Cam Cole: Super Bowl history filled with brash talk even if access has shrunk while ticket prices have grown

 

 
 
 
 
Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos talks with Marshall Faulk at Super Bowl Opening Night Fueled by Gatorade at SAP Center on February 1, 2016 in San Jose, California.
 
 

Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos talks with Marshall Faulk at Super Bowl Opening Night Fueled by Gatorade at SAP Center on February 1, 2016 in San Jose, California.

Photograph by: Ezra Shaw, Getty Images

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San Francisco — Accounts of the early Super Bowls occasionally sound like they were taken from hieroglyphics found on the walls of caves.

The first commissioner’s state-of-the-league news conference was held in Pete Rozelle’s hotel room, with a handful of scribes? Sure, sure. And they were chiseling out their yarns on stone tablets, right?

Reporters wandering out to the pool at the New York Jets’ team hotel in Miami to sit down and interview quarterback Joe Namath, reclining on a deck chair a couple days before Super Bowl III? Come on, where was security? What did the other 2,000 accredited writers do?

But that’s how head-scratchingly normal the first championship games of American professional football look from the vantage point of 50 years on.

Tickets cost as little as $6 to get into L.A. Memorial Coliseum for the first one, the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League versus the newly-merged AFL Kansas City Chiefs, and still 30,000 seats went unsold.

The lowest-priced ticket for Sunday’s 50th Super Bowl is $3,000 --- that’s roughly a million Canadian, give or take --- and you have to know somebody who knows somebody to get one, and it’s not even being held in an NFL city unless you consider Santa Clara (“Santa Clare” as Roger Goodell called it Friday) part of San Francisco.

The host city of the first Super Bowl, though the game wasn’t even known by that name at the time, was touted as “the sports capital of the world.”

Friday, at Goodell’s news conference, the NFL commissioner called Los Angeles “the entertainment capital of the world” --- wisely deciding not to press the sports aspect too much, considering it has trundled along quite nicely without an NFL franchise for more than two decades.

But some story lines, happily, remain very much the same.

You could plunk Denver Broncos’ old-school quarterback Peyton Manning down in L.A. 50 years ago, put Bart Starr’s green-and-gold No. 15 on his back --- or Baltimore QB Earl Morrall’s, for that matter --- and the only notable differences would be all of Peyton’s hand-signalling and audibles and instead of “hut-hut-hut” you’d hear “Omaha!” before the snap.

You think Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton is brash? Five days before Super Bowl III, Namath was attending a Miami Touchdown Club banquet at which someone in the crowd shouted “the Colts are going to kick your ass!”

Namath said into the microphone: “Hey, I got news for you. We’re going to win Sunday, I’ll guarantee you.”

And then he went out and won the game’s MVP award, a thing Newton could very well do Sunday, minus the guarantee but with a lot more dancing.

The first Super Bowl, accordin