Get your game face on ... Because you're about to witness some of thei most incredible NFL action ever captured on film! Relive the greatest moments from Super Bowls I through X. Experience the raw emotion, the hard hits, and the game-breaking plays that have made the Super Bowl the greatest one-day sporting event on Earth.
Take a stroll down memory lane one bone-jarring yard at a time and relive some of the greatest moments in NFL history.
Runtime: 508 min.
Release Date: 11/25/2003
• ’66 NFL Championship Game
• First Super Bowl Telecast
• Bart Starr
• Raiders Front Four
• George Sauer
• Weeb Ewbank
• Hank Stram Wire
• New Orleans’ 1st Super Bowl
• Jim O’Brien
• Tom Landry’s Legacy
• Duane Thomas
• Bob Lilly
• Miami’s Perfect Season
• ’72 Dolphins Reunion
• Miami’s “No-Name” Defense
• Forgotten Faces
• Terry Bradshaw
• Vikings’ Super Bowl Failures
• Jack Lambert
• Roger Staubach
• Collector’s Book
• Replica of Super Bowl X Game Ticket
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NFL Films: Super Bowl Collection - Super Bowls I-X (2003)
Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 30, 2004)
Many of us can’t remember a time when the Super Bowl wasn’t an unofficial national holiday. In fact, I worked at a restaurant through college and grad school, and we only closed for five nights: the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Day, and Super Bowl Sunday. With this five-DVD set called Super Bowl I-X, we get to relive the first ten games.
Super Bowl I: Green Bay vs. Kansas City (46 minutes):
Essentially the combination of two separate programs, Super Bowl I opens with 20 minutes of general information about pro football. The show gives us a typically overblown and hyperbolic examination of various positions. We get basic notes about quarterbacks, runners, receivers and defensive backs. The program offers quick mentions of the era’s stars but doesn’t present much depth. We see some nice shots from the sidelines but this generic program serves little purpose.
After that we head to the show that specifically examines the big game itself. After a short look at pre-game festivities – which featured two dudes with rocket packs ala Thunderball - we get into the game. The documentary doesn’t handle the contest in chronological order, though. Instead, it goes into an analysis of the way the Packers’ defense shut down the Chiefs’ offense. This provides a very nice examination of the strategies that proves quite informative. Eventually it shows the Green Bay offense as it sums up the game. It’s an unusual construction, but it works due to its depth.
Super Bowl II: Green Bay vs. Oakland (50 minutes, 13 seconds):
First up, this piece provides a general look at the 1967 NFL season. It runs through the year’s general trends and then goes over the top players for each team. It seems somewhat puffy, as I started to wonder if any of the teams had bad years in 1967, but it still provides a decent look at the highlights. After about 20 minutes, the program follows the playoffs. These wrap up in about five minutes.
As with the Super Bowl I piece, Super Bowl II splits into two separate programs. The second half of this 50-minute compilation concentrates on Super Bowl II itself. Oddly, this tells us the outcome of the game before we watch it! I guess the producers figure everyone who watches will already know the winner.
Anyway, after that quick introduction, the show proceeds in a chronological way to go through the game. As with the prior program, it offers some nice analysis of tactics and methods. It adds some quick post-game soundbites from the players, which adds depth to the evaluation. In addition, the show offers some quick looks at the game’s top players. I prefer this generally chronological approach, and since Super Bowl II also gets into the nitty-gritty, it’s the better of the first two pieces.
Super Bowl III: Colts vs. Jets (50 minutes, 35 seconds):
The folks who ran the American Football League hoped that these games that pitted their champion against the best team in the National Football League would give the upstarts credibility. However, the first two Super Bowls were blowouts that seemed to reinforce the dominance and superiority of the NFL.
Probably the most significant and important Super Bowl of them all, Super Bowl III changed all that. But before we get to the big game, we go through a general recap of the 1968 NFL season. In this 26-minute segment, we find general notes on key match-ups and games. It seems less coherent than the recap of 1967, though it offers a lot of good action from the field. (And off as well – the show includes more than a smattering of close-ups on female breasts and posteriors. Who shot this thing, Hugh Hefner?)
