This Sunday, the NFL will celebrate 50 years of Super Bowl history. But a full video recording of the game that started it all, Super Bowl I, is one piece of football history you shouldn’t expect to see anytime soon. That’s because instead of sitting in the NFL’s archives, original tapes of the 1967 matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Green Bay Packers are currently being kept in storage in upstate New York.
Troy Haupt, a 47-year-old anesthetist, is the owner of the only full video recording of the first Super Bowl known to exist, according to The New York Times. Haupt's estranged father Martin recorded CBS’s broadcast in 1967, though his son and ex-wife wouldn’t learn of the tapes until years later. Martin passed on the tapes to Troy's mother shortly before dying of cancer. The family didn’t give them much thought until 2005, when Troy got a call from a childhood friend informing of him of the video’s potential value. Because neither CBS nor NBC had saved copies of their broadcasts, the Super Bowl footage was considered to be a “lost treasure” and estimated by Sports Illustrated to be worth $1 million.
Since then, Haupt and his lawyers have been struggling to sell the tapes to the NFL for their full value, but so far their attempts have been unsuccessful. After they requested $1 million for the footage, the league countered with an offer of $30,000. They haven’t raised their offer since and even threatened to sue Haupt if he sold the tapes to anyone else. The disagreement puts Haupt and his lawyers in a bind. While he owns the recording, the NFL owns the content, which prevents him from selling it to anyone else.
Haupt has remained anonymous for years, but he came close to sharing his story on CBS ahead of this season’s Super Bowl. The network was prepared to give him $25,000 and two tickets to the big game for him to star in a pre-game feature. The segment would have also included clips from the original broadcast, but according to Haupt's lawyer, the deal fell apart after the NFL told CBS not to pay him. (An NFL spokeperson told The New York Times that the league wasn't involved in the decision.)
The only full broadcast of Super Bowl I may remain in storage for years to come, but this hasn’t stopped the NFL from trying to recreate the footage on their own. Last month, NFL Network aired an edit of Super Bowl I by stitching together clips of every play. The initial broadcast received heavy criticism for adding in retrospective analysis as filler. The network responded by re-airing the game the following week with no commentary other than the original radio broadcast.
[h/t The New York Times]