The history of the Super Bowl is not just about the first bowl game or how the tradition started; those details are pretty short and sweet. More often, when people are interested in learning about the Super Bowl’s past, they are trying to figure out how many times their favorite team made it to the big playoff, who they played and whether they won or lost. Of course there are a lot of “best of” and “worst of” lists to add to the Super Bowl’s history too. Without further ado, let us delve into some of the more interesting parts of this much-loved American event and tradition.
The very first super bowl was in 1967. It was (presumably) a cold day on January 15th of that year that two football teams got together from two different leagues to battle it out for the top spot and a trophy. The game was played in LA at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Okay, maybe it was not that cold at the game, but people were watching it from places that were chilly, for sure. Millions of people tuned into the game on television, thus launching one of the most popular television-watching days of the year, and eventually sparking enormous costs to advertisers during commercial breaks later on.
Back in the ’60s there were two separate factions of professional football. There was the National Football League (NFL) and the American Football League (AFL). As long as they both existed there was a pretty bitter rivalry between the two. But by the mid-sixties financial problems would force them to merge into what we know today as the NFL. They brokered a gradual merger and shared that first bowl game. But by 1970 the AFL was absorbed into the NFL and was to be no more.
That first game was between the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs. The Packers stomped the Chiefs in a 35-10 victory. Vince Lombardi coached the Packers in that game and when he passed away in 1970 they named the Super Bowl trophy after him; its official title being The Vince Lombardi Trophy. Not the most creative and original name in the world, but a very effective way to honor a legendary coach, nonetheless.
What about the name, “Super Bowl?” Turns out that was not what it was initially called. At first the title was a little more ambitious and people were calling it “The World Championship Game.” One guy, though, dared to be different. One of the AFL founders, Lamar Hunt, had tickets printed up with the words “Super Bowl” on them. He figured it was good enough until something better could be decided upon. I am sure you can guess the name stuck, since the Super Bowl is what we call it to this day; this also works quite well in regards to College football and their championship game, called the “Bowl Games”.
All told, there have been 44 Super Bowl games and untold numbers of munchies and gallons of beer consumed during their time. And the most interesting part of Super Bowl history probably has to do with the biggest upsets and most major plays. Here is a quick mention of some of the more infamous history moments…
Picture it, Super Bowl 2010. You have got Petyon Manning with the Colts who are a shoe-in for the win. Then you have got the Saints, who are a shoe-in for the lose. With a little over five minutes to go, the Saints’ cornerback, Tracy Porter, picked off a third-down pass, ran 72 yards with it and scored a touchdown. New Orleans got its first Super Bowl trophy as a result.
The 1976 game is one you actually have to see to believe. That is because Lynn Swan (with the Steelers) ran an amazing 161-yard game and made a beautiful 64-yard catch in the fourth quarter. He was the first wide receiver to be named Super Bowl’s most valuable player.
Adam Vinateri won the Super Bowl for his team (New England) not once, but twice. First in 2002, his field goal beat the Rams and then in 2004 his last-play field goal won it against the Carolina Panthers.
There are so many great moments in the Super Bowl history, it is hard to mention them all. But if you are a true lover of the game, there can never be too many awe-inspiring moments to recount.