January 15, 1967: The Beginning of an American Tradition

The National Football League and the American Football League decided to have a showdown between their two best teams.  So on January 15, 1967 the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs met at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in a cool 72 degrees.

Los Angeles Coliseum during the Super Bowl, Jan. 15, 1967. (AP Photo)
Los Angeles Coliseum during the Super Bowl, Jan. 15, 1967. (AP Photo)

61, 946 people filled the coliseum.  However, there were thousands of empty seats (94,000 total seats were available). At $12 a ticket the price was controversial. NBC (AFL contract) and CBS (NFL contract) broadcast the game to about 60 million viewers. A one-minute commercial cost the advertiser an outrageous sum between $75,000 and $85,000.

Packers’ Coach Vince Lombardi felt pressure from the NFL owners to win.  The owners wanted the AFL Chiefs crushed like a watermelon rolling off a truck going 50 mph.

He and his team had fought a grueling game against the Dallas Cowboys on January 2 in Green Bay (34-27).  His team was tired.

Lombardi shared the pressure with 33-year-old Bart Starr (born January 9, 1934). Starr expected the super best from his teammates: Dowler, Kramer, Pitts, Dale, Taylor, Thurston, Curry, Gregg, Fleming, and Skoronski.

Hank Stram and his Chiefs were pumped, having won the AFL Championship by beating the Buffalo Bills 31-7 at Buffalo on January 1. Len Dawson and his team were ready for the battle to prove the AFL was no “Mickey Mouse” operation.

Lombardi Kramer

The Packers beat the Chiefs 35-10.  Quarterback Bart Starr would become a household name.  Each of the Packers’ players received $15,000 for winning which was the largest pay a professional football player received in a single-game. The Chiefs received $7500 per player.

Bart Starr made roughly $100,000 in 1967.  Today, his counterpart Aaron Rodgers makes $8 million annually (80 times more than Starr ).

In 1969 the term Super Bowl was used for the first time.  It was a notion by Lamar Hunt, founder of the AFL and owner of the Chiefs.  It was inspired by his children playing with their newfangled SuperBall.

In 1970 the National Football League and the American Football League officially merged.  Two conferences were formed with 13 teams each.

Now, Super Bowl Sunday is probably the most anticipated day of the year for millions of fans and the curious.  Advertisers dole out millions for a slice of time during the game.  The half-time show borders on the spectacular.

The average ticket price for Super Bowl XLVII is $2,795.08. When you toss in the parties, food and alcohol, you have a multi-million-dollar enterprise.

Unlike the 1967 bonus pay to the players, the winners will receive $88,000 a piece and the losers $44,000 each. A 30-second advertisement runs for $3.8 million.  What a difference between 1967 and 2013!

This American tradition is not like mom and apple pie. It is a business which helps the local economy where the game is hosted.  New Orleans will be hosting the game for the tenth time.  Television advertisers are hoping you will buy their proffering at your local retailer.

In many ways sports, especially football, is an American religion.  Being played on Sunday night adds to the mystique.  A number of churches host SuperBowl parties.

Unfortunately, debate rages about which team God favors.  Does God really care about football in the light of so much suffering in the world?  Just a question.

Enjoy the game if you choose to be part of this American experience!  If you have other plans, enjoy your night!

G. D. Williams       © 2013

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January 15, 1967 AFL-NFL Championship Game








Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum


NFL Salaries


Bart Starr



Super Bowl XLVII Spending Spree

New Orleans could see a 25% increase in direct spending over last year’s game, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. The report says Super Bowl XLVII could generate about $185 million in local spending by the NFL, fans and media… Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent to prepare New Orleans for the game. A new streetcar line that transports people from the main train and bus station to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome opened earlier this week, and the airport also underwent major changes totaling $350 million. Meanwhile, more than $10 million was spent on improving streets in the city’s heavily visited French Quarter.


New Orleans