Like something out of American Pickers, the WSJ revealed today that a recording of the first Super Bowl between the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs lies in a bank vault unseen for over 50 years. Apparently, Troy Haupt found the 50-year old tapes in his mother’s attic several years ago. Of course, the tapes remain unseen because, well because of greed and legal issues. Click here to read the story. Mr. Haupt restored the tape several years ago and tried to sell it to the NFL, which refuses to budge, claiming the game is their intellectual property and therefore the broadcast rights belong to them. Several investors have formed a Kickstarter campaign to raise $1.5 million to buy the tape and then broadcast it for free online.
Somehow, even though Super Bowl I was broadcast by two networks (a result of the old NFL-AFL rivalry), neither CBS nor NBC kept a copy. A few years ago, the NFL pieced together a complete broadcast from audio and video clips from different sources. While this “Frankenstein” version was a gem, there is no way it can compete with an actual full recording. Given the standstill between Haupt and the NFL, the tapes will sit in the vault until either they resolve their issues or the Kickstarter campaign results in the tapes receiving a new home and a free broadcast. As to the later, you can be assured that an army of lawyers will be involved if there is an attempt to broadcast the game for free.
Here’s to hoping that everyone comes to their senses and this important sports artifact gets the airing it deserves. And if Green Bay and Kansas City win their respective conference championship games this Sunday, what would be better than a re-broadcast of their historic first Super Bowl?
For more on the first Super Bowl and the history of professional football, check out my book, The Evolution of Professional Football available on Amazon and on this website.
That’s all for now football fans.