The Kansas City Chiefs will clash heads with the San Francisco 49ers at Super Bowl LIV at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida this Sunday. More than a half-century earlier, the Chiefs lost 35-10 to the Green Bay Packers at the inaugural Super Bowl I at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
If fans wanted to review that game for historical purposes, they’ve largely been out of luck. Both CBS and NBC, which broadcast the event simultaneously, erased over their tapes to make room for soap operas, which was not an uncommon practice at the time. But a tape of the game does exist. And if you really want to see it, it looks like you’ll have to shell out a few bucks for the required effort.
According to the Wall Street Journal, a Kickstarter has been created to raise money for the fees associated with getting the privately owned tape from out under the thumb of the NFL and into circulation. Originally discovered in an attic in Shamokin, Pennsylvania in 2005, the tape—or tapes, as the game was recorded over two Quadruplex cassettes—is nearly complete, save for halftime and a portion of the third quarter.
A man named Martin Haupt recorded the game. His son, Troy Haupt, a nurse anesthetist, heard about a Sports Illustrated story valuing the “lost” game at $1 million and dug out the tapes. Haupt has long tried and failed to negotiate with the NFL to release the footage. They offered him $30,000, which he declined. In 2016, the NFL Network aired a cobbled-together version of the game using footage NFL Films captured with their own crew.
The NFL has asserted it owns the copyrighted content and has warned Haupt against doing anything with it. The coveted recording resides at the Paley Center for Media in Manhattan, the victim of a legal stand-off.
That’s where the Kickstarter comes in. Jeremy Coon, a filmmaker who produced 2004’s Napoleon Dynamite, and partner Tim Skousen are raising $50,000 for a documentary about the tape. But if the campaign meets a stretch goal of $1.5 million, Coon claims he will purchase the tape from Haupt for $750,000 and release it online for everyone to see. He also asserts he would use $100,000 toward any prospective legal fees incurred from the NFL challenging the release. The filmmakers believe the NFL has only a shaky claim to copyright because they have no physical copy of the footage.
Will crowdsourced demand be able to outwit the legal might of the NFL? That remains to be seen. The campaign, which now sits at nearly $10,000, runs through February 15.
[h/t Wall Street Journal]