January 15, 1967: Solomon Brannan, Jr. made sports history when he played in the first Super Bowl game ever. Times were different back then.
“Most people didn’t know it would end up being as big as it is today,” Brannan said. Playing as a defensive back for the Kansas City Chiefs against the Green Bay Packers, Brannan recalled how this game resulted in the American Football League versus the National Football League.
The native Georgian played football while attending Tompkins High School in Savannah, and later at Morris Brown College in Atlanta, where he received a football scholarship. With a remarkable career spanning 40 years as a professional football athlete, he played for the Kansas City Chiefs, receiving the first Super Bowl ring. Later, he went on to play for the New York Jets, the Detroit Lions and the Cincinnati Bengals, where he scored the first game touchdown.
Brannan went on to become a coach, recruiting scout, and an entrepreneur. He served as assistant coach at Morehouse College and head coach at Morris Brown College, his alma mater, and was inducted into a number of sports halls of fame and received many awards throughout his career.
Strong in his conviction about the importance of giving back, he recalls that there were those who helped him along the way. Now, through the Brannan Family Foundation, he provides school backpacks for kids, serves food at senior centers, and gives groceries to nearly 50 families.
What he treasures most is his close ties to his family and faith in God.
“We are blessed,” he said. He and his wife, Dolores, have been married for 57 years, have three children and three grandchildren.
“No other [sports] championship compares to this game,” he said, noting that while times have changed, he still cherishes the fans. Brannon added, “The average person can’t afford a ticket… tickets back then were around $15. The game should be about the fans, and not about the money,”