1967, C-1.

Jack Hand. “Bart Star, passing defense make Packers favorite.” Written for the Associated Press, as quoted from the Spokesman-Review, January 15, 1967, 5
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Ray Sons. “Packers put prestige on line.” Pittsburgh Press, January 15, 1967, 4-1

Kicking off the hype Red Smith concluded his column: “Many cooks helped stir this broth, but the guy who got it on the table is Pete Rozelle. It is his soup and if the Chiefs win, he’ll be in it.”51

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All the stories, through, continued with the theme of inter-league hegemony. This was all occurring within the accepted context that the NFL and the Packers were on top and the Chiefs and the AFL were second-class. A pair of wire stories about two franchises ran in the Spokesman Review. One, about the Chiefs, stressed that they had been a “starcrossed” franchise dealing with deaths, financial problems and injuries and were full of colorful characters 52. The Packers, on the other hand, had “a touch of magic” in their very name53. The contrast was clear – the Chiefs were a neat little interesting team, but the Packers were a tough, true football squad. Related to the merger story line was the novelty aspect of the game – more importantly, the hype surrounding the Super Bowl. The game had “piqued (the) nation’s curiosity.”54 It was called the “most publicized sports spectacle of the 20th century.55” But the newspapers were dismissive of the hype. Spokesman-Review columnist Harry Missilding called to get rid of the word Super from the game and rallied against television’s coverage: “The electronic folks have plugged it to the skies … until I’m
51

Red Smith. “Super Bowl soup is Rozelle’s dish.” The Washington Post. January 15, 1967, C-5. Emphasis added by the author.
52

The Associated Press. “Chiefs boast unusual cast.” Spokesman Review, January 15, 1967, 7.
53

The Associated Press. “Magic Touch in GB’s past.” Spokesman Review January 15, 1967, 7.
54

William Wallace. “60 million to watch as Packers and Chiefs play today on TV.” The New York Times. January 15, 1967, S-1.
55

Valli. “Showdown for Chiefs-Packers.” Oakland Tribune, January 15, 1967, 45.

Kicking off the hype ready to scream for mercy.56” Bill Veeck wrote that the game was “strictly a network production” and that rather than the broadcasters, the telecast should just feature the stadium public address announcer.57 Writing in The New York Times (in the main game preview), William Wallace wrote “When the game is over, we can all go back to doing what we were doing before.”58 January 16: The Day After

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Coverage of Green Bay’s 35-10 victory over the Chiefs was extensive. All of the eight newspapers had at least three stories from the game and ran it as the lead story to the sports section. The San Antonio News-Express gave the game the most coverage. The entire cover of the sports section was dedicated to the game, with four AP wire stories and four very large photos taking up the entire page59 . The Oakland Tribune devoted parts or all of four pages to the Super Bowl60 . The St. Petersburg Times ran six stories from the game61, The Washington Post devoted three pages to game coverage62 and, once again, The New York Times had two full inside pages filled with game coverage63. In addition, this was the only day in which the game was featured on the front

56

Harry Missilding. “Let’s call it the World Championship.” Spokesman Review, January 15, 1967, 4.
57 58 59 60 61 62 63

Bill Veeck. “Airwaves to be filled with lots of Super Blah-Blah” Pittsburgh Press, 4-4. Wallace. “60 million to watch as Packers and Chiefs play today on TV.” S-1. San Antonio Express-News. January 16, 1967. 1-D. See Appendix 2. Oakland Tribune. January 16, 1967. 40-42, 45. St. Petersburg Times. January 16, 1967, 1C-3C Washington Post, January 16, 1967, B-1, B-2, B-4. The New York Times, January 16. 1967, S1-S3.

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page of some newspapers. The New York Times featured coverage above the fold on A-1. The lead photo of that day’s paper was a smiling Pete Rozelle handing the Vince Lombardi the championship trophy (which would eventually bear the coach’s name) and the start of the game story – which featured more formalized writing, referring to the Packers’ quarterback as Byron Bartlett (Bart) Starr64. The Syracuse Post-Standard featured a photo of Max McGee making a one-hand catch in the middle of Page 1, with the cutline referring to the coverage on the sports pages 65, and the St. Petersburg Times also featured a picture of Chiefs running back Mike Garrett on the front cover, with a refer to the sports section66. The Washington Post’s front page had a banner headline above the masthead which read, “Green Bay Rolls to 35-10 Victory in Super Bowl – B-1” referring readers to the sports section67. The Packers’ 35-10 victory was heralded as a victory for the NFL, clear-cut validation of its superiority. The Packers didn’t just win the title for themselves, they “carried the NFL” to a victory 68 and “clearly established” its superior position between the leagues 69. “It was not a good day for the AFL” wrote Shirely Povich70 The
64

William Wallace. “Green Bay wins football title.” The New York Times, January 16, 1967, A-1.
65

The Post Standard, January 16, 1967, 1-A. Petersburg Times, January 16, 1967, 1-A.

