GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV)–From a sentimental standpoint, my generation and almost everyone 50 years or younger has a hard time deciphering the Packers winning the first two Super Bowls from the actual fact that they won three championships in a row. Not to mention the 9 NFL titles prior to that.
The “Ice bowl” victory over the Cowboys has always seemed to overshadow the Packers win over the Raiders in Super Bowl II. The same could be said for that legendary -13 degree affair when it comes to the championship game in 1966 on the road against Dallas, and the Super Bowl I win over Kansas City.
As far as the game itself was concerned, the Chiefs made things interesting in the first half battling to a 14-10 deficit at the break. But from there Green Bay pulled away in the second half and the story of Max McGee is the stuff of legends, after being out all night in Los Angeles.
The Packers backup came in and ended up with 7 catches for 138 yards and 2 touchdowns. And while Bart Starr was the eventual MVP, the sideshow surrounding the game that would lead to a football merger had both leagues pull out every gimmick possible to make it a huge “event”.
From completely new pregame routines and rituals, the band, cheerleaders, all of it. It was the first time football was celebrated at such a national level. In fact, it took them a few years to even combine leagues and that came after Joe Namath and his Jets predicted a win and not only backed it up, but changed the entire scope of professional football forever.
Professional Football has been around for over 100 years in some form or another, and you could go all the way back to the mid-1800s if you really want to trace its foundation. And as the NFL goes through the pomp and circumstance of celebrating a century of moneymaking in the sport, you really have to go way back into the archives to see how it has become the most popular sport in America.
And not just on television.
Even though the rules and fines have changed to protect players on a certain level, the brutal violence, preparation, scheming, and intensity that the game is played with is why the game still draws such a crowd.
The National Football League began with teams like the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears, but the NFL began its ascension with the Packers and the Chiefs in Super Bowl I.
There was the AAFL, and eventually the AFL that provided competition for the NFL, but until the two leagues squared off and decided a true champion, the debate was there throughout the first part on the 1960’s.
And one of the more amazing aspects about that game in January of 1967 was the fact that the power of television was increasing exponentially at that time, and two networks covering it (NBC and CBS).
In the past 25 years of covering the Packers, two games with the Chiefs stand out the most.
When they won the Super Bowl after the 1996 season, Green Bay was 8-1 and on the road in Kansas City in what was clearly the best start to any season since the Lombardi era. But the injury bug hit and Greg Hill had a huge day running over and around the Packers #1 ranked defense. They lost that game 27-20 and followed it up by falling in Dallas the following week. Mike Holmgren and company were able to right the ship while bringing in a few free agents en route to winning Super Bowl 31.
The other Packers-Chiefs game that stands out is the one in 2011 when Green Bay had started the season on fire going 13-0. If you go back to the stretch run the year before, Mike McCarthy’s team had won 19 games in a row. But once again the injury bug hit and not only was starting tackle Derek Sherrod lost for the season with a broken leg, this was the first time that Aaron Rodgers and company had to play without their top WR Greg Jennings due to an MCL injury. Mike McCarthy’s offense was never the same and the Packers were bounced in the opening round of the playoffs by the Giants at home.
Arrowhead Stadium has set the outdoor record for being the loudest place to play in the NFL and after being there as a cameraman on the field in KC? It remains the only place that has ever felt like Lambeau Field when you were either walking through the parking lot, or standing on the field.
The main difference is whether your eating barbecue or bratwurst.
The Packers have won two out of the last three contests in the rivalry but the Chiefs are 6-1-1 prior to that against Green Bay. Tonight another chapter will be written but unfortunately with only one MVP on the field.