Kansas City Chief players during the First AFL-NFL World Championship Game (later renamed Super Bowl I) against the Green Bay Packers in Los Angeles on Jan. 15, 1967. Credit - Bill Ray—The LIFE Picture Collection/Shutterstock
As the Kansas City Chiefs gather in their locker room to take on the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LXIII on Feb. 11 in Las Vegas, Patrick Mahomes won't be smoking any cigarettes. At halftime, you're unlikely to spot Travis Kelce guzzling Fresca. Sports nutrition habits have changed considerably since Super Bowl I, played on Jan. 15, 1967, in Los Angeles.
On that day, LIFE photographer Bill Ray—who during his tenure at the magazine photographed the Vietnam War, Private Elvis Presley shipping off to a military tour of duty, Marilyn Monroe singing "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" to John F. Kennedy, and other iconic celebrities and moments—got behind-the-scenes access to the Kansas City Chiefs, who were taking on the Green Bay Packers in what was then called the AFL-NFL World Championship Game. (A few years later, it was renamed Super Bowl I.) The Chiefs locker room was stuffed with soda. The starting quarterback was indeed smoking. Players and coaches were weary and dejected after Green Bay trounced KC, 35-10, in a contest seen by more than 50 million combined viewers on CBS and NBC, which both broadcast the game. Super Sunday hooked America from the start.
Below is sampling of the photos Ray captured that day. It would be easy to attribute the lopsided score to the bad habits of the Chiefs players. Except that Green Bay's Max McGee, the wide receiver who caught seven passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns and appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, played the game hungover, after returning to this hotel room at 6:30 a.m. that morning.
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