66St. 67 68

The Washington Post, January 16, 1967, A-1.

The Associated Press. “Green Bay’s proven pros carry packets to easy playoff victory.” As carried in the Spokesman Review. January 16. 1967, 5. Story also ran in the San Antonio Express-News and the Syracuse Post-Standard.
69 70

Brady. “Starr’s passes subdue Chiefs.” The Washington Post, January 16, 1967, B-1. Povich. “Rozelle releases doves.” The Washington Post, January 16, 1967, B-1.

Kicking off the hype construction of stories is noteworthy. The game stories were almost all play-by-play

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recaps with no quotes (or one or two at the most)71. There was a story from the Packers’ locker room – one which in all cases led with Lombardi’s assertion that the Chiefs, while good, weren’t in the same class as the top teams in the NFL72. There was another story from the Chiefs’ locker room, all of which revolved around their belief that one game was not a fair measuring stick for the two leagues 73. It should be noted that in all the papers, the Lombardi/Packers story received more prominent play than the Chiefs’ story. The Chiefs story was often buried either below the fold or inside. The storyline of the actual game was the play of Bart Starr, the game’s MVP who threw for 250 yards and two touchdowns 74. The key to the game, it was widely agreed, was William Wood’s interception of Kansas City quarterback Len Dawson on the second half’s first possession. At the time, the Chiefs trailed by just four points and had played well. But the interception, and ensuing touchdown, gave the Packers control of the

71

Brady, The Washington Post, January 16, 1967, B-1; Wallace, The New York Times, January 16, 1967, A-1; The Associated Press, Spokesman Review, January 16, 1967, 5; United Press International, Pittsburg Press, January 16, 1967, 38.
72

Stores include: “NL Football is tougher – Lombardi” in the Pittsburgh Press, January 16, 1967, 38; “Chiefs not as good as Dallas – Lombardi” in the San Antonio ExpressNews, January 16, 1967, 1-D; "Lombardi calls chiefs good team but not equal to top elevens in NFL” in The New York Times, January 16, 1967, S-3.
73

Sample headline: “Chiefs eager for erturn match” in the Pittsburgh Press, January 16, 1967, 38.
74

Sample headlines: “Chief Reason for Loss: No Barring Super Starr” in St. Petersburg Times, January 16, 1967, C-1. “Star’s passes subdue Chiefs” in The Washington Post, January 16, 1967, B-1. Starr’s play was also the lede in stories by The New York Times and the Associated Press stories.

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game75. Another prominent story was Max McGee, the reserve Green Bay receiver who had 138 yards and two touchdowns in the Super Bowl. After the game, he announced he was retiring. “McGree retiring – and what a way to go!” was the headline that spanned the top of the Syracuse Post Standard’s sport section76. Conclusion The mythology that Super Bowl I was not covered or was virtually ignored, or was not hyped, is patently ludicrous. While it may not have been hyped in the same frenetic, across-the-board manner as in 2010, there was still plenty of coverage of the game. All of the eight newspapers sampled had extensive coverage of the game the day of and the day after. On the day of the game, the game was either the lead story or had a place of prominence on the sports cover of all eight newspapers. The day after the game, it was the top sports story in every paper, and even made its way onto the front page of several papers. Newspapers from cities without pro football teams – in other words, ones without the kind of built-in interest as those cities with franchises – covered the game extensively. The full-page treatment the game received before hand in St. Petersburg and afterward in San Antonio shows this. From lead headlines to multiple stories, Super Bowl I was prominently covered in the newspapers of the time. Also, there were numerous columns

75

Brady, The Washington Post. January 16, 1967, B-1; Valli, Oakland Tribune, January 16, 1967, 40. What’s noteworthy is that none of the writers questioned the Chiefs’ decision to abandon their game plan despite being down just 11 points early in the second half.
76

San Antonio Express-News January 16, 1967, 1-D.

