Complete TV Broadcast of Super Bowl I Found!

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.




The NFL at 100 – More Popular Than Ever!

Today brings us the first Saturday NFL games of 2019.  I remember as kid waiting for Saturday NFL because it meant we’d get games on Saturday, Sunday, and then on Monday night as well (back when Monday Night Football was a really big deal).  We only had a few channels back then, so anything sports-related on TV was an instant draw to my brother and me.  Today, I have Direct TV’s NFL Ticket so I can watch every NFL game regardless of market.  And football – college and professional – saturates the airwaves during the fall and early winter.  For people like me, that’s heaven.  For people like my wife, not so much.  There are also half-a-dozen college bowl games on TV today as well.  While those games will draw fans, largely fans of the teams playing, the ratings for the NFL games will dwarf the college games – just like the NFL ratings dwarf just about any competition they meet from other sports to movies to even presidential debates.  At 100 years old the NFL is more popular than ever and nothing on the horizon suggests that will change any time soon.  The New York Times published a great story on the NFL and it’s popularity (and violence) the latter supporting the former.  Read it here.

That’s all for now football fans.




The Price of Moving…

If you’ve seen any of the televised games of the Los Angeles Chargers (formerly of San Diego) you have seen something very odd – a “home” stadium filled to the brim with fans of the opposing team. When the Spanos family picked up their team and moved to L.A., I don’t think anyone foresaw this. Their temporary stadium only holds 27,000 people. They will move into the Rams new Deathstar of a stadium next year. Will the team get the same treatment from its L.A.-based fans? Who knows – but it will be interesting to watch and it’s a precautionary tale about leaving loyal fans in the dirt and about professional football in Los Angeles which has struggled mightly for attention for decades. Here’s an interesting article from the NYT about the Chargers move to L.A.

That’s all for now football fans.


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Lawyers, Guns, and Money!

No surprise that in the USA if you don’t like the result, you sue somebody. Hey, I get it that the refs blew the call in the Saints vs. Ram NFC title game last weekend but guess what? It happens! It sucks. It’s unfair. It’s terrible. What it is not is something you should sue over. But, some did.  Click here to read about it.  To be blunt, it’s felony stupid.  First, it’s a waste of the resources of the court system which have more important things to deal with then a blown ref call. Second, it makes you look like a douchebag – especially the lawyers but the fans as well.  The history of the league is riddled with bad calls but no one sued over them.  Can the NFL try to improve things?  Yes.  Should there be lawsuits or – worse – COngressional hearings into a blown call.  Definitely, no.

That’s all for now football fans.


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Referees Have the Hardest Job in the World – Let’s Help Them!

If you watched the NFL Conference Championship games over the weekend you saw some very exciting  – overtime – football. And congratulations to the Rams and the Patriots (including the remarkable Tom Brady).  You also saw some questionable calls, including a blown call that probably kept the Saints from advancing to the Super Bowl. There was a great article in the New York Times about that game and that “non-call.”  To read the article, click here.  There are several interesting points in the article, including:

  1. The referees do not have the benefit of replay on many calls, including holding, pass interference, and other “judgment” calls.  Yet, people at home and at the stadium have 50+ views in HD.
  2. Replay is often the collective judgment of 50 fans in a bar.  Again, they have views not available to the referees.

The speed of the game on the filed is so fast, if you [a referee] are in the wrong place, how can you possibly make the right call – even though NFL officials get a tremendous percentage of close calls right – though they did miss that Julien Edleman did not touch the football and thus cause a fumble during Sunday’s Chiefs vs. Patriots match-up.  Yet they had the ability to go back and review the play and make the right call.

While as a fan it’s often tough to put emotions to the side, the NFL needs to find a way to help the referees out.  The obvious solution is to make any play reviewable, though the downside to that is the impact on length of the game.  It will add time.  Perhaps or judgment calls, only a remote group of referees and call for a review (like the NFL does in the last two minutes of a game)?  And the review must be completed within 30 seconds or else the call on the field stands?  Or some type of limit so that we do not end up with four-hour games.

