MANTEO, NC. (WAVY) — Fifty years ago the first Super Bowl was played. Experts said it’s nearly impossible to find a copy of the original broadcast. However, a family in Manteo said they may have the only copy, but right now it looks like the public will never see it.
More than 40 years later, Beth Rebuck can remember the last gift from her first husband, Martin Haupt, before he died: two large film canisters.
“He said, ‘Maybe they’ll come in handy someday. You’ll be able to educate the children and use the money for that,’” she remembered.
The two had been divorced for almost a decade when he handed her the films marked, “Super Bowl I.” He would die weeks later, leaving Rebuck and her family skeptical of what they had.
“Where do you put something you don’t know where to put it?” she remembered thinking. “Either in your basement or your attic.”
Her son Troy Haupt while in high school saw the recordings sitting in the attic in their Pennsylvania home. It wasn’t until she moved to Manteo, Noth Carolina that the two of them realized how rare a find they had.
“[The NFL] taped it, but they taped over it,” she said. “CBS and NBC don’t even have a copy.”
Rebuck and her son said they negotiated with the NFL through a lawyer, but the league offered them much less than they felt it was worth.
“About $30,000,” she said. The family said no.
“The NFL has been really nasty about it, and we were told they have the copyright,” she said. “We were told, ‘There is nothing you can do, we’ll sue you. You know you’re in violation. Nobody can see it.’”
For now the original copy sits in a mine in another state. Until the day when an agreement is reached, that’s where they’ll stay.
“I feel excited and I feel sad, and I feel frustrated because you have something that is supposed to be wonderful and you can’t share it with anyone,” Rebuck mused.
A gift from a father to his children; a last act that won’t see the light of day.
A spokesperson for the NFL had this to say on the matter:
“We own the copyright to the game. NFL Films has every play of the game so we do not need the tape.”