Kicking off the hype criticizing the hype surrounding the game – though curiously, they were all critical of

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television’s overhyping of the game and never mentioned the glut of newspaper coverage. The novelty of the game, and the merger of the two leagues, were no doubt the reasons behind this. This was not just any pro football game. It was the culmination of a 7-year battle between two leagues. The merger was the obvious storyline, and this was reflected in the newspaper coverage. This coverage also reflected the inter-league hegemony. The assumption underlying each story was that the Packers (and, by extension, the NFL), were the better team, superior to the Chiefs (and, by extension, the AFL). Within the storyline of the merger, the dominant theme was that the two teams represented the leagues themselves. In terms of the stories and coverage, this was not a showdown between the Packers and the Chiefs. This was a showdown between the NFL and the AFL, and the teams were mere representatives. The coverage made the game about the leagues, and their respective reputations. Leading up to the game, it was a matter of whether or not Green Bay could maintain the NFL’s aura of invincibility or that the Chiefs were carrying the hopes and dreams of the entire AFL. The coverage reflected little about the actual teams and more about the leagues themselves. Once Green Bay won in convincing fashion, the story was simple – the Packers had asserted the NFL’s dominance. One interesting note was how prevalent the notion of money was in the coverage. The plethora of columns about the dueling telecasts revolved around the fact that this was a commercial, money-making enterprise for the networks. Also, it was noteworthy that

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virtually every story mentioned that the winners’ share was $15,000 a player – something rarely mentioned in 2010 coverage of the sporting events. Also interesting was the lack of coverage of Fred Williamson, the Kansas City cornerback whose pre-game boasts and trash talk received much attention in the weeks leading up to the game and is a key part of the Super Bowl I myth. In the three days studied, there were only two stories that referred to Williamson – and one of them was a wire-service brief about him leaving the game due to injury 77. The coverage reflected sports journalism’s practices of the time, in that the game stories were primarily play-by-play descriptions rather than any analysis, and that stories tended to reflect one team’s point of view rather than have both teams represented. What’s noteworthy is that for all the access reporters had, for the way they met players and coaches for meals, at their hotel rooms and in informal interview sessions, that wasn’t reflected in the coverage. Stories didn’t contain few quotes, and only from one or two players in a given story. Many of them felt formal, as if the writers were keeping a distance – which is at odds with the relaxed nature of the player-reporter relationship. Although sports journalists were becoming more independent from the teams, there was still a sense of boosterism in some of the coverage. The coverage in The Washington Post (home paper for the NFL’s Redskins) was decidedly slanted in favor of the Packers 78.

77

“Loud Chief read to toss ‘The Hammer’ The New York Times, January 15, 1967, S-2.; The Associated Press, “Fred Williamson OK after suffering Super Bowl KO” Oakland Tribune. January 16. 1967, 42.
78

i.e. “The 13-point spread is seen as conservative.” Dave Brady, Washington Post, January 15, 1967, C-1. In the article, Brady also wrote that only one Chiefs’ player could be viewed as having played better than his Packers’ counterpart during the season.

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Coverage in the Oakland Tribune (home paper for the AFL’s Raiders) had a pro-Chiefs’ slant to it79. This study shows that the hyping of sporting events is not a 21st century novelty. It shows that from its start, the Super Bowl was considered one of the most important sporting events in the United States. The coverage of the game from an NFL vs. AFL perspective set the tone not just for the next few Super Bowls but one that continues today, when the AFC is pitted against the NFC. From the start, media coverage helped turn a football game between two leagues into the Super Bowl - the all-capped event that is almost a secular holiday in the United States. And the amount of coverage the game received at the time debunks the creation myth that the first Super Bowl was not a big deal at the time. Years later, Miami Herald columnist Edwin Pope remembered: “Even though the game wasn’t sold out, it wasn’t played in privacy like some people like to say. I will say an awful lot of writers missed that first one and never missed another.”80

79

i.e. “One revolting error deprived the AFL champions of being hailed today as the nearequals of the NFL champions.” Bill Dunbar. “Pack too tough” Oakland Tribune. January 16, 1967, 40.
80

Miller, p. 235.

Kicking off the hype References Primary Sources Miller, Jeff. Going Long. The Wild 10-year Saga of the Renegade American Football League in the words of those who lived it. McGraw-Hill. New York. 2003. Newspapers (all from Jan. 14-16, 1967 unless noted): The New York Times Oakland Tribune The Pittsburgh Press St Petersburg Times San Antonio Express-News Spokesman Review Syracuse Post-Standard Syracuse Herald American (Jan. 15, 1967) Washington Post Newspaper articles Associated Press. “Pro rivals complete drills for initial test of strength.” SpokesmanReview. January 14, 1967, 9. Associated Press. “Loud Chief ready to toss ‘The Hammer’ The New York Times, January 15, 1967, S-2. Associated Press. “A Big Day for Passes.” The New York Times, January 15, 1967, S2. Associated Press. “Chiefs boast unusual cast.” Spokesman Review January 15, 1967, 7. Associated Press. “Magic Touch in GB’s past.” Spokesman Review January 15, 1967, 7

25

Associated Press. “Chief Reason for Loss: No Barring Super Starr” St. Petersburg Times, January 16, 1967, C-1.

