A Brief History of the Super Bowl

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Looking at the Super Bowl LVI, it’s a perfect time to review this event’s plentiful history. From here on out, the Super Bowl will be played on every second Sunday of February. 


Previous Super Bowls were played on Sundays in early to mid-January from 1967 to 1978, late January from 1979 to 2003 and the first Sunday of February from 2004 to 2021. This is, by far, the biggest and most popular event in the U.S. 


It’s almost revered as a national holiday to which Americans refer to as Super Bowl Sunday or Super Sunday. 


Every fan of the Super Bowl watches the championship game and they all have their little rituals ready for it. Some place wagers on the NFL lines, others prepare a party and so on. That being said, let’s have a look at the brief history of the Super Bowl. 

Early days

Back in the early ‘60s there were two major leagues in the U.S. American Football League (AFL) and the National Football League (NFL). AFL was started by a group of businessmen who were keen on having their own professional football franchise. However, the NFLs unwillingness to expand any further kept the businessmen frustrated. 


AFL decided to do their own thing regardless and they paved the road ahead as an alternative franchise with a more wide-open brand of football. After a few years of AFL competing against the NFL, Pete Rozzelle, the current commissioner of the NFL back in the day and the owner of the AFL’s Kansas City Chiefs Lamar Hunt, agreed on a merger that was finalized in 1966. 


The two leagues were destined to merge together in 1970 but in the meantime, the two league’s champions would play each other at the end of the season. Lamar Hunt suggested that the championship game should be called “Super Bowl” although Pete Rozzele believed a better title could be found. Sportswriters, on the other hand, kept calling it Super Bowl and the name stuck since 1967. 

The rise in popularity

The very first Super Bowl I where Green Bay Packers went against Kansas City Chiefs wasn’t as nearly as popular as the event is today. The game was held in the Los Angeles Coliseum and it didn’t even sell out. 


Experts at the time believed that football fans simply weren’t used to traveling to neutral sites. The game, however, did manage to gain around 65 million television viewers. It wasn’t until the Super Bowl III that the game started getting much more hype and popularity. Back then, the New York Jets won over Baltimore Colts, which gave the AFL league much more credibility. 


After the merger, NFL has split into American Football Conference (AFC) and the National Football Conference (NFC) where the champions of these two conferences would compete against each other at the end of each season. There’s always a two-week gap between the conference championship game so that the hype and the suspense would build up. 

The Super Bowl today

By 1974, the Super Bowl’s popularity grew to monumental proportions. American author, Norman Vincent Peale declared that if Christ was alive, he’d be at the Super Bowl. The entire nation watches the game nowadays and spending for Super Bowl advertisements continues to skyrocket. 


Last years’ Super Bowl got only around 90 million television viewers due to the pandemic but this year’s Super Bowl hit a record of 117 million television viewers. The Super Bowl is second only to the UEFA Championship League finals as the most watched sports club event in the entire world. 


Closing Words

The Super Bowl championship game is one of the most popular sports events in the world, not just the U.S. Since American football is mostly played in the U.S. you’d think that the rest of the world wouldn’t be so interested in watching the Super Bowl. In fact, a lot of people from all over the world are huge fans of the sport and the championship game itself.