It’s tough to be a referee.  Don’t yell at them – let’s help them out!  You can find out more about the NFL’s instant replay system in my book: The Evolution of Professional Football.


That’s all for now football fans!


Run-Pass-Option: The Oldest Play in the Book!

I know it’s been a while since I posted here, but I promise to try to do so more often. There was a great story in the NYT today discussing the oldest play in the book – the run-pass-option, or as commonly called today, the “RPO.”  To read the full story, click here.  From the NYT article:

“It’s a heady time for a play that is at least 108 years old. In fact, the newly popular option pass is probably the oldest trick play in football still regularly in use.

In Kansas, however, a group of coaches and players from the 1910 College of Emporia football team laid claim to the first methodical, regular use of the halfback option under the direction of Coach Homer Woodson Hargiss. In recorded interviews from nearly 50 years ago, the 1910 Emporia team insisted that halfback Wayne B. Granger routinely faked a run and then threw the football. Granger’s nickname was “Twisty.”

How can you not believe any story with a protagonist named Twisty?

What is known unequivocally is that the option pass — almost always executed off an end-around play or a sweep to the left or right — was commonplace beginning in the 1920s. It was usually a slow developing play with the running back waiting for overeager linebackers and defensive backs to surge forward.”

There’s a great film clip of the RPO being used by the Dallas Cowboys against the Green Bay Packers in the “Ice Bowl,” one of the most famous games in NFL history.  And it just goes to show that there is rarely anything new in football – someone’s already thought of it.  For example, the “Wild Cat” offense is just the single wing offense from the early days of football.  Keep you eyes open when watching today’s NFL and you just might see some of its history.

That’s all for now football fans,

Sterling Miller

PS Get the full history of great NFL games in my book!

50 Years Ago – The NFL in 1967

The 1960’s were a time of huge changes in America.  1967 was a turning point, culturally, politically, and regarding the Vietnam War.  The NFL was not immune to these changes.  The second year into the merger between the NFL and the AFL, you can see change start to bubble to the surface of professional football.  The days of a bunch of crew-cut, part-time professionals was changing rapidly, just like the country.  Sports Illustrated has released several stories discussing key stories/issues about the NFL in 1967 – looking back 50 years.


These are very interesting articles covering some things I already knew and some things brand new to me.   I think it is great that SI has done this.  All of the articles are highly entertaining and informative.  Take a few minutes to read about:

What Ever Happened to Washington’s Ray McDonald?


The Playoff Bowl: The Worst Kind of Garbage Time


The History of NFL Goal Posts: Excitement and Danger


The Greatest Player Who Never Was


Brawl, Booze, and True Believers: The Saints’ First Wild Season


Of course, most of this and more are covered in my book, The Evolution of Professional Football available at


That’s all for now football fans.

Sterling Miller

PS 2017 camps start in a few weeks!


When Will Jerry Kramer Get His Due?

A few weeks ago on the day before one of the best Super Bowls ever, the 2017 Pro Football Hall of Fame class was announced. For many of those elected, I thought “yep, they got that right.” For others I thought, “you’re #$^%^ kidding me!” I won’t name names on the latter because that does no one any good at this point.

But, if we’re looking at HOF injustice, Exhibit A has to be Green Bay Packer’s great, Jerry Kramer – the best lineman on what be the best offensive line of all-time (the mid-1960’s Packers).  Not only did Jerry Kramer make the All-50 Year NFL Team (i.e., the best guard of the first 50 years of the NFL), he threw the lead block on the famous game winning quarterback sneak by Bart Starr that ended the 1967 “Ice Bowl” NFL Championship game against the Cowboys.  He also kicked three FGs in the 1962 NFL title game win against the New York Giants (50 mph wind/13 degrees). And, he’s the author of one of the best football books ever, Instant Replay.


So, why isn’t the best guard on the 5-time World Champion Packers in the Hall of Fame?  Who knows.  The is a very good article describing the process and asking the same questions (click here to read).

