On January 15, 1967, much about professional football changed. Perhaps everything, except for the dominance of Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers.
The Packers, the 1966 NFL champions, played in the first-ever Super Bowl in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum against the Kansas City Chiefs, the AFL champions.
It was the only Super Bowl not to sell out, as many considered a Packers win to be an afterthought.
Jerry Kramer, the five-time All-Pro guard for the Packers, started at right guard in that contest that, at the time, was not considered the biggest of games.
“It really wasn’t that big a deal. It was a championship and it meant $15,000…doubled and half-again our years’ salary,” said Kramer in a past interview on WTMJ.
“This was our fourth championship. It was not like the first time.”
The Packers had just defeated the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL Title Game and were facing the AFL champions for the first time. It was considered an inferior league compared to NFL standards.
“We didn’t know who the Kansas City Chiefs were,” explained Kramer.
“We were watching the films one night and saw two of their safeties collide…we started giggling like were watching Looney Tunes.”
Yet Coach Lombardi was not exactly humorous with his description of the game, because of pressure he was receiving from the top level of the NFL.
“Coach Lombardi was nervous. He was very nervous,” said Kramer.
“It isn’t enough to beat them. You have to humiliate them.”
The Chiefs gave Green Bay a battle in the first half, but the combination of Bart Starr’s passing to hangover-and-sleep-deprived backup wide receiver Max McGee, the Lombardi sweep-based running game and the NFL’s top defense led to a 35-10 triumph and an indisputable world championship.
Little did they know that the Packers’ victory came in a game that would dominate the American sports landscape, and become possibly the most watched annually-held league championship game in the world.