He joined some ol' friends in the annual observance of what the late Pete Rozelle turned into almost a national holiday: Super Bowl Sunday. Among those gathered for this gridiron gala were folks the ol' one has known for nigh on to 30 years or more.
In fact, some of us as young shavers used to play our own version of the Super Bowl (even before its inception in the mind of Pete Rozelle) nearly every Saturday afternoon over at the playground near the ol' one's ancestral home up there in northeast Philadelphia. Of course, we had little or no equipment, but the bones back then were highly pliable and forgivable.
Except for the one time when our friend John of Griffith Street, the only one of us who played football in high school, delivered a clean block on our friend Ralph of Leonard Street.
Ralph was a thin, wiry, speedster kind of guy until he met up with John's block. Wound up wearing a cast on one of his legs (ol' Morgan can't recall which one) for about six weeks!
To our parents' credit, John felt a lot of remorse over what had happened out there that day at the ol' Solly playground.
But he wasn't exactly feeling remorse over the outcome of some casual football pool-like betting that was going on during our Bowl gathering up there at Nancy's home in northeast Philadelphia. His wife walked away with $49 from one of those grids that ties in with the final score.
If you're keeping score, this Bowl was the thirty-sixth annual call of the football wild. Commercials were costing advertisers almost $2 million per 30-second spot. Considering the national TV audience was somewhere near 130 million, that comes out to a prorated cost of about 15.3 cents per viewer. Not bad if you can find a cool $2 million to broadcast your message. And, Pepsi even simulated one of their commercials from the '60s when we were told to "think young" in black and white! (Hah! Remember when Pepsi gave you "more bounce to the ounce?") Ol' Morgan wonders why they couldn't come up with the original footage instead of using that trollop Britney Spears in a number of scenarios.
The ol' one got to thinking about that first Super Bowl when Green Bay played Kansas City in the Los Angeles Coliseum. It was the first time that an American Football League team played one of the established National Football League teams to determine pro football supremacy, and, as a young shaver, the ol' one was up for it.
While the rest of the family watched in the living room, he laid claim to the nifty black-and-white portable TV in the kitchen. Not being a fan of Green Bay, the ol' one was ecstatic when the Kansas City defense sacked the legendary Bart Starr twice during the first series of downs. So much so that Dad had to check in on the young shaver to see if the kitchen were still intact. However, the Packers dispatched the Chiefs, 35-10.
Before there ever was a super bowl, watching the Eagles in living black-and-white on Sunday afternoons was something of a ritual. The ol' one will never forget the urgency with which Dad had arranged for us-the ol' one, his cousin, and his uncle-to watch the Eagles go up against the Packers in the 1960 NFL championship game which was played in the cold of Franklin Field in Philadelphia.
The only way we could view it was on a New York TV station. We didn't get "New York TV," but the neighbors two doors down did. That's the same place where we welcomed in a few New Years. So, we ambled across the lawns of snow and sat down in the warmth of Walt and Jenny Jurkiewicz's living room and watched the Eagles including Norm VanBrocklin, Tommy McDonald, and Concrete "Chollie" Bednarik prevail, 17-13.
And we watched it on "New York TV!" Back in those days, a bar or taproom was worth its weight in hops if it could put up a sign that said, "We get New York TV." Today, walk into a watering hole and you'll get not only New York but also New Orleans, New Mexico, New Britain, New Brunswick, and any other place where a collegiate or professional sports event is taking place.
Over the wireless came news that another line of those sneakers named after Michael Jordan are about to debut at a cost of $200! Let's see, calculated at a cost per foot, that comes to $100 each. Wonder if it includes some kind of long-term warranty.