KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Tom Hedrick got his big break calling Super Bowl I back in 1967.
“The head coach, which doesn’t happen today, picked up the phone and called the head of CBS and that’s how I got the Job,” said Hedrick, the former voice of the Kansas City Chiefs.
Hedrick is the only broadcaster still living who called that game. Fifty-six years later, he reflects on a mix of luck and preparation.
When he sat perched above the field on the last day of the football season, it wasn’t even called the Super Bowl yet. It was the AFL National Football League Championship.
“I almost choked, I remember vividly sitting up there an hour before the game,” he said.
That feeling would soon dissipate when he heard this message from his broadcast partner.
“If you weren’t good, you wouldn’t be here. But I’m going to give you two tips. Tip one, you don’t have to talk between every play, a two-yard gain is a two-yard gain, is a two-yard gain,” Hedrick said.
The second tip, don’t act like a former player or coach — because he wasn’t, but he knew what he was talking about.
Hedrick’s story is less about the Super Bowl he called but about how he got the gig.
“Hank Stram picked up the telephone and he called Bill MacPhail, then the president of CBS, and he said, ‘I’m Hank Stram,’ and he said, ‘Well coach, congratulations looking forward to seeing you.'”
The legendary Chiefs coach advocated for him and got him the job.
He went on to cover two more Super Bowls, called games for the Cincinnati Reds and then spent 16 years with the University of Kansas, calling games before he turned to lecturing at KU.
He’s still in top shape as he eagerly gets ready to watch the biggest game in American sports — just as he did nearly six decades ago, rooting on the Chiefs.
“Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce, those two guys love the game. They’re like brothers, they love the game of football. We’re so blessed to have them in Kansas City,” Hedrick said.