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NFL Network to re-air Super Bowl I without commentary

The Kansas City Chiefs' Mike Garrett (21)

The Kansas City Chiefs' Mike Garrett (21) carries the ball as two unidentified Green Bay Packers close in during Super Bowl I on Jan. 15, 1967. Credit: AP

Football fans waited 49 years to see Super Bowl I again, so what’s another week to see it done right?

Confronted with a torrent of criticism on social media and elsewhere for the way it handled a replay of the game last Friday night, the NFL Network announced it will try again this Friday night.

The first showing of “Super Bowl I: The Lost Game” featured every play from the inaugural Super Bowl between the Packers and the Chiefs, which had been pieced together from NFL Films’ archives.

The action was overlain with the NBC Radio audio featuring Jim Simpson, who died at age 88 last Wednesday, on play-by-play.

What rankled many was the fact that much of the time NFL Network announcers and analysts spoke over the call rather than waiting for breaks during which to comment on the action and interview players from the game.

So this time, at 8 p.m. Friday, the NFL Network will show the game footage and the radio call uninterrupted.

Said a network spokesman, “Even prior to last Friday, we knew there was a segment of our audience who would want to hear the game ‘untouched’ so to speak — without all the commentary that we provided with former Packers and Chiefs and Hall of Fame players. This was confirmed by feedback we received on social media from fans and we have scheduled this 90-minute rebroadcast.

“The version this Friday will have a quick intro from Chris Rose at the top and then probably a short reset at the start of the second half, but besides that there will be no commentary other than the NBC Sports radio broadcast on top of the footage.”

The fact that the show will run only 90 minutes, including commercials, indicates that it will include only the radio call of the plays themselves, not the discussions between plays.

That more complete audio version can be heard on a two-hour, 42-minute YouTube posting from last January that includes the entire radio call from Simpson and analyst George Ratterman.

An NFL Network spokesman said NFL Films analyzed the footage of the YouTube posting and determined it was illegally assembled from a variety of public sources and is missing nine plays from the game — as well as other footage from that day — meaning NFL Films’ assertion that Friday night was the first time Super Bowl I had been re-seen in its entirety was accurate.

Still unseen by the public since Jan. 15, 1967, are the CBS and NBC telecasts of the game.

Most of the CBS version exists and has been in the possession of the Paley Center for Media for more than a decade.

But the telecast has been unavailable to the public because of an ongoing dispute between the owner — whose father recorded the game as an engineer at a station in Scranton, Pennsylvania — and the NFL over copyright and compensation issues.

New York Sports