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The new and the old in football toggery

I am the granddaughter of a football coach and the Super Bowl XLV (45th) is this Sunday (Feb. 6), so I was inspired to write something for the blog about the history of football in the United States. I searched the Library’s online catalog, databases, and browsed the football section of the book stacks hoping to find a unique item or interesting fact that I could highlight for this post.

Boy did I find something cool!

Bart Starr tells how to be an armchair quarterback (1966)

Warning Packer fans: You might find yourself drooling!*

In 1966 Norelco (yes, the electric shaver company) distributed a flip book authorized by the National Football League called Bart Starr Tells How to be an Armchair Quarterback (Starr was the quarterback for the Green Bay Packers from 1956-1971). According to Bart Starr “This unusual book will help make you and your family better NFL ‘Armchair Quarterbacks’ as you watch your favorite teams in action this fall on television.”

This flip book has it all! Not only does it discuss team rosters, coaches, and depth charts, but it also includes a television schedule for the 1966 games, a list of CBS local TV announcers, a history of the NFL, a history of each club, a page on the NFL Hall of Fame, and a page on the 1965 Championship Game highlights. It also includes pages with fun titles such as “What NFL Football Players Wear” and “Eavesdropping on Pro Football Lingo.”  It is chock full of interesting NFL facts.

Here are a few more samples:

  • In 1920 when the American Professional Football Association (renamed National Football League in 1922) formed, the eleven teams that signed up posted $100 each to be part of the franchise. Talk about a return on your investment for those original 11 teams! Forty-five years later the Atlanta Falcons paid $9 million to join the NFL franchise.
  • In 1933, thirty four years before the first Super Bowl, the World Championship Game was established when the NFL split into two conferences- East and West.  Also this was the year that official records and statistics began to be tallied.
  • In 1965 the Green Bay Packers and Cleveland Browns played the World Championship Game. The Packers won and each player received $7,819.91, while Cleveland Browns players received $5,288.83 each.
  • There was a little note highlighted in yellow that read “NFL-AFL Merge” on one of the back pages. The note briefly discussed how this merger would grow the NFL from 15 teams to 26 teams. A brief summary of plans like a championship game in January 1967 was noted- this would become the first Super Bowl, which the Packers won.
  • In 1965, CBS Television Network paid the NFL $43,600,000 for exclusive rights to air the games for the next two years- which included the regular season, the post season, the Championship, the Pro-Bowl, and the Play Off games.
Unique view of a huddle

I realize that this post is Packer-centric and absolutely no disrespect to the Pittsburgh Steelers or their fans is intended. Pittsburgh is a great town and the Steelers are a great franchise.

May the best team win!

* The Packerville blog provides more information about this flip book.

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