Newspaper article International New York Times

Its Video Once Thought Lost, Super Bowl I to Be Shown

Newspaper article International New York Times

Its Video Once Thought Lost, Super Bowl I to Be Shown

Article excerpt

The broadcast should please and surprise anyone who thought copies of the game had been lost, erased or turned to video dust.

NFL Network will show Super Bowl I on Friday night, which should please and surprise anyone who thought copies of the game had been lost, erased or turned to video dust.

In resurrected form, it is a relic of the time before Super Bowl excess: a daytime game, contested in a stadium with swaths of empty seats, televised by CBS and NBC, and played by men of reasonable dimensions, at least by today's standards. It featured the Grambling College marching band at halftime -- and a bizarre second-half kickoff that had to be rebooted because NBC was late returning to the first one from a commercial break.

And it had a few Packers on the sideline happy to see Fred Williamson, the loudmouth Chiefs cornerback, laid out on the field and carried away in a stretcher.

But this is not an original broadcast from Jan. 15, 1967; no complete copy of either network's production appears to exist.

Instead, it is a version stitched together by NFL Films from its archive -- every play of the Packers' 35-10 victory over the Chiefs is included (as is the original radio call by Jim Simpson and George Ratterman). The huddles and other extraneous moments that NFL Films shot have been cut out. Some of the footage will be familiar to viewers from other NFL Films programs -- that one-handed touchdown catch by the Packers' Max McGee is certainly well known -- but much of the original film has remained in hibernation. There simply hasn't been a big demand to revive the game, despite the historic meeting of the A.F.L. and N.F.L. champions and the presence of Packers Coach Vince Lombardi, a symbol of N.F.L. power.

"The game has been viewed historically as a one-sided affair," said David Plaut, a senior producer at NFL Films. But the approach of Super Bowl 50 next month prompted the league to ordain that the inaugural game in the series be reconstructed.

"I was surprised that we had the full game," Plaut said. He said he thought it was unlikely that every shot had survived 49 years, especially because in the early days of NFL Films, sequences that were used in various NFL Films programming were sometimes lost forever. …

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