Unlike the first pair of programs, this one actually gets into Super Bowl III as part of its opening piece. It hints at the Colts’ loss and the shows a montage of game images. However, we have to wait for the follow-up piece to see more details about the fight against the Jets. It contrasts the rose of one hero quarterback in Joe Namath and the fading of another via Johnny Unitas. It quickly recaps both teams’ paths to the Super Bowl and we hear about Namath’s legendary “guarantee” that the Jets would win. A tight and concise examination of the game and the issues that surrounded it, this program offers the best Super Bowl recap to date.
Super Bowl IV: Vikings vs. Chiefs (50 minutes):
For the 1969 season, one change comes from the source of this year’s general program. We get a 25-minute and 40-second recap episode of This Week in the NFL hosted by Pat Summerall and Tom Brookshier. This aired before the start of the 1970 season as it summed up the prior year. It looks and sounds a lot like those from prior years, as it quickly runs through the main stars and the highlights of the 1969 season. It’s a reasonably decent examination of the year as it culminates in the march through the play-offs.
From there we head back to the traditional NFL films fare, as the remainder of the show examines Super Bowl IV. It strongly accentuates the domination of the Chiefs in the usual grandiose terms before it depicts the Vikings’ attempts at a comeback in the second. One nice element comes from the many shots of Chiefs coach Hank Stram on the sideline, as we hear his comments throughout the game. These help make this another informative and efficient look at the Super Bowl.
Super Bowl V: Cowboys vs. Colts (51 minutes, seven seconds):
This year formally marked the merger of the AFL and NFL, so we finally get to see coverage of all the teams in the summary program. This 25-minute and 36-second piece uses the usual montage format to run through the main stories that related to each team. Given the presence of so many additional squads, this doesn’t leave much time for detail, but the show seems reasonably complete
As they try to build the mythic nature of the contest, the program for Super Bowl V actually includes some amusing moments. We see fans pick up tickets at the will call window, but many of them come up empty; they provide lots of angst as they claim – without success – that they should have seats. From there the show launches immediately into the game, which it evaluates briskly and in logical order. It highlights the contest’s important issues such as a controversial call for a pass completion. Overall, it’s another solid piece.
Super Bowl VI: Cowboys vs. Dolphins (48 minutes, 35 seconds)
Another year, another season recap! This one uses a format that mostly highlights the various players. The 24-minute and 16-second program gives us some information about the teams as a whole, but it doesn’t feature the same squad-by-squad emphasis found in the prior year. I prefer the latter format, so this show seems a little lackluster.
Super Bowl VI is the second most unpleasant to watch of the first 10, as it offers a victory for the Cowboys. “America’s Team”, my ass! Every right-thinking American hates those smug and smarmy worms and cringes at the sight of their win here (or anywhere). At least the recap works well. It covers the two teams’ histories briefly and then engages in a clear examination of the game itself. I don’t like the ending, but the show itself seems strong.
Super Bowl VII: Redskins vs. Dolphins (44 minutes, 43 seconds)
After the agony of a Cowboys victory, now we must endure the pain of a Redskins failure. (Unfortunately, this package stops seven years before the ‘Skins finally won a Super Bowl in 1983.) This 22-minute and 16-second show accentuates what they call “The Year of the Team”, which makes sense since 1972 featured the undefeated Miami Dolphins. No team has gone without a loss since then, though in fairness, it’s more difficult now; the Dolphins needed to win 17 games, but a modern team must succeed in 19 due to the expanded regular season. The Bears came closest with their 18-1 season in 1985.
Despite the stress on the teams, this program focuses largely on individual players, especially since the year saw a lot of standout runners. Though I still prefer the general recap of individual team accomplishments, this show offers a decent summary of general football trends of the era, so it seems valuable.
Obviously, I find Super Bowl VII to be the more difficult to watch of the 10, since it sees the Redskins flop. Nonetheless, it offers another good show. It aptly contrasts the styles of the two teams and as with prior shows, it moves through the game concisely. It offers some nice introspection about the play calling and seems well-done overall.
Super Bowl VIII: Vikings vs. Dolphins (47 minutes):
Not frequently discussed in prior year-end recaps, rookies play a major role in the telling of the 1973 season. For this 22-minute and two-second program, we hear about some prominent first-year players and get the usual overall view of the teams. We see how the prominent rookies impacted the squads as well as the impact of some trades, the general successes of the year, and some rule changes that would come into effect the following season. It ends with a spotlight on OJ Simpson’s record-setting year. You also must love a season with a player named “Boobie”.
