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JERRY GREEN

Green: Now at 50 Super Bowls, it seems impressive

Jerry Green

Jerry Green is one of two journalists — Jerry Izenberg of Newark, N.J., is the other — to cover every Super Bowl.

Santa Clara, Calif. — The bus loaded with the cream of American sports journalism rolled toward the stadium down Figueroa in Los Angeles.

The traffic was light. Most of America could not give a hoot.

Looking out the bus window, I spotted a sign.

“Parking, $5.”

“Wow,” I muttered to one of my colleagues that Sunday morning in 1967. “Pretty expensive.”

“Yeah,” said a friend from New York. “Imagine, they’re charging 12 bucks to see the Super Bowl.”

“Super Bowl?” I said. “They’re calling it the First Annual AFL-NFL World Championship Game. That’s what I’m writing. And I wonder if there’ll be a second annual game.”

At the Coliseum, there were sections of unsold seats. Perhaps the tickets were too expensive for L.A.’s football fans.

Or perhaps they had a sense of foreboding. The game did not offer much in competition. Green Bay whipped Kansas City, 35-10, and now it’s the start of a compelling chunk of sports history.

Nostalgia’s great. I love it.

Sunday morning, the alarm on my cell phone rang twice, exactly as I’d set it when I went early to bed.

I slept through as the phone rang and rang. I think it rang.

Never heard it. Woke up in time to make the first media bus north of here in San Francisco.

I was quick. Showered, dressed — inserted my hearing aids, focused my renewed eyesight given to me via cataract surgery. And I was ready to roll.

Sort of.

A taxi to the NFL’s media center a half-mile or so distant from the Hilton Union Square, the main media hotel.

And onto the third media bus in the cavalcade that would push onward the 39 miles south to Levi’s Stadium and Super Bowl 50.

At last, a siren blasted off and so did our media bus with at least half a dozen motorcycle police officers accompanying us to make certain our bus would not be hijacked. They had to make sure that we — still the cream of American sports journalism, mostly from television or the Internet — would get to Levi’s Stadium safe and sound.

Onward, to Super Bowl 50 when so much of America stopped its normal Sunday routine and turned on the telly. They partied. I’ve now missed 50 consecutive Super Bowl Sunday parties. They watched commercials that would be judged on their attractiveness and appeal, and media outlets would print flowing articles about the best and worst. Even if most of the commercials were air-headed.

Fifty?

The number standing naked by itself is impressive.

It symbolizes a certain longevity — five decades, half a century. For me, it represents timing and survival — two elements of good fortune that I did not control. It encapsules a career lifetime achievement — and, I hope, it continues onward.

The parking fees for Super Bowl 50 via StubHub were $390 and higher.

Wow! Pretty expensive.

Ball was super first

The face value printed on the tickets, $850 to $1,800. But they were being resold and resold with lowest prices about $3,000 to above $10,000 for a prime ticket.

All for a game that could — or could not be — super.

Five decades ago, it took three years for the haughty NFL to attach the term Super Bowl to this annual event.

That was one of Lamar Hunt’s contributions.

Hunt was the owner of the Chiefs, an architect of the 1966 shotgun wedding that would merge two enemy leagues and create a Super Bowl.

“Our kids had a rubber ball that bounced way up above us when it was thrown on the floor,” Norma Hunt, widow of Lamar, said the other day. “He asked what it was called and they said a Superball.”

A light flashed in the head of the dignified Hunt.

Tradition will resume

Mrs. Hunt is one of the precious few of us who were honored by the NFL for durability in our various capacities at all 50 Super Bowls.

The reason why a 5 and a 0 have been attached to the fiftieth Super Bowl has never been revealed. But I have been informed by longtime NFL higher-up Joe Browne that in 2017 the Super Bowl count will revert to the tradition Roman numerals.

Good. I like tradition along with my nostalgia.

Fifty? Onward. Fingers crossed.

Jerry Green is a retired News sports writer