Johnstown and the surrounding region have had ties to the Super Bowl since the very beginning.
The region has produced some of the most recognizable names to participate in the big game either as a player, broadcaster or member of the team’s support staff.
Johnstown and Cambria County have been a part of the show from the start. In fact, the area was represented in each of the first three Super Bowl games.
By the time the Pittsburgh Steelers had won their fourth title in Super Bowl XIV, local fans had an opportunity to follow a homegrown product in nine of the first 14 Super Bowl championships.
Bishop McCort graduate Jack Ham earned four Super Bowl rings with the Pittsburgh Steelers dynasty. The "Steel Curtain" linebacker was named to the "Super Bowl 50 Golden Team."
While Ham is the most prominent among the area’s Super Bowl connections, the Hall of Famer has had plenty of company.
Super Bowl I, II
The region was represented on the field and in the broadcast booth in each of the first two title games between the NFL and AFL. The game hadn’t officially been named the Super Bowl when Green Bay and Kansas City met on Jan. 15, 1967 in Los Angeles, and when the Packers and Oakland Raiders played on Jan. 14, 1968 in Miami.
• Johnstown's Ray Scott called Super Bowl I on television for CBS, with Frank Gifford, and Jack Whitaker working the second half. Twice named National Sports Broadcaster of the Year, Scott started his career at Johnstown radio station WJAC in 1937.
In a now seemingly unbelievable twist, neither CBS nor NBC, which broadcast Super Bowl I, saved a copy of their tapes, making footage of the milestone event a rare commodity.
Scott, who was the longtime voice of the Green Bay Packers, also worked Super Bowl II and eventually called four Super Bowl games. Pretty impressive, considering the first game Scott called on radio was Greater Johnstown against Jay Township during the 1938 high school season.
• Colver native and Central Cambria High School graduate Ron Kostelnik played defensive tackle for Packers coach Vince Lombardi in the first two Super Bowls.
Green Bay defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10 in Super Bowl I and repeated behind two-time MVP quarterback Bart Starr in a 33-14 victory over the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl II.
Kostelnik also was part of the Packers’ NFL championship teams in 1961, 1962 and 1965 prior to the Super Bowl era.
At 6-foot-4, 260 pounds, the former Red Devil was among Green Bay’s largest players who was known as a run-stopper in Lombardi’s 3-4 defense.
Both Scott and Kostelnik are members of the Cambria County Sports Hall of Fame.
Super Bowl III
Flamboyant New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath’s brash prediction of an upset win over the Baltimore Colts garnered much of the attention prior to the Jan. 12, 1969 game played at the Orange Bowl in Miami.
Joe and his teammates made the pre-game talk stand in a 16-7 win, as Namath was named MVP.
• Greater Johnstown High School graduate and Cambria County Sports Hall of Famer Jeff Richardson was part of the Jets’ championship.
An offensive lineman in the pros after a stellar career on defense at Michigan State, Richardson, a backup, was a among the group that protected Namath after the quarterback drew the ire of the Colts.
Super Bowl VI
Scott was back in the broadcast booth for the Dallas Cowboys’ 24-3 victory over the Miami Dolphins on Jan. 16, 1972 at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans.
Super Bowl VIII
A former Ferndale resident, Scott called his fourth Super Bowl during the Dolphins’ 24-7 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Jan. 13, 1974 at Rice Stadium in Houston.
Legendary broadcaster Pat Summerall provided color commentary.
In an era when Super Bowl ad time costs millions of dollars for a 30-second spot, it might be difficult to believe the NFL blacked out Super Bowl games in the early years.
Although Tulane Stadium was sold out for Super Bowl VI, unconditional blackout rules in the NFL prohibited the live telecast from being shown in the New Orleans area.
This was the last Super Bowl to be blacked out in the TV market in which the game was played.
Super Bowl IX, X, XIII, XIV
The Steelers created a dynasty in the 1970s, winning Pittsburgh’s first two Super Bowls behind the "Steel Curtain" defense and taking the next two titles on the strength of an often spectacular offense led by Terry Bradshaw, Lynn Swann and Franco Harris.
• Considered one of the greatest outside linebackers in NFL history, Ham played in Super Bowl IX, X and XIII but missed XIV because of an ankle injury.
The Johnstown native made five postseason interceptions, including two in the 1974 AFC Championship game against the rival Oakland Raiders.
During eight of his 12 NFL seasons, Ham played in every game on the schedule, and he appeared in 178 of a possible 190 games.
Ham joined middle linebacker Jack Lambert and Andy Russell to form one of the most effective linebacking trios in the game while part of the 4-3 defense orchestrated by assistant coaches Bud Carson and George Perles. Lambert and Ham are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
For the record, the Steelers’ dynasty Super Bowl wins came against the Vikings 16-6 (IX, Jan. 12, 1975, Tulane Stadium); Dallas Cowboys 21-17 (X, Jan. 18, 1976, Orange Bowl); Cowboys 35-31 (XIII, Jan. 21, 1979, Orange Bowl); and Los Angeles Rams 31-19 (Jan. 20, 1980, Rose Bowl).
Super Bowl XXI, XXV
Jeff Hostetler went from a backup to a Super Bowl champion.
• Conemaugh Township graduate Hostetler was behind Phil Simms for the New York Giants’ 39-20 victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXI on Jan. 25, 1987 in Pasadena.
Four years later, Hoss was at center stage for the Giants’ heart-stopping 20-19 victory over the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXV on Jan. 27, 1991 in Tampa.
Simms went down with a foot injury late in December 1990. Giants fans might have been worried, but Hostetler filled in by winning the final two regular-season games and leading the Giants to the Super Bowl against the heavily favored Bills.
He completed 20 of 32 passes for 222 yards and a touchdown against the Bills, who lost when Scott Norwood’s 47-yard field goal attempt in the closing seconds was wide right.
Hostetler is in the Cambria County Sports Hall of Fame.
Super Bowl XXXVIII
Johnstown had generational ties to this Super Bowl.
• Greater Johnstown High School graduate and Cambria County Sports Hall of Famer John Kasay Sr. is the father of former Carolina Panthers kicker John Kasay.
The younger Kasay enjoyed the highs of booting a 50-yard field goal and making both of his extra points. But his final kickoff went out of bounds, resulting in a penalty that gave the New England Patriots possession at the 40-yard line.
Tom Brady and company drove into field goal range, and Adam Vinatieri kicked a 41-yard field goal with 4 seconds left.
The Patriots won 32-29 on Feb. 1, 2004 at Reliant Stadium in Houston.
Super Bowl XXXIX
It's easy to forget amid the Super Bowl hoopla that those working behind the scenes have a significant role in a team's on-field success.
• Greater Johnstown graduate Chris Peduzzi finished his 17th season with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2015.
Peduzzi was promoted to head athletic trainer in 2013. He was part of the Eagles’ team that battled the Patriots in a 24-21 loss on Feb. 6, 2005 at Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville.
The golden anniversary of the Super Bowl officially culminates when the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers meet Sunday night in San Francisco.
As the milestone passes, Johnstown fans can note their city and region have been part of the show since the outset.
Mike Mastovich is a sports writer for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @masty81.