NFL at 100: Packers beat Chiefs in first Super Bowl
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NFL at 100: Packers beat Chiefs in first Super Bowl

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs had no way of knowing what the Super Bowl would become when they met at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Jan. 15, 1967. All they knew was they didn't like each other much.

The NFL had for years successfully fended off rival leagues, but the AFL came along — founded by Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt and his buddies in the "Foolish Club" — with proven staying power. Eventually the two leagues would merge, but first came a matchup between their respective champions.

The teams from the NFL, including the Packers, were out to prove their dominance in professional football. Their counterparts from the AFL came in with a considerable chip on their shoulders.

"They called us a Mickey Mouse league," recalled Chiefs linebacker Bobby Bell, one of 14 players to take the field that day who would land in the Hall of Fame. "We're like, 'Hey man, wait a minute. We're not Mickey Mouse. We put our uniforms on just like everybody else.'"

The Chiefs proved that at the start, playing perhaps the best team from Packers coach Vince Lombardi's dynasty to a near-stalemate in the first half. But things turned in the third quarter, when Willie Wood picked off Chiefs quarterback Len Dawson and nearly returned it for a touchdown.

Packers quarterback Bart Starr, the game's MVP, called it "the biggest play of the game."

Elijah Pitts scored on the very next play to extend the Green Bay lead to 21-10, and the shaken Chiefs never got back on track. Max McGee caught his second touchdown pass later in the third quarter, and Pitts scored his second touchdown in the fourth to clinch a 35-10 victory.

"We said going into halftime, 'We can beat these guys, you know?' the Packers' Hall of Fame offensive lineman, Jerry Kramer, told NFL Network for a special on the 100 greatest games in history. "The first half was almost even and we got sobered up at halftime and got about our business."

The game was played before a crowd of 61,946, leaving thousands of empty seats in the cavernous Coliseum, though an estimated 51 million viewers tuned into the broadcast shown simultaneously by CBS and NBC. Both networks later erased the game footage, which was pieced together a few years ago.

The halftime entertainment that mild January day in Southern California? Not the Beatles or The Rolling Stones or even The Beach Boys with their smooth surfer vibe but the marching bands from the University of Arizona and Grambling State University.

Much has changed over the years. Tickets for the Super Bowl go for thousands of dollars, if you can find any for sale, and the broadcast of the game is the centerpiece of parties all over North America.

The halftime show for February's game in Miami? Jennifer Lopez and Shakira.

As the Packers and Chiefs prepare to meet again Sunday night at Arrowhead Stadium, here's a look at how that first Super Bowl affected each franchise in subsequent seasons:

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