Over the last week, NFL Network promoted the finding of “lost” Super Bowl I footage. This was not the lost tape of the CBS broadcast which was found in a Pennsylvannia man’s attic in 2005 and is now being housed at the Paley Center in New York. It was actually NFL Films footage. No matter, Super Bowl I had not been seen its entirety since the original airing on January 15, 1967 on CBS and NBC. Friday, NFL Network aired a broadcast of Super Bowl I culled from NFL Films footage called “Super Bowl I: The Lost Game,” promising a reconstructed game between the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs with a recording of the NBC Radio call with Jim Simpson and George Ratterman.
In an article in the New York Times, a producer for NFL Network promised, “We’ll make sure we don’t ruin anything with the chatter.” Well, apparently after that article was published, NFL Network decided that chatter is exactly what America needed for the Super Bowl I broadcast. Choosing to downplay the footage and the Jim Simpson call, NFL Network elected to have host Chris Rose carry the broadcast with a panel of six analysts including Steve Mariucci, Steve Wyche, Willie McGinest and Elliot Harrison. Instead of allowing the audience to hear the NBC Radio broadcast overlaid on top of the NFL Films footage, viewers heard the NFL Network panel talk over the footage with a few instances to listen to Simpson.
It went like this for most of the broadcast which lasted for three hours. It was a big disappointment for viewers who were hoping to see what the fuss over the lost footage was about. There were interviews with former Chiefs players like Len Dawson, Mike Garrett and Fred Williamson, but those segments were interspersed with the talk from the panel. Those studio segments went too long and failed to add any perspective to the game. Asides from Mariucci who grew up a Packers fan and watched Super Bowl I and Steve Wyche, none of the panel could give any personal historical anecdotes. In addition, NFL Network did a screen showing SB I footage in one box, a smaller box in the upper right hand corner showing the panel and below that, some tweets or facts about the broadcast.
NFL Network did add a scorebug that appeared at times over the footage, but that only made rare appearances. Overall, the Super Bowl I program turned out to be a three-hour highlight program rather than a re-broadcast of the NFL Films footage and it evolved into a chat fest between Rose and the analysts. After being quite excited to see what NFL Network had promised to be a look at the lost footage, it resulted in what could have easily been confused for a local cable access discussion.
Newsday’s Neil Best noted one interesting tidbit about the NFL Network program:
.@nflnetwork just discussed missing TV tapes of Super Bowl I without saying nearly complete version of CBS telecast is at @paleycenter. Odd.
— Neil Best (@sportswatch) January 16, 2016
Viewers deserved better than what NFL Network offered and instead were insulted by producers who felt Americans weren’t smart enough to watch the footage without interruptions. So as a public service, Awful Announcing will offer you the opportunity to hear what you missed from the NFL Network program, the NBC Radio broadcast of Super Bowl I in its entirety, interspersed with some archival footage and action stills which you can enjoy at your own leisure.
Should the NFL obtain the actual tape of Super Bowl I and decide to re-air it, hopefully it will get better treatment than what the NFL Films footage received on Friday.
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