Super Bowl XLVIII, the first outdoor, cold weather NFL championship game, will be held on February 2, 2014. The game will be played at MetLife Stadium, in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
“Super Bowl brings back memories for “Mother,” Springfield (Mo.) Daily News, January 27, 1986, 1B
"As the Chicago Bears and New England Patriots locked horns for the Super Bowl crown Sunday, there were fond memories of a similar title game 19 years ago for Curt 'Mother' Merz. Merz, a disc jockey on Springfield radio station KGBX, was one of the men who tangled in Super Bowl I. As an offensive lineman for the Kansas City Chiefs, he saw his team lose 35-10 to Vince Lombardi’s powerful Green Bay Packers. Even though the game, played Jan. 15, 1967 in the Los Angeles Coliseum, was referred to as the ‘World Championship Game’ instead of the Super Bowl, Merz knew it would be more than just another football game. 'We knew it was the start of something special,' he said. 'We knew it was the start of something that could go on forever.'
"Making the game sweeter for the Chiefs was the fact that it was the first championship meeting of their American Football League with the older, more established National Football League. The two leagues later merged into the NFL. 'The old AFL had fought for parity for nine years. We finally had gotten to the point where the rivalry was now a reality. After so many years of trying, we knew the game was there to stay,' Merz recalled.
"Some things haven’t changed since the inaugural game. Even back then there was a lot of media hype, he said. 'The first one was the most ever for a football game. But I don’t know what they go through now,' Merz said. The extent of the coverage of the Super Bowl games in the 1980s would make the 1967 game look 'like a neighborhood touch football game,' he said.
"One of the factors adding to the pressures of the championship game is the two-week lapse between the last playoff game and the Super Bowl. 'There’s always been two weeks off before the game. We didn’t like it, and I don’t think any player does. You get into a routine where you play every week. It upsets your competition clock. You get to be sort of an animal. Pavlov was not wrong. The Sunday comes and you still drool,' he said. All the pre-game hoopla doesn’t make much difference when the players take the field, either then or now, Merz said. 'I know it’s sort of trite, but it’s really another game. The impact is before you get there. Once you tee the football up and screw the hats on, it’s business as usual.' he said. 'But after the game is over, that’s when you go back and reflect.'
"Merz has more than just Super Bowl I to reflect on. He played college ball at the University of Iowa before tackling nine years of professional ball in 1960. He started in the Canadian Football League, eventually heading back to the states and finding a slot with the old Dallas Texans in the AFL. When the Texans moved to Kansas City in 1963, Merz became a Chief with the rest of the team. He retired in 1969 before the Chiefs went on to capture the 1970 Super Bowl.
"Merz eventually found his way into radio and onto the airwaves at KGBX, where he still uses the 'Mother' nickname he picked up in the pros. Finding a life after football isn’t always easy for some players. One of Merz’s teammates in the 1967 Super Bowl killed his wife and committed suicide, according to a story on the NBC pre-game Super Bowl show. But for Merz and other members of his team, there is a happy life after the pros.
“'In some cases I like this (radio) job more,' Merz said. 'Athletes whole lives are taken up by athletics. There’s not much else you can do. But when that’s done, you have to find something else to do. I’ve found that totally refreshing.' In many ways he’s left football behind him, preferring to take on a bass or a trout instead of a 300-pound defense lineman. 'I missed the game the first couple of years. But the longer you’re out, you think about why you did it in the first place,' Merz said. He said he hasn’t touched a football or been to a professional game since he retired. He rarely watches a game on television during the regular season. 'I just watch the playoff games. The regular season, I could care less,' Merz said.
"Although Merz said he would watch Sunday’s game, he said the important thing is the game, rather than the pre-game hype. 'When you really come down to it, it’s really boys playing a game,' Merz said. 'Take away the TV, take away the hype, the money, the big stadium, make it illegal to play the game, and in some open field in some dark corner of the U.S. there always will be 22 guys who will tee it up and see who’s the best.'"
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