Classic NFL video: Watch Packers-Bears in summer of '69
Jan 29, 2013 (Pioneer Press - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
There are few things less interesting than preseason NFL football. Diehard fans, also known as suckers, get to pay full price to watch third-stringers play while the starters sip Gatorade on the sideline. There are four of these contests per season, and the league is looking to cut that number in half.
Back in olden times, teams played a full SIX exhibition games, and the starters did most of the playing. Seems like a bad idea now, but you have to remember that the NFL in the 1960s was a primitive league.
Thanks to the miracle of YouTube, today you can enjoy what is believed to be the oldest preserved video of an entire NFL game. It's the Aug. 16, 1969, matchup between the arch-rival Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears, on a warm Saturday night at Milwaukee's County Stadium.
This was not Vince Lombardi's Super Bowl juggernaut. This was Phil Bengtson's second season at the helm. While the rapidly-aging Packers still had hall of famers Bart Starr, Ray Nitschke and Willie Davis, they struggled to an 8-6 finish in 1969, finishing far behind the Super Bowl IV-bound Vikings.
The Bears had NFL legends Gale Sayers and Dick Butkus, and that was about it. These midgets of the Midway finished 1-13 under Jim Dooley, their lone victory coming over the equally-hapless Pittsburgh Steelers.
Why should you watch this Two words: Brian Piccolo. The Bears running back was beginning what proved to be his final season. He was diagnosed with testicular cancer in November and
died seven months later. If you've seen "Brian's Song," you know the whole story. So be on the lookout for No. 41 when he enters the game in the second quarter.
Piccolo isn't the only rarity on this video. It was taken from an Armed Forces Network broadcast. That means, at halftime, you get to watch a helpful public service announcement from the U.S. military, reminding servicemen to obey all traffic signs in Germany. Sprechen ze awesome!
So let's head to County Stadium. It's the annual Shriners game, and CBS' Ray Scott, Paul Christman and Bruce Roberts are on the call.
Follow Kevin Cusick at twitter.com/theloopnow.
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