It’s time to rectify this terrible oversight before it’s too late.  Too many marginal players are getting in and true greats are left out.  Much like Ken Stabler finally received his due from the NFL, Jerry Kramer deserves to be recognized in the HOF.  And unlike Stabler, it needs to be done before he passes on.  At 81 years old, time is running out.  Hopefully, 2018 will be the year for Jerry Kramer on of the greatest NFL players of all time.


That’s all for now football fans,

Sterling Miller

PS Get the full history of great NFL games in my book!



Chargers Are Moving Back to Los Angeles – 55 Years Later!

As you know from my book, “The Evolution of Professional Football,” the American Football League begin in 1960 as a direct competitor of the NFL.  Among the original eight teams were the Los Angeles Chargers.  The Chargers moved to San Diego in 1961, after playing their first season in LA.  Yesterday, the Chargers announced they are moving back “home” — 55 years later!  Click here to read more on this.


The Chargers have consistently worn the coolest uniforms in the NFL – the Bolts and Powder Blue!


One of the first NFL games I remember watching was the Green Bay Packers vs. the San Diego Chargers on Monday Night Football.  Who was I rooting for?  The team with the coolest helmet of course!  That being San Diego in case it wasn’t clear.

This move obviously sucks for the many dedicated fans living in San Diego.  But it represents a bonanza for Los Angeles which got the Rams back from St. Louis last year and now have the Chargers on the way.  Both teams will ultimately play in the new billion dollar stadium being built by the Rams.  In the interim, the Rams are playing in the ancient Coliseum and the Chargers will play in the local soccer team’s stadium, which holds about 30,000 people – making it the smallest stadium to host an NFL team by about 30,000 seats (the Oakland Coliseum seats around 60,000).  The only problem for the Rams and the Chargers, regardless of where they play, is no one in LA gives a crap about either team.  Which is why both teams ultimately left in the first place. But the new stadium will instantly double the value of both franchises because it is a license to print money from seat licenses, parking, concessions, suites, etc.  The Chargers did try to stay in San Diego – but wanted the City to contribute toward a new stadium.  The voters said “No thank you” and now here you are.  You can debate the value of having an NFL team in terms of dollars and cents, but you cannot place a value on the damage to the City’s psyche of being another also-ran in the NFL team department (just ask two-time loser St. Louis and Baltimore before the Ravens came).


While I am sorry to see San Diego lose the team (and watch out for the Raiders moving to Las Vegas next), the bottom line is that cities that want teams are going to need to pay up or shut up.  The owners have a rare product and it’s a seller market.  While the sun will come up tomorrow in San Diego, lightning storms will never be the same.

While I have your attention, here are my picks in the four divisional playoff games:

Chiefs over Steelers

Cowboys over Packers

Patriots over Texans

Seattle over Atlanta

That’s all for now football fans,

Sterling Miller

PS Get the full history of NFL teams leaving and moving in my book!


The “Silver and Black” Wasn’t Always That: The History of the Oakland Raiders Uniform

The Oakland Raiders are back in the playoffs! The Raiders have long been a favorite of mine. In my book I write about seeing an Oakland Raider helmet on a shelf at the local JC Penny and desperately wanting it. Why? Because the silver and black with the “pirate” football player logo was pretty awesome – especially when you’re ten!

I cam across this article setting out the history of the Raiders’ uniforms.  While we think of the team as always wearing the “Silver and Black” with the awesome helmet logo, that was not always the case.  In fact, the first uniforms were black and gold!  Click here to read the article.  From the article by Paul Lukas @uniwatch:


Moreover, Lukas notes that the numbers were not always black, they were white, as was the original background color of the helmet logo:


Another neat thing about the Raiders uniforms is in the beginning, the Raiders showed the players’ full name on the back of the jersey!


If you’re like me, this type of history and trivia is what makes the NFL so interesting.  You can read more about the history of the league, uniforms, helmets, etc. in my book: “The Evolution of Professional Football” available at

The playoffs are starting – now it gets good!  Keep watching.

That’s it for now football fans.

Sterling Miller