Super Bowl LVIII

Published 9:20 am Monday, February 19, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

For those who don’t read Roman Numerals, this past Sunday, the 58th National Football League Championship game was played. We call it the Super Bowl, but it wasn’t always known as that.

For the first time in many decades (and that’s a long time) I watched the game from the beginning to the end. Maybe it was the shoulder surgery that has sidelined me from doing too much, but, generally speaking, I only caught the last portion of the game; just to see who won.

The first championship game and this past Sunday’s game had at least one thing in common. The Kansas City Chiefs. In that January, 1967 game, the Kansas City Chiefs of the American Football League played the most iconic of the National Football League teams, the Green Bay Packers. The Packers won 35-10.

Email newsletter signup

The Packers, of course, were coached by the late, great Vince Lombardi, the coach for whom the championship trophy is named. Green Bay’s hometown team is very unique in that it is the only non-profit, community-owned professional sports team in the United States. They also have won the most NFL championships, 13.

It was thought that the upstart American Football League, which began in 1960, as opposed to the older National Football League, which had begun in 1920 as the American Professional Football League, would take many, many years for the new league to defeat the older one.

The AFL had raided the colleges since their 1960 inception and had caused the salaries of players to skyrocket. In 1965, the New York Jets, of the AFL, drafted an Alabama quarterback by the name of Joe Namath and signed him for the then record sum of $427,000 for three years. Coincidentally, the rival league NFL St. Louis Cardinals had offered Namath a $200,000 contract, plus a new Lincoln Continental.

“Broadway Joe,” as he became known in New York City, was an instant superstar and is most famously known for his “guarantee” that the Jets would beat the Baltimore Colts, who had been dubbed as the “greatest team of all time.” Namath and his Jets won Super Bowl III 16-7 and the race was on to a merger between the two leagues.

Halftime shows have always been entertaining affairs at football games and the Super Bowl began with the traditional shows of outstanding college bands. At the first Super Bowl, the bands from Arizona State and Grambling University performed. It was that way, with occasional tributes to iconic American musical entertainment like Louis Armstrong, Carol Channing, Motown, and the likes for the first two decades.

All that changed in 1993 when the Halftime Show featured the most popular musical person of the day, Michael Jackson. From then on, individuals took over the shows and it even included the sister of Michael Jackson, Janet, and her wardrobe malfunction, if you remember that.

This year it was Rhythm and Blues performer, Usher, who claimed the spotlight. Although I said I watched the game from beginning to end, I took a break from the festivities during the Halftime Show. Just not my cup of tea.

Finally, what would a Super Bowl be without the commercials? To hype a product for thirty seconds this year, the price tag was $7 million dollars! In the past, I have recognized most of the products, but this year was different. Cars and trucks were not represented as they normally are; it was more of products that I didn’t know and still don’t. I guess that’s why I’m not one of the 25-40 year olds that are targeted.

But, I did appreciate the Budweiser Clydesdales. The roads might have been closed to trucking, but the wagon and the huge horses came through. Just can’t get too much of those Clydesdales!