Monday, January 25, 2016
FIFTY YEARS OF SUPER BOWLS
Super Bowl XXIII Souvenirs, Miami, FL
I’m showing my age, but I can go on record as stating that I will have watched all 50 of the NFL Super Bowls! This year’s Super Bowl will be dubbed the “Golden Super Bowl” in recognition of the fifty year anniversary of the event. This will be the first Super Bowl not to use the Roman Numerals to designate the bowl number, as I suspect not too many Romans are left so they just got the “L” out of there.
We watched the Kansas City Chiefs get beaten by the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl I on January 15, 1967. The older NFL Packers were widely favored over the upstart AFL champs. The game was blacked out in the KC area, so we watched the images fade in and out via a homemade antenna I installed in our attic. The cost of a 30 second commercial on that first Sunday was $42,000. But then the Chiefs found redemption in Super Bowl IV against the Minnesota Vikings three years later in 1970. This game is also known for the NFL Films miking Chiefs Head Coach Hank Stram for the first time in bowl history. I can still hear Hank yelling at quarterback Len Dawson, “C’mon Lenny! Pump it in there, baby! Just keep matriculating the ball down the field, boys!” And a 30 second commercial had almost doubled to $78,000.
Then as luck would have it, I had the opportunity to attend Super Bowl XXIII at Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami, Florida on January 22, 1989. Myself and a few other work associates were guests of Sports Illustrated for the weekend with hall of fame defensive host “Mean Joe” Green of the Pittsburg Steelers and offensive host Larry Csonka of the Miami Dolphins. Joe Montana, the ultimate football super hero, guaranteed his hall of fame legacy when he huddled his San Francisco 49ers on their 8 yard line with 3:10 left on the clock and down by a score of 13 to 16. He broke the tension by pointing to Canadian comedian John Candy in the stands and then didn’t take “a plane, train or automobile”, but marched 92 yards for the winning touchdown with just 34 seconds left in the game. Jerry Rice was named MVP. Joe Cool won all four of his Super Bowl starts including consecutive wins in ’89 and ‘90. As the youngest member of our group, I caught a lot of grief by winning our Super Bowl pool. So I gathered my windfall the next morning and commandeered a limo to drive all of us back in style to the airport where a business jet flew us home. A 30 second commercial for that game was up to $675,000.
And now I’m living in North Carolina where the Carolina Panthers will take on the Denver Broncos who are the perennial enemies of the KC Chiefs in Super Bowl 50! I’ve gained a lot of yards over the past fifty years and missed a few PAT’s. We’ve experienced a lot of Super Bowl parties and memorable moments in sports with family and friends. Lately, however, I’m quite content to sit in the warm comfort of home to watch the game on a flat screen television and have a calm, relaxing beer with a simple snack. I’ve finally come to realize that no amount of screaming at the inert electronics will make one iota of difference in the outcome of the game—or the outcome of my life. In fact, I now rather enjoy the commercials more than the game these days. And the price of those 30 second commercials has now risen to a cool $5,000,000 so they'd better be as good as the game for that amount!