For the first time in a few years, the Super Bowl match-up causes me no pain. I remain ambivalent toward both the Vikings and Dolphins, so this contest creates no real feelings in me. It opens with a spotlight on the Dolphins’ unheralded offensive line and its impact on the game. We hear from coach Don Shula as he details their tactics in an informative session before we go through the events of the contest itself. The program nicely intercuts between chronological events and insight to create a solid look at the game.
Super Bowl IX: Vikings vs. Steelers (73 minutes, 10 seconds):
Easily the longest of the regular season synopses, this 48-minute and 33-second program is also possibly the most annoying of the bunch. That’s because the folks at NFL Films decided to use poetry throughout the piece to illustrate points. This just seems silly and doesn’t work. Otherwise, the extended program covers the year well and touches on all the important topics. The additional time allows it to provide greater detail than usual, with some long pieces of a few specific threads and games.
I expect that no group understood the agony experienced by the Buffalo Bills of the Nineties as well as the Vikings of the Seventies. Those teams are the only two to have lost four Super Bowls and won none. (The Broncos used to suffer as a branch of the Wall of Shame with their four losses, but they left this list with their back-to-back victories in the late Nineties.) This set stops too early to depict Minnesota’s final Super Bowl loss to date, but we see number three in that string here. A sloppy game, the program offers a tight take on it. The show favors straight-forward chronological reporting and though it lacks the useful insight of the previous year’s synopsis, it functions as an efficient recap.
Super Bowl X: Cowboys vs. Steelers (46 minutes, 55 seconds):
The 21-minute and 30-second regular season program concentrates largely on changes within the league. It covers new stadiums, coaching changes, and fresh players. It also offers a decent general recap of the season as a whole.
With another Cowboys defeat, this package ends on a heartwarming note. The show humbly touts the game as “the best ever” as it follows the contest in logical order. It lacks the insight of some better shows, but it recaps the game well.
Overall, these 20 individual programs packaged as Super Bowl I-X give us a nice sense of the 10 seasons in question. Because the shows involved all come from their respective years and this isn’t a modern retrospective, we get to see things involved in semi-real time. That means we don’t get a lot of historical perspective, but the “you are there” sensibility seems good. Ultimately, the set covers the early years of the Super Bowl in a solid fashion.
The DVD Grades: Picture D+/ Audio D+/ Bonus B
Super Bowl I-X appears in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 on these single-sided, double-layered DVDs; due to those dimensions, the image has not been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. A very mixed bag, the programs generally remained watchable, but quite a lot of problems emerged.
Much of the variation came via the detail of the images. The earliest programs – mainly on the first two DVDs – presented consistently soft and ill-defined shots. These elements improved somewhat as the years passed by, but we still always saw more than a few bits that came across as a bit fuzzy and without much clarity. I noticed no problems with jagged edges or shimmering, and the programs lacked signs of edge enhancement.
Source flaws created much more substantial issues. Though one might expect these to start to clear up with each passing year, they didn’t. The shows demonstrated a fair amount of grain and suffered from many other defects. I saw lots of specks, grit, blotches, lines, marks, dirt and tears. These caused more than a few distractions.
Across the board, colors seemed bland. The material demonstrated hues that consistently appeared pale and without much vivacity. These varied to some degree and occasionally came across as reasonably well-defined, but those instances weren’t frequent, and the tones mostly appeared flat and lifeless. Blacks were decent though a little inky, while low-light shots tended to seem somewhat dense. Given the nature of the programs, not a lot of those occurred, but when they did, they lacked definition. Ultimately, I cut these shows a little slack due to their age, but nonetheless, they still seemed moderately weak for material from these years.
In addition, the monaural audio of Super Bowl I-X seemed below par for components of its age. Speech consistently remained intelligible, but the narration failed to sound terribly natural. I noticed occasional bouts of edginess, and in general, the speech was somewhat dull. Effects played a minor role in the proceedings, as they came solely from game footage. Those elements seemed acceptably clear but not anything better than that.
