Today is Super Bowl Sunday. I love the Super Bowl because I get to watch the two best teams in professional football play each other.
However, I do not like the hype that begins weeks before the game and, like music in a symphony, swells to a crescendo that peaks during some insane show at halftime. The game itself has become secondary to celebrations and media hype.
A big part of game day is clever TV commercials. Personally, while I like clever TV commercials, I don’t really want to watch the Budweiser Clydesdale horses kick field goals. I would rather watch the game.
This year, we have an extra distraction to the game — Deflategate. Supposedly, the New England Patriots played the division playoff game two weeks ago with balls that had about 2 pounds less pressure than league rules dictate. OK, I understand that the game footballs should have standard air pressure, and the issue should be investigated and, if there was wrongdoing, discipline should be applied. It’s just that simple.
However, Deflategate has been “breaking” news for two weeks. Every TV network news anchor, blogger, newspaper sportswriter, sports analyst, retired coach and anybody else that has ever touched a football, has an opinion about the inflation issue. I say, “On with the game and let the NFL deal with it later.”
For those of you now reading this, I’m sure you are wondering why I am ranting about the Super Bowl and associated trivia and not discoursing on Napa in days of old.
Actually, what prompted it was the realization that publication of my biweekly article and the Super Bowl were happening on the same day. So I decided to write about both. I would discuss today’s game, then go back in time to the first Super Bowl 48 years ago and relate it to what was happening in the world and in Napa at that time.
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The game was played in January 1967 between the Green Bay Packers, champions of the National Football League, and the Kansas City Chiefs, champions of the American Football League. It was titled World Championship Game and not the Super Bowl. It was not until the 1969 game that the name “Super Bowl” was used.
At the time of the inaugural game in 1967, the U.S. was becoming more deeply involved in Vietnam while elsewhere in the world there were no shooting wars or rampant terrorism.”
However the U.S. and the USSR were vying for world supremacy in what was called the Cold War. The Iron Curtain and Berlin Wall were firmly in place in Europe and citizens who tried to cross them to the west were shot. The Russians invaded and occupied Czechoslovakia at about that time and America was getting deeply involved in the Vietnam conflict.
The city of Napa was in a growth mode in 1967. The population was about 30,000, and the city fathers were involved in downtown redevelopment — a program that replaced old buildings with parking lots. Many of the downtown merchants were either closing their businesses or moving to the River Park, Bel Air and Freeway shopping centers or to space on North Jefferson Street.
Ed Westgate, a very successful builder and developer, and American Factors (Amfac) Ltd. purchased Silverado Country Club from the original developers and they officially opened what they called Silverado Country Club and Resort in 1967. They were successful in their efforts to attract a Professional Golfers Association (PGA) golf tournament to Napa and the first Kaiser International Golf Tournament, with the best golfers in the world participating, took place in 1968.
Back to the Super Bowl: The first game was played in the Los Angeles Coliseum on Jan. 15, 1967. The Green Bay Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10 and Green Bay quarterback Bart Starr was the MVP.
The game was aired on television, albeit black and white, and I’m sure that many of Napa’s citizens watched it. I was not able to watch, or even listen, to the game because, at that particular time, I was serving in the military in Vietnam. I would rather have been in Napa watching the game.