How the Super Bowl has evolved over 50 years - | WBTV Charlotte

How the Super Bowl has evolved over 50 years

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Len Dawson (16) looks for an opening, Jan. 15, 1967 in Super Bowl I game against Green Bay Packers, at Los Angeles Califonia's Memorial Coliseum. Other players are unidentified. The Packers won, 35-21. (AP photo) Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Len Dawson (16) looks for an opening, Jan. 15, 1967 in Super Bowl I game against Green Bay Packers, at Los Angeles Califonia's Memorial Coliseum. Other players are unidentified. The Packers won, 35-21. (AP photo)
(CBS News) -

The first Super Bowl hardly captured the nation's attention as the American Football League and the National Football league were unable to sell out the game, but America's biggest game day has evolved dramatically over its 50-year history, reports CBS News correspondent Jeff Glor.

The most famous 60 minutes in sports is the NFL's two last standing teams on the field trying to match the ever-increasing hype off it.

Stars are born and legacies are cemented. It's been a game full of improbable plays and inches can decide the outcome - all for the chance to stand at midfield and kiss the Lombardi Trophy.

But it wasn't always this way. The day before Super Bowl I in January 1967, there was hardly extraordinary hype in Southern California. And the trophy - football's holy grail - sat largely alone and ignored on a conference room table.

The fans brought a decidedly do-it-yourself fashion sense, and the players - let's say they've adjusted in-game routines.

"Len Dawson quarterbacked the Kansas City Chiefs in Super bowl I. There's a shot of Dawson at the LA Coliseum, Super Bowl I, on the sidelines, sitting on the bench smoking a cigarette," said CBS Sports broadcaster Jim Nantz.

The first Super Bowl pitted a team from the National Football League against a team from the now-defunct American Football league. Tickets sold for just $12 and the program cost one dollar, but the seats in the stands were empty. Tom Pratt was there as an assistant coach for the Kansas City Chiefs.

"Well, you know, we didn't know," Pratt said. "We didn't have any idea what to expect from this game."

Today, the 80-year-old is still in the game as a pass rush specialist for the Arizona Cardinals.

At Super Bowl I, he said he had "maybe 30" plays in the play book. That number has now soared to 130.

Far above the field, Jim Nantz is about to set his own record. He called the 50th Final Four, the 50th Masters, and now, the 50th Super Bowl.

"The Super Bowl is must-watch television. It is a happy occasion. America celebrates," Nantz said.

Mike Lodish was the first person to play in six Super Bowls. As a defensive lineman, he lost four Super Bowls with the Bills, then won two with the Broncos. For him, the game has drifted dramatically away from the defense's favor.

"You know, the league wants more offense. The fans want to see touchdowns. You want to see action, and action is being in the end zone and making great plays," Lodish said.

As the game and its players have evolved, so has the coverage. In Super Bowl I, CBS used 11 cameras and introduced "instant replay."

This year, there will be 70 cameras positioned around Levi's Stadium. Also making its Super Bowl debut is the pylon camera that will offer 16 different angles. Imagine the game without other broadcast advances - the first down marker graphic, replays from position and the timeless chalkboard.

And while the game has carved countless sports capstones for the athletes, the same can be said for the people who've covered it.

Now, 50 years in, stadiums are sold out, and quick quips become catch phrases, like when New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms famously said in 1987, "I am going to Disney World!"

And Super Bowl Sunday remains the biggest entertainment event in America.

"The game has always been wonderful. The NFL shield has always been," Lodish said.

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