Music varied. At times, the background score seemed surprisingly rich and full. Much of the time, however, the music came across as thin and rinky-dink, without much dimensionality. Still, the score offered the best parts of the track, at least in regard to some decent bass response. Source defects created more than a few distractions. I noticed various examples of hiss, hum, and rumbling. The latter caused the biggest issues, as more than a couple of the programs sounded like a hurricane rampaged in the background. The “NFL ‘74” program also suffered from some nasty channel bleeding; occasionally the monaural sound bleeped and blipped from the side speakers. Overall, the audio didn’t seem terrible, but it presented more flaws than I’d expect.
Note that generally the Super Bowl halves of the programs demonstrated higher quality than the regular season recaps. To be sure, the Super Bowl shows also suffered from a mix of picture and sound concerns, but it appeared that the folks at NFL Films took better care of them. They mostly looked a little cleaner and more concise, and also I noticed the majority of the sound defects with the regular season shows.
Each disc in this five-DVD set includes a smattering of supplements. All of these come as featurettes. We find two per Super Bowl. On DVD One, these include ’66 NFL Championship Game (seven minutes, 20 seconds), First Super Bowl Telecast (4:33), Bart Starr (7:29) and Raiders Front Four (4:00). “’66” includes game clips and comments from Cowboys coach Tom Landry, Cowboys running back Dan Reeves, Packers wide receiver Max McGee and Packers cornerback Herb Adderly as the program covers the game that determined the NFL representative in the first Super Bowl. In “Telecast”, we hear from Fox broadcaster Terry Bradshaw, NBC Sport executive producer Dick Ebersol, Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt, CBS broadcaster Jack Whitaker, CBS Super Bowl I producer Bill Creasy, NBC sports executive (1964-79) Chet Simmons, CBS broadcaster Pat Summerall, NBC broadcaster Curt Gowdy, and former NFL senior vice president of broadcasting and network television Val Pinchback Jr. They go over the various quirks of that first Super Bowl’s TV airings.
“Starr” focuses on the Packers great. We get notes from Starr himself, Lions linebacker Wayne Walker, Packers center Bill Curry, Rams defensive tackle Merlin Olsen, and Packers quarterback Zeke Bratkowski. In “Raiders”, we find comments from Raiders defensive end/defensive tackle Ben Davidson, defensive end/defensive tackle Carleton Oats, defensive tackle Tom Keating, They chat about the rowdy “Hell’s Angels of football”. All four featurettes provide good material, but “Broadcast” and “Raiders” are the best, mainly because they include some fun anecdotes about wilder days.
On DVD Two, we find George Sauer (5:07), Weeb Ewbank (4:25), Hank Stram Wire (3:56), and New Orleans’ 1st Super Bowl (3:49). “Sauer” discusses the Jets receiver via comments from himself, Jets quarterback Joe Namath, Jets receiver Don Maynard, and New York Times writer Dave Anderson. “Ewbank” looks at the former Colts and Jets coach with information from Weeb himself, writer John Steadman, Colts fullback Alan Ameche, Colts defensive tackle Art Donovan, Colts halfback Lenny Moore, linebacker Sam Huff, Colts/Jets defensive back Johnny Sample, Colts defensive end Gino Marchetti, and Jets VP of PR Frank Ramos.
In “Wire”, we find out how the Chiefs coach got hooked up for sound through comments from Stram, NFL Films founder Ed Sabol, Chiefs quarterback Len Dawson, and Chiefs running back Mike Garrett. “New Orleans” looks at the issues behind the contest there. We hear from Saints Hall of Fame GM Ken Trahan, WWL Radio sports talk host Buddy Dilberto, broadcaster Pat Summerall, and NFL executive CP of communications and public affairs Joe Browne. “Sauer” is the most informative, as it relates why the All-star player quit at 27, while “New Orleans” is the most fun; it depicts the mayhem that accompanied some ill-conceived plans.
As we move to DVD Three, we get Jim O’Brien (4:47), Tom Landry’s Legacy (3:49), Duane Thomas (7:37) and Bob Lilly (4:12). “O’Brien” looks at the Colts kicker who knocked across the game-winning field goal. We hear from O’Brien and Colts defensive end Bubba Smith. “Landry” examines the Cowboys legendary coach as it presents remarks from Cowboys running back Calvin Hill, Cowboys defensive tackle Bob Lilly, Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach, Cowboys running back Dan Reeves, and Cowboys tight end Mike Ditka.