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Associated Press. “Fred Williamson OK after suffering Super Bowl KO” Oakland Tribune, January 16. 1967, 42. Associated Press. “Chiefs not as good as Dallas – Lombardi.” San Antonio Express-News, January 16, 1967, 1-D; Associated Press. “Green Bay’s proven pros carry packets to easy playoff victory.” As carried in the Spokesman Review. January 16. 1967, 5. Becker, Bill. “Lombardi Calls Chiefs Good Team But Not Equal to Top Elevens in N.F.L.” The New York Times, January 16, 1967. Brady, Dave. “Chiefs already sky high for Packers.” The Washington Post, January 14, 1967, D-1. Brady, Dave. “State’s Super tax is certain winner.” The Washington Post, January 14, 1967, D-3. Brady, Dave. “Packers picked to whip Chiefs.” The Washington Post, January 15, 1967, C-1. Brady, Dave. “Starr’s passes subdue Chiefs.” The Washington Post, January 16, 1967, B-1. Hand, Jack. “Bart Star, passing defense make Packers favorite.” Written for the Associated Press, as quoted from the Spokesman-Review, January 15, 1967, 5. Litsky, Frank. “Super duels in line are key to game.” The New York Times, January 14, 1967, 23. Missilding, Harry. “Let’s call it the World Championship.” Spokesman Review, January 15, 1967, 4. Musburger, Brent. “Real super battle Sunday will be CBS against NBC.” San Antonio Express-News, January 14, 1967, 4-B Poivich, Shirley. “CBS-NBC Knock Heads for Super Prestige.” The Washington Post, January 14, 1967, D-1. Poivich, Shirley. “Chiefs need to start fast.” St. Petersburg Times. January 14, 1967, B-1. Poivich, Shirley. “Rozelle releases doves.” The Washington Post, January 16, 1967, B-1.

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Richman, Milton. “Ominous notes in Vince’s drum?” St. Petersburg Times, January 14, 1967, B-1. “Rozelle says price is wrong as sale of tickets lag.” The New York Times, January 15, 1967, S-1. Smith, Red. “Packers have to prove it.” St. Petersburg Times. January 14, 1967, B-1. Smith, Red. “Super Bowl soup is Rozelle’s dish.” The Washington Post, January 15, 1967, C-5. Sons, Ray. “Packers put prestige on line.” Pittsburgh Press, January 15, 1967, 4-1. Universal Press International “60 million to watch Super Bowl.” The Pittsburgh Press, January 14, 1967, 6. United Press International. “Chiefs outclassed in Super Bowl.” Pittsburg Press, January 16, 1967, 38. United Press International. “Chiefs eager for return match” Pittsburgh Press, January 16, 1967, 38. Valli, Bob. “Foundling Chiefs Challenge the Old Pros” Oakland Tribune, January. 14, 1968, 14. Valli, Bob. “Showdown for Chiefs-Packers.” Oakland Tribune, January 15, 1967, 45. Veeck, Bill. “Airwaves to be filled with lots of Super Blah-Blah.” Pittsburgh Press, January 15, 1967, 4-4. Wallace, William. “Arbands to start at end for Chiefs.” The New York Times, January 14, 1967, 23. Wallace, William. “60 million to watch as Packers and Chiefs play today on TV.” The New York Time, January 15, 1967, S-1. Wallace, William. “Green Bay wins football title.” The New York Times, January 16, 1967, A-1. Secondary sources Carroll, Bob Newhardt. When the Grass Was Real. Simon & Schuster; New York, 1993.

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MacCambridge, Michael. America’s Game. The epic story of how pro football captured a nation. New York: Random House, 2004. Maraniss, David. When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi. Simon and Schuster: New York, 2000. O’Brien, Michael. Vince: A Personal Biography of Vince Lombardi. New York: Morrow. 1989. Peary, Danny. Super Bowl: The Game of their Lives. Macmillan; New York, 1997. Pro Football Reference. http://www.ProFootballReference.com. Shuster, Rachel. “Writers share memories of Super Bowls gone by” USA Today. Jan. 25, 1991, p. 15e. Sports Illustrated, January 9, 1967. Sports Illustrated, January 16, 1967. Vecsey, George. A Year in the Sun. McGraw-Hill; New York. 1989. Wittingham, Richard. Sunday’s Heroes. Triumph Books: New York, 2003.

Kicking off the hype Appendix 1

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Pittsburgh Press. January 15, 197

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Appendix 2: San Antonio Express News

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