I feel bad about hyping the NFL Network's broadcast of Super Bowl I on Friday night. It really sounded like it was going to be something great--a replay of the "lost broadcast" of the first AFL-NFL Championship game--which had "never been seen since the day of the game" was finally going to be presented in all its classic glory. And then when you tuned in for the 3-hour broadcast--it was a total disaster.
First off, we thought this was going to be the actual game broadcast--like people in 1967 saw on their TV's. I know much has been made about how CBS and NBC wiped the original videotapes--but there is a copy of the broadcast that was discovered in a guy's attic a few years back. There had been a legal battle between the family that owned the tape and the NFL over copyright and broadcast issues--but I thought that maybe that had been worked out and we were going to see that video. Instead, it was actually NFL Films footage of the contest--much of which we have seen already.
And then, we were all led to believe that the game would be shown like an original broadcast--with play-by-play from one of the networks. And while there was what sounded like one of the radio calls--NFL Network decided that it was going to have a team of "analysts" TALK OVER THE TOP OF PRETTY MUCH THE ENTIRE THING!!! On Twitter, some were calling it the "worst episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 ever". The only time anybody shut up was when there was a scoring play or a turnover. And since none of the "analysts" (except for Steve Mariuci) were alive at the time of the game, they offered absolutely no insight into what we were trying to watch.
For the first ten minutes or so I thought "Maybe this is some 'pre-game' thing and they are going to start again with just the original play-by-play". But no, the inane commentary continued. And then I thought, "they said the footage only took 52-minutes--so maybe they are going to replay this in the third hour without all of the blather. But the final hour was nothing more than re-hashing what we just saw with show and tell from Mooch about having his picture taken with Packers players at training camp during the '60's.
And by the way, Fred "The Hammer" Williamson can take his "we didn't think they were that great" attitude and shove it. If you didn't know the outcome of the game already, you would have been wondering why he wasn't wearing his Super Bowl I Champions ring on the set. "The Hammer" probably demanded that he not be on set for the play where he got knocked out and had to be carried off on a stretcher. Fortunately, Mike Garrett was far more gracious and respectful.
Again, I apologize for getting anyone excited to watch the "Lost Game"--since it didn't turn out to be anything special. This now replaces the Star Wars prequel trilogy for "Most Disappointing Entertainment Experience Ever".