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January 2017

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U.S. Census Bureau History: Super Bowl I

Vince Lombardi at First Superbowl

Vince Lombardi speaks to a referee while coaching the Green Bay Packers
to victory during Super Bowl I on January 15, 1967.

Photo courtesy of the Herald-Examiner Collection / Los Angeles Public Library.

The first Super Bowl—Super Bowl I— was held on January 15, 1967. Known at the time as the American Football League (AFL)-National Football League (NFL) World Championship Game, the 1967 championship game pitted the Green Bay Packers against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Although "professional" football dates to about 1892, the first end-of-season championship game of professional teams grew out of the rivalry between competing football leagues in the 1960s. Beginning in 1960, the NFL (organized following meetings in Canton, OH, as the American Professional Football Association) found itself competing with the newly established AFL. The two leagues vied for the same players, which forced teams to increase payrolls and incentives while the increased number of teams diluted the fanbase.

Faced with falling revenues and a finite amount of new talent each year, the two leagues began secretly discussing the possibility of a merger. On June 8, 1966, NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle announced the merger, which created a 24-team league (with additional teams added in subsequent years) and a combined player draft. As part of the deal, each league's champion would meet in an annual championship game to crown the "world champion" of American football at the end of the season. Seven months later, the NFL champion Green Bay Packers and the AFL champion Kansas City Chiefs squared off at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, in Los Angeles, CA.

The NFL's Green Bay Packers, coached by Vince Lombardi and AFL's Kansas City Chiefs, coached by Hank Stram, appeared evenly matched after the first two quarters. Heading to the locker rooms at halftime, the Packers led 14–10.

Following halftime entertainment provided by trumpeter Al Hirt and the University of Arizona Marching Band Link to a non-federal Web site, the opening Kansas City drive came to an abrupt halt when the Packers' safety Willie Wood intercepted a Chief's pass for a 50-yard return and set up an Elijah Pitts touchdown. The Packers would dominate the second half to win Super Bowl I, 35–10. The next year, quarterback Bart Starr led Green Bay to a second, decisive Super Bowl II victory against the Oakland Raiders. Two years later, the Kansas City Chiefs were finally Super Bowl IV champions after beating the Minnesota Vikings. On February 5, 2017, NRG Stadium in Houston, TX, will host Super Bowl LI.

You can learn more about football and the Super Bowl using data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau and other federal agencies. For example:

  • William "Pudge" Heffelfinger became the first "professional" football player when the Allegheny Athletic Association paid him $500 to play in a November 12, 1892, game against the Pittsburgh Athletic Club. In May 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that the median salary for athletes and sports competitors in the United States was $44,680.
  • Vince Lombardi coached the Green Bay Packers to Super Bowl I victory in 1967. The Packers lineup included quarterback and Super Bowl I "Most Valuable Player" Bart Starr, Fred "Fuzzy" Thurston, Henry Jordan, Willie Davis, Boyd Dowler, Carroll Dale, Jim Taylor, Elijah Pitts, Jerry Kramer, Forrest Gregg, Marv Fleming, Bill Curry, Lee Roy Caffey.
  • Hank Stram coached the Kansas City Chiefs during Super Bowl I. The Chief's lineup included quarterback Len Dawson, Mike Garrett, Curtis McClinton, Otis Taylor, Fred Arbanas, Jerry Mays, Buck Buchanan, Sherrill Headrick, and Jim Tyrer.
  • The Green Bay Packers football team got its name from the Indian Packing Company—a Green Bay, WI, canned meat processor—that sponsored the team after its founding by Earl "Curly" Lambeau and George W. Calhoun on August 11, 1919. In that year, Wisconsin was home to 49 slaughtering and meat packing establishments employing 3,462. In 2012, 139 Animal Slaughtering and Processing establishments (NAICS 31161) employing 17,256 in Wisconsin.
  • Lamar Hunt founded the AFL and Dallas Texans football team in 1960 after the NFL refused his request to establish a second team in Dallas, TX. The Texans shared Cotton Bowl Stadium with the Dallas Cowboys until Hunt relocated his team to Kansas City, MO, in 1963. He renamed the team the Kansas City Chiefs to honor Kansas City Mayor Harold Roe Bartle whose nickname was "The Chief."
  • Green Bay Packers fans have embraced the once derogatory "Cheesehead" nickname and frequently wear cheese-shaped hats to games. The nickname pays tribute to Wisconsin's dairy industry, which produced more than 3 billion pounds of cheese in 2015. According to the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board Link to a non-federal Web site, Wisconsin is responsible for 26 percent of the nation's cheese production, leading California (21 percent), Idaho (8 percent) and New York (7 percent).
  • Kansas City Chiefs fans—known collectively as the "Sea of Red"—set a new world record Link to a non-federal Web site for the loudest stadium on September 29, 2014. Surpassing the Seattle Seahawks' record at CenturyLink Field of 136.6 decibels. Arrowhead Stadium fans registered 142.2 decibels—as loud as a jet engine at take off!
  • According to the 2012 Economic Census, there were 226 paper manufacturing establishments (NAICS 322) in Wisconsin employing 28,557. The state led the nation with a total value of paper shipments worth nearly $1.7 billion. Green Bay, WI, considers itself the "Toilet Paper Capital of the World." The city's Northern Paper Company produced the first splinter-free toilet paper in 1935. Today, Georgia-Pacific's Link to a non-federal Web site Green Bay operations employ approximately 2,300 employees producing many popular brands of toilet paper.
  • Kansas City, MO, has a sizeable German and Irish population. In 2014, the American Community Survey reported that 17.3 percent of the city's population were of German ancestry and 11.4 percent were Irish.
  • Between the 1960 and 1970 censuses, the population of Green Bay, WI grew from 62,888 to 87,809. The population of Kansas City, MO, grew from 475,539 to 507,087. In 2015, the Census Bureau estimated the cities' populations were 105,207 and 475,378, respectively. Los Angeles, CA—Super Bowl I's host city— was the nation's third largest city (behind New York, NY, and Chicago, IL), growing from 2,479,015 in 1960 to 2,816,061 in 1970. In 2015, Los Angeles was the nation's second largest city (behind New York, NY), with an estimated population of 3,971,883.

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, in Los Angeles, CA, was the venue for the first American Football League (AFL)-National Football
League (NFL) Championship Game—Super Bowl I—on January 15, 1967. The Green Bay Packers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs, 35–10.

Photo courtesy of the County of Los Angeles.

Contemplation of Justice Statue
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This Month in Census History

On January 25, 1999 Link to a non-federal Web site, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Title 13, U.S. Code prohibited the use of sampling to apportion the U.S. House of Representatives.

Apportionment aside, the Court ruling does allow data to be statistically adjusted for other purposes.

Photo courtesy of the Architect of the Capital.

Wilson Football
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Sporting Goods

Since 1955, the Wilson Sporting Goods Factory in Ada, OH, has made as many as 4,000 footballs daily (more than 700,000 annually) for the National Football League.

According to the 2012 Economic Census, the United States was home to 1,629 Sporting and Athletic Goods manufacturing establishments (NAICS 33992) that employed 36,968 people.

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Did You Know?

The March 3, 1919 Act Providing for the Fourteenth Census moved Census Day in 1920 to January 1. Congress hoped moving the date away from the growing season would improve collection of agriculture data.

Since the 1930 Census, the Census Bureau has recorded the population as of April 1.

Visit https://www.census.gov/history every month for the latest Census History Home Page!

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Census History Staff | Last Revised: December 08, 2021