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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

January 15, 1967

Hard to believe, but we are already halfway through the month of January 2013! Boy, oh boy, time flows fast, doesn't it?

This is the third Tuesday Timeline of the month (and the year), and as always, we'll be taking a trip back through time to a specific event that happened throughout history.

Of course, if you have been a regular reader of this blog, you know that we start off every Tuesday Timeline feature with celebrity birthdays and a list of events that took place throughout history.

So, why change the tradition now?

So, here are some of the events that took place on January 15...

1493 – Christopher Columbus sets sail for Spain from Hispaniola, ending his first voyage to the New World

1541 – King Francis I of France gives Jean-Francois Roberval a commission to settle the province of New France (a.k.a. Canada), and provide for the spread of the Holy Catholic faith

1559 – Elizabeth I is crowned Queen of England in London at Westminster Abbey

1582 – Russia cedes Estonia and Livonia to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth

1759 – The British museum opens

1777 – New Connecticut (later to be renamed Vermont) declares its independence during the American Revolutionary War

1782 – Robert Morris, Superintendent of Finance, recommends the establishment of a national mint and decimal coinage to U.S. Congress

1815 – American frigate USS President is captured by a squadron of four British frigates during the War of 1812

1844 – The University of Notre Dame receives its charter from the state of Indiana

1865 – North Carolina's Fort Fisher falls to the Union during the American Civil War

1870 – The donkey becomes the official symbol for the Democratic party after it appears in a political cartoon drawn by Thomas Nast

1889 – The Pemberton Medicine Company (which will later change its name to the Coca-Cola company) is incorporated in Atlanta, Georgia

1892 – Canadian-American James Naismith publishes the rules for a new sport he

1908 – The first sorority founded by African-American women, Alpha Kappa Alpha, is established

1919 – A giant molasses tank bursts open and kills 21 people on the streets of Boston, Massachusetts in the event known as the “Boston Molasses Disaster”

1929 – American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. is born in Atlanta, Georgia

1943 – The world's largest office building, “The Pentagon”, is dedicated in Arlington, Virginia

1947 – The body of Elizabeth Short (also known as “The Black Dahlia”) is found in Los Angeles, California in Leimert Park

1951 – Ilse Koch is sentenced to life behind bars by a court in West Germany

1969 – The Soviet Union launches Soyuz 5

1973 – Richard Nixon announces the suspension of offensive action in North Vietnam during the Vietnam War

1974 – The BTK serial murders begin with the deaths of the Otero family in their home (the killer would not be apprehended until 2005)

1976 – Sara Jane Moore is sentenced to life in prison after an attempt to assassinate Gerald Ford

1987 – The last surviving main character of “The Wizard of Oz”, Ray “Scarecrow” Bolger, dies at the age of 93

1991 – The United Nations' deadline for the withdrawal of Iraqi forces from occupied Kuwait expires, which leads to the event known as Operation Desert Storm

1994 – Singer/Songwriter Harry Nilsson passes away at the age of 52 in California

2001 – Wikipedia is launched

2008 – Actor Brad Renfro dies of a heroin overdose at the age of 25

2009 – Captain Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger successfully steers U.S. Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River after takeoff from LaGuardia Airport; all passengers and crew members survive

And, celebrating a birthday this January 15 are...Frank Thornton, Phyllis Coates, Margaret O'Brien, Barbara Tarbuck, Andrea Martin, Ta-Tanisha, Nigel Benson, Mario Van Peebles, Marty Lyons, Kelly Asbury, Jeremy Beck, Bernard Hopkins, Adam Jones (Tool), Lisa Lisa, Chad Lowe, Shane McMahon, Regina King, Ernie Reyes Jr, Claudia Winkleman, Edith Bowman, Ray King, Tim Shaw, Corey Chavous, Doug Gottlieb, Eddie Cahill, Drew Brees, Matt Holliday, Howie Day, Pitbull, Benjamin Agosto, Megan Jendrick, Victor Rasuk, Fred Davis, Jessy Schram, Michael Seater, Kelly Kelly, Sophie Sumner, and Catherine Thomas.

So, what date will we be going back in time to this week?

Well, let's take a trip back to January 15, 1967.

Before I continue, I just want to state one thing. I am not very knowledgeable in sports. I never played them, I rarely watch them, and they aren't a big part of my life. But then again, you probably already know this.

I just wanted to make that clear because today's trip through time deals with a sports subject. This piece is more or less research based, and as a result of my lack of knowledge about it, I don't really talk about the mechanics of the sport.

That sport is football.

And, forty-six years ago today, the world tuned in for the inaugural Super Bowl!

The first Super Bowl was played on January 15, 1967 in Los Angeles, California between the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs. And, the very first Super Bowl has a couple of distinct traits to it that wasn't present in any other Super Bowl.

Firstly, the inaugural Super Bowl remains the only one in history to have unsold tickets! Surely anyone who has ever watched the Super Bowl has seen how crowded the stadiums are. In some areas, it's literally standing room only! But when the Super Bowl was first played, people didn't think it would be such a big deal. Of the 94,000 tickets that were available, only 61,946 were sold!

