The NFL Won’t Let Anybody See Only Known Recording of Original Super Bowl I Broadcast

super bowl i original broadcast

A 47-year-old North Carolina man named Troy Haupt owns the only known copy of the original broadcast of Super Bowl I. However, the NFL is doing everything they can to make sure nobody ever sees it.

This may come as a surprise to you, seeing as how the NFL Network broadcasted the first ever replay of Super Bowl I just last month. But you see, that replay was not the original broadcast. It was a compilation. The NFL Network found footage of all 145 plays from over a dozen different sources. Then it remastered them, spliced them together, and added commentary from the NBC radio broadcast of the game.

Neither NBC nor CBS preserved tapes of the original broadcast. They had no idea how big the Super Bowl would become. Back then, in 1967, the game was a novelty.

However, there is one known copy of the original broadcast. A man named Martin Haupt recorded the broadcast on a professional grade video recorder at his place of employment. His ex-wife then saved the tape for decades, and it eventually came into the possession of Haupt’s son, Troy, who offered it to the NFL for the price of $1 million.

Now, that may sound like an exorbitant price. But we’re talking about the only known copy of a rare piece of history that the NFL itself calls “the Holy Grail of sports broadcasts.” Last week some European businessman paid $1.08 million for a photograph of a potato. Surely the NFL would pay a million bucks to get their hands on that tape and preserve it for future generations.

But no. Not only would the NFL not buy the tape, they’re also preventing anyone else from buying it.

According to Haupt, who spoke to the New York Times, the NFL has threatened legal action if he tried to sell the tape to a third party. And they’re also preventing their broadcasting partners from using his footage.

CBS wanted to interview Haupt for a pre-game segment before Super Bowl 50, during which they would play a couple minutes of his footage. For this CBS were going to pay him $25,000 and give him two tickets to the big game. But then the deal fell through.

According to CBS, they nixed the segment “because we couldn’t get the appropriate clearances.” According to Haupt’s lawyer, what that really means is the NFL told CBS to nix the segment.

So basically Haupt is stuck with a very valuable piece of history that we’ll never get to see because the NFL is run by greedy jerks.

Bummer, huh?

Hat Tip – [Deadspin]

Tags: NFL, super bowl, Super Bowl I,