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Super Bowl I Tickets Cost $12 and Still Didn't Sell Out

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According to the Wall Street Journal, tickets for Super Bowl XLVIII in New Jersey next February will top out at $2,600. That's a huge jump from the previous Super Bowl, when the most expensive tickets cost $1,250. The NFL has come a long way since the first Super Bowl in 1967, when the league charged $6, $10, and $12*—and couldn't even sell out the game.

The week before the Green Bay Packers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs at the Los Angeles Coliseum, the New York Times wasn't sold on this Super Bowl business, especially the decision to not broadcast the game live in Los Angeles:

"With all the hoopla, however, some critics have questioned whether this is the Dream Game to end all dream games. With tickets ranging from $6 behind the end zone to $12 top, the Super Bowl is a nightmare to many fans. For every buff willing to shell out at those Broadway prices, there appear to be two fans bemoaning the TV blackout and threatening to stay home anyway."

NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle admitted the prices may have been too steep. "If we had to do it all over again," he told the Times the day before the game, "we probably would scale the seats lower." To get around the blackout—the game was shown in LA on tape-delay at midnight and again at 3pm Monday—a local radio station provided instructions for getting the live TV signal from San Diego. These instructions included a broomstick and five wire coat-hangers.

Super Bowl I was the only Super Bowl that didn't sell out. Fans and corporations will surely snatch up this season's $2,600 tickets, too. And as the Journal reports, indoor suites, which come with 30 tickets, are going for $500,000 and up.

If you choose to watch at home, you'll be in good company. According to Nielsen, 108 million people watched the Baltimore Ravens defeat the San Francisco 49ers and hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy back in February. And probably none of them required a broomstick or five wire coat-hangers.

* Adjusted for inflation, that's about $42, $70, and $84 today.

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History
Beyond Board Shorts: The Rich History of Hawaii's Surf Culture
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From Australia to the Arctic Circle, adrenaline junkies around the world love catching waves—but the very first people to develop surf culture were Hawaiians. Their version of the pastime shares both similarities and differences with the one that’s commonly practiced today, according to TED-Ed’s video below.

Surfing wasn’t just a sport in Hawaii—there were social and religious elements to it, too. Hawaiians made offerings to the gods while choosing trees for boards and prayed for waves. And like a high school cafeteria, the ocean was divided by social status, with certain surf breaks reserved solely for elite Hawaiians.

The surfboards themselves used by early Hawaiians largely resembled the ones we use today, although they were fin-less and required manual turns. Learn more about surfing’s roots and evolution (and how surf culture was nearly destroyed by foreign colonizers) by watching the video below.

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Big Questions
Why Do the Lions and Cowboys Always Play on Thanksgiving?
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Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

Because it's tradition! But how did this tradition begin?

Every year since 1934, the Detroit Lions have taken the field for a Thanksgiving game, no matter how bad their record has been. It all goes back to when the Lions were still a fairly young franchise. The team started in 1929 in Portsmouth, Ohio, as the Spartans. Portsmouth, while surely a lovely town, wasn't quite big enough to support a pro team in the young NFL. Detroit radio station owner George A. Richards bought the Spartans and moved the team to Detroit in 1934.

Although Richards's new squad was a solid team, they were playing second fiddle in Detroit to the Hank Greenberg-led Tigers, who had gone 101-53 to win the 1934 American League Pennant. In the early weeks of the 1934 season, the biggest crowd the Lions could draw for a game was a relatively paltry 15,000. Desperate for a marketing trick to get Detroit excited about its fledgling football franchise, Richards hit on the idea of playing a game on Thanksgiving. Since Richards's WJR was one of the bigger radio stations in the country, he had considerable clout with his network and convinced NBC to broadcast a Thanksgiving game on 94 stations nationwide.

The move worked brilliantly. The undefeated Chicago Bears rolled into town as defending NFL champions, and since the Lions had only one loss, the winner of the first Thanksgiving game would take the NFL's Western Division. The Lions not only sold out their 26,000-seat stadium, they also had to turn fans away at the gate. Even though the juggernaut Bears won that game, the tradition took hold, and the Lions have been playing on Thanksgiving ever since.

This year, the Lions host the Minnesota Vikings.

HOW 'BOUT THEM COWBOYS?


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The Cowboys, too, jumped on the opportunity to play on Thanksgiving as an extra little bump for their popularity. When the chance to take the field on Thanksgiving arose in 1966, it might not have been a huge benefit for the Cowboys. Sure, the Lions had filled their stadium for their Thanksgiving games, but that was no assurance that Texans would warm to holiday football so quickly.

Cowboys general manager Tex Schramm, though, was something of a marketing genius; among his other achievements was the creation of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.

Schramm saw the Thanksgiving Day game as a great way to get the team some national publicity even as it struggled under young head coach Tom Landry. Schramm signed the Cowboys up for the game even though the NFL was worried that the fans might just not show up—the league guaranteed the team a certain gate revenue in case nobody bought tickets. But the fans showed up in droves, and the team broke its attendance record as 80,259 crammed into the Cotton Bowl. The Cowboys beat the Cleveland Browns 26-14 that day, and a second Thanksgiving pigskin tradition caught hold. Since 1966, the Cowboys have missed having Thanksgiving games only twice.

Dallas will take on the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday.

WHAT'S WITH THE NIGHT GAME?


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In 2006, because 6-plus hours of holiday football was not sufficient, the NFL added a third game to the Thanksgiving lineup. This game is not assigned to a specific franchise—this year, the Washington Redskins will welcome the New York Giants.

Re-running this 2008 article a few days before the games is our Thanksgiving tradition.

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