TRIVIA: The cost of a Super Bowl ticket in 1967? Twelve dollars.

Super Bowl I was also the only Super Bowl to be simulcast on two different networks. Because NBC held the rights to the AFL games, and CBS held the rights to the NFL games, the decision was made to have both networks cover the game.

TRIVIA: The announcers for each network were Ray Scott, Jack Whitaker, and Frank Gifford (CBS) and Curt Gowdy and Paul Christman (NBC).

The halftime show was also a bit subdued compared to future Super Bowls. Instead of a big-named superstar like Justin Timberlake, Madonna, or this year's performer, Beyonce Knowles, the first halftime performer for the Super Bowl was...a trumpet player?

Yes, American trumpeter Al Hirt entertained the crowd at the first ever Super Bowl, along with the marching bands for both the University of Arizona and Grambling State University.

Now, onto the game itself.

During the entire game, both official balls were used. Whenever the Chiefs were on offense, the AFL ball was used, and vice versa. The officiating team was made up of a combination of AFL and NFL referees (The NFL's Norm Schacther was the head referee).

First Quarter: Green Bay scores the first touchdown in the game, making the score 7-0. The last play of the first quarter involved quarterback Bart Starr of the Packers throwing a pass to reserve receiver Max McGee, filling in for an injured Boyd Dowler. McGee slipped past Chiefs comeback Willie Mitchell, making a one-handed catch at the 23 line, taking off for a 37-yard touchdown reception. On the opposing side, the Chiefs succeeded in moving the ball to Green Bay's 33-yard-line on their ensuing drive, yet a 40-yard field goal was missed by kicker Mike Mercer.

Second Quarter: Kansas City marched 66 yards in 6 plays, which featured a 31-yard reception by receiver Otis Taylor. He made a 7-yard pass to Curtis McClinton from quarterback Len Dawson, tying the game 7-7. The Packers came back from that by orchestrating the team's “Power Sweep” play, advancing 73 yards down the field, scoring on Jim Taylor's 14-yard drive. Though Dawson was sacked for an 8-yard loss on the first play of the Chiefs next drive, he made up for it with four consecutive completions for 58 yards. By the end of the second half, thanks to a field goal performed by Mercer, the score leading into halftime was 14-10 in favour of the Packers. With a game being that close at halftime, it was believed that the Chiefs could easily come back and win it all.

Third Quarter: After halftime, the Chiefs advanced to their own 49-yard line. But on the third down pass play, linebackers Dave Robinson and Lee Roy Caffey rushed Dawson's throw, and the ball was intercepted by Willie Wood, who returned it 50 yards to Kansas City's 5-yard line. It ended up being, as described by Green Bay quarterback Bart Starr, “the biggest play of the game”.

Sure enough, the Chiefs were not able to recover from this move. In the third quarter, Green Bay players Elijah Pitts and Max McGee scored touchdowns, bringing the score up to 28-10. In the final quarter of the game, Elijah Pitts scored yet another touchdown for Green Bay, with the final score being...


The Packers were each paid a salary of $15,000 for winning the first Super Bowl. But the Chiefs didn't do so badly either, taking home a salary of $7,500. The postgame trophy presentation ceremony after the game was over was presented by Pat Summerall for CBS and George Ratterman for NBC...with Summerall and Ratterman forced to share the same microphone!

The MVP of the first Super Bowl was Green Bay's Bart Starr.

So, as you can see, the Super Bowl was a simple affair back in 1967. It was broadcast at a time before multi-million dollar commercials, before the elaborate stage performances at halftime, before the time when people flocked the supermarkets stocking up on chicken wings and potato chips. It was just simple and honest football. And, yet, for the people who watched the first Super Bowl, they still managed to have fun!

Now, here's the tragedy of it all. While most of the Super Bowl games are now preserved on videotape and kept in archives for future reference, the same treatment was not given to Super Bowl I. It is widely believed that almost all known broadcast tapes of the Super Bowl were wiped clean, and lost forever. Apparently, network executives believed that the Super Bowl was going to be a one-trick pony, so to speak, and both CBS and NBC agreed to delete the tapes so that they could be used in other projects. After all, the process known as videotaping was quite expensive back in 1967.

Despite this setback, sports historians have searched the world high and low for any sort of surviving footage from the very first Super Bowl. Footage of Max McGee's opening touchdown and Jim Taylor's first touchdown was located and broadcast in the 1991 HBO special “Play by Play: A History of Sports Television”.

And, it was reported in January 2011 that a recording of the CBS broadcast of the game was located in a Pennsylvania attic, and that the quality of the broadcast was restored by the Paley Center for Media in New York. The tape didn't contain the whole game – the halftime show and the majority of the third quarter was missing – but it is believed to be the most complete broadcast of the game ever found.

It seems hard to believe that the Super Bowl will now be celebrating its 47th edition. This year, the game is being played at the Mercedez-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana, and will be broadcast February 3, 2013. As far as the teams playing go, we're still not sure. But it will be two of the following four for certain;


Good luck to all four teams!

And, that was our look at January 15, 1967!

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