North Carolina man Troy Haupt has a unique problem: He's currently in possession of the only known recording of Super Bowl I, but he can't seem to sell it back to the NFL — or anybody else.
As the New York Times reports, Haupt's biological father Martin taped the inaugural Super Bowl between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Green Pay Packers on a Quadriplex analog videotaping machine back when the game aired in 1967. Years later, upon his passing, Martin handed the tapes over to his ex-wife Beth (Troy's mother), telling her that one day, they might be valuable enough to pay for their son's education. Beth boxed them up and put them in her attic, and that's where they remained for almost five decades, until Troy's childhood friend Clint remembered seeing them in Troy's house and insisted that Troy dig them up.
Fast forward to the present day, and it turns out that Martin and Clint were right — the tapes are valuable. In fact, they're literally one-of-a-kind; the NFL somehow doesn't have its own copy. So naturally, it would make sense that they'd be interested in Haupt's, right?
Well, not really. Haupt and his lawyer have reached out to the NFL, but the league isn't willing to cough up more than $30,000 for the videos, which is a far cry from Haupt's original asking price of $1 million. (It should be noted that the NFL Network recently aired a re-broadcast of the first Super Bowl pasted together from the various bits they managed to track down, but NBC Sports believes it still leaves much to be desired.)
Worse still, Haupt can't legally sell the tapes to any television networks that might be interested, or even another collector, because the NFL technically owns the copyrighted footage contained on those tapes. And according to Haupt's lawyer, CBS had recently agreed to pay Haupt to appear in a short feature about his story, only to back out of the deal at the request of the NFL. (A spokesman for the NFL denies this, however.)
"It’s like you’ve won the golden ticket but you can’t get into the chocolate factory," Haupt remarked in The Times.
Haupt has also suggested that he and the NFL sell their respective properties to a third party, and donate some of the proceeds to charity (Troy's mother suggests the Wounded Warrior Project). But still, the NFL isn't interested, and, according to the league's lawyers, they'll seek damages if the tape finds its way into someone else's hands.