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TOYS AND GAMES: First Super Bowl, Mean Joe Greene, Jake McGee

With less than a week until Carolina and Denver meet in Super Bowl 50, the NFL Network aired condensed highlight shows from previous Super Bows.

No, I did not watch all of them. However, I did see the one about the first Super Bowl in 1967 between the Packers and the Chiefs. A couple of things struck me as funny.

While I remember being excited about the game as a kid, others weren’t. Empty seats could be seen everywhere at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum. Shoot, the game wasn’t even called the Super Bowl back then, rather the AFL-NFL World Championship Game.

The players went all out because those on the winning team earned $15,000. Of course the game was a lot different, which could be seen in the style of play. The legal hits taking place in that game resembled what would now be a 15-yard penalty highlight film complete with targeting, piling on and clotheslining.

I also read an article about the first Super Bowl in Sunday’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution. A picture of Len Dawson at halftime of that game accompanied the story. The Chiefs quarterback is captured sitting in a metal chair sucking on a cigarette. A bottle of soda pop rests on the floor between his feet. You could almost read Dawson’s mind: “One more half of football before selling Frigidaires until training camp.”

Flash forward to Sunday at Meneta San Jose Airport where Cam Newton and his teammates arrived. The Panthers quarterback is rocking $850 Versace Barocco Accent Print Jeans.

Times have changed.

“Hey Kid…”

Remember the great “Mean” Joe Greene Coca-Cola commercial where the Steelers great tosses his jersey to a 9-year-old fan after the kid gave him a Coke? Turns out it’s been 40 years since that ad ran. Tuesday night at 8 p.m. ET a video of the pair getting reunited will air on CBS via a Super Bowl’s Greatest Commercials 2016 special. Greene and the now grown-up kid, Tommy Okon, meet at Apogee Stadium in Denton, Texas and reminisce about filming the commercial. The Clio Award-winning commercial actually debuted in October 1979 and aired again during Super Bowl XIV in 1980.

Sorry to see left-hander Jake McGee get traded to the Rockies in the deal that brought outfielder Corey Dickerson to the Rays. I spend a lot of time in the Rays clubhouse, which makes for a lot of conversations about things other than baseball. I get to know some players better than others and Jake became one of my favorites. I’ve seen him grow from a kid who just signed out of high school into one of the best relievers in baseball. I wish him well with the Rockies.

bchastain19@gmail.com

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Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Bobby Ross. The former college and pro football coach led Georgia Tech to a share of the national championship in 1990 and later led the San Diego Chargers

©2020 by Bill Chastain. Photo credits: Jill Doty Photography