”Thomas” concentrates on the difficult and enigmatic Cowboys running back. We hear from Thomas, Cowboys president and GM Tex Schramm, Dan Reeves, Tom Landry, Roger Staubach, and Calvin Hill. “Lilly” looks at the Cowboys Hall of Fame defensive tackle with information from Lilly, guard Tom Mack, Cowboys wide receiver Lance Rentzel, and Staubach. Three of these pieces seem somewhat dull, but “Thomas” is quite good as it gets into the back’s issues.
On DVD Four we find Miami’s Perfect Season (5:01), ’72 Dolphins Reunion (3:44), Miami’s “No-Name” Defense (5:01) and Forgotten Faces (1:07). “Perfect” looks at the 17-0 1972 season with notes from head coach Don Shula, Dolphins guard Larry Little, Dolphins fullback Larry Csonka, Dolphins receiver Paul Warfield, Dolphins defensive tackle Manny Fernandez, John Madden, Dolphins linebacker Nick Buoniconti, and Dolphins quarterback Bob Griese. “Reunion” also reminisces about 1972. We hear from Dolphins kicker Garo Yepremian, Buoniconti, Dolphins running back Mercury Morris, Warfield, Shula, Csonka, Fernandez and Dolphins safety Dick Anderson.
In “No-Name”, we learn the identities of that quietly efficient defense. This includes information from Buoniconti, Dolphins linebacker Doug Swift, Fernandez, Shula, and Dolphins defensive coordinator Bill Arnsparger. “Faces” hears from Fernandez and NFL Films president Steve Sabol. It does little more than tell us of Fernandez’s Super Bowl greatness. DVD Four’s featurettes all seem watchable but a little blah; none of them stands out as particularly compelling.
Finally we get to DVD Five with Terry Bradshaw (4:47), Vikings’ Super Bowl Failures (4:04), Jack Lambert ( and Roger Staubach (). “Bradshaw” discusses the Steelers quarterback with notes from Bradshaw himself, though it mostly concentrates on narration. “Failures” looks at the Vikings’ four flops via comments from Vikings receiver John Gilliam, Vikings quarterback Fran Tarkenton, Vikings coach Bud Grant, Chiefs coach Hank Stram, Chiefs linebacker Willie Lanier, Manny Fernandez, Nick Buoniconti, Vikings safety Paul Krause, Steelers wide receiver Lynn Swann, Steelers defensive tackle Joe Greene, Raiders safety Jack Tatum, Vikings defensive end Jim Marshall, Vikings center Mick Tingelhoff and Vikings running back Bill Brown.
”Lambert” evaluates the Steelers linebacker. We find information from Lambert plus narration. “Staubach” examines the Cowboys quarterback via statements from the player himself plus Landry and much narration. The Vikings program is the most interesting, although the players come across as a little whiny. The other three seem fairly mediocre. Nonetheless, overall these 20 featurettes offer some pretty useful information and add a nice feeling of depth to the package. In a nice touch, all the featurettes present English subtitles.
In addition to these video extras, Super Bowl I-X includes a couple of paper materials. These provide a replica of the Super Bowl X game ticket as well as a Collector’s Book. The latter presents the cover for all 10 game programs, the name of each MVP, each team’s rosters, a box score for the game, images of each ticket, some Super Bowl photos, and a list of game dates and sites. It’s a nice little addition to the set.
The Super Bowl provides America’s premiere sporting event, and Super Bowl I-X nicely details the contest’s formative years. We watch as it overcomes early obstacles to become a huge event, and we get a generally solid encapsulation of each game and the seasons that preceded them. The DVD presents fairly weak picture and sound since it uses the original programs created in the respective eras. The shows remain watchable, though, and I don’t think we realistically could expect better from these aging NFL productions. The set comes with some nice extras as well. All in all, football fans should really enjoy this romp down Super Bowl memory lane. Now let’s get Super Bowls XI-X so we can watch some Redskins victories!
Viewer Film Ratings: 3.9687 Stars|| Number of Votes: 32|