The Super Bowl is the championship game of the National Football League, the pinnacle of American football. The game is almost like a national holiday for the United States. It is held annually on the last Sunday in January or the first Sunday in February, and is one of the most watched television broadcasts of the year.
The first Super Bowl was played in 1967.
An AFL-NFL Championship Game was first played after the 1966 football season on January 15, 1967, between the champions of the American Football League and the NFL. The game was a result of the merger agreement between the two leagues that took full effect for the 1970 season. The third such game, after the 1968 season, was called the "Super Bowl", and that name is now used to refer to the first two AFL-NFL Championship Games as well.
The name was inspired by Kansas City Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt's daughter playing with a small rubber ball with high bouncing powers called a super ball. After the 1970 season, the game reverted from an essentially interleague championship to the NFL championship, featuring the champions of the NFL's two conferences, the American Football Conference and the National Football Conference. The winning team receives the Vince Lombardi Trophy, named for the coach of the Green Bay Packers, who won the first two Super Bowl games. The trophy was named prior to Super Bowl V in his honor following his death in 1970.
Previous to the 1966 football season, American professional football's championship games were played for various league championships, and games were not played between league champions. The game was called the "All-America Football Conference Championship Game", the "AFL Championship Game" or the "NFL Championship Game", depending on the league playing it. (See: Professional American football championship games and National Football League championships).
Ratings and commercials
The Super Bowl tends to have high Nielsen television ratings which usually come in around a 40 rating and 60 share (i.e. on average, 40 percent of all U.S. households, and 60 percent of all homes tuned into television during the game). This means that on average, 80 to 90 million Americans are tuned into the Super Bowl at any given moment. Also it is estimated that 130-140 million tune into some part of the game. The most watched Super Bowl was 1998's Super Bowl XXXII between the Denver Broncos and Green Bay Packers which received a 44.5 rating and 67 share, attracting 90 million viewers. In terms of household percentage, the most watched was Super Bowl XVI in 1982 which was watched in 49.1% of households (73 share) or 40,020,000 households at the time.
Following Apple Computer's 1984 commercial introducing the Apple Macintosh computer, directed by Ridley Scott, the broadcast of the Super Bowl became the premier showcase for high concept or simply extravagantly expensive commercials. Famous commercial campaigns include the Budweiser "Thank you superbowl!" campaign, and the 1999 and 2000 dot-com ads. Prices have increased each year, reaching $2.4 million (US) for a 30 second spot during Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005.
The location of the Super Bowl is chosen well in advance, usually 3-5 years before the game. The chosen venues have either been located in the southern regions of the United States where the wintertime weather is expected to be mild, or in domed stadiums where weather is not an issue.
No NFL team has ever played the Super Bowl on its own home turf. However, Super Bowl XIV (which involved the then-Los Angeles Rams) was played in the Rose Bowl in nearby Pasadena; and Super Bowl XIX (which involved the San Francisco 49ers) was played at the nearby Stanford University Stadium in Palo Alto.
The designated "home team" alternates between the NFC team in odd-numbered years (the Philadelphia Eagles in 2005), and the AFC team in even-numbered years (the New England Patriots in 2004). The home team is given the choice of either wearing their colored jerseys or their white ones. While most home teams in the Super Bowl pick to wear their colored ones, the following decided to wear white: Cowboys in XIII, Redskins in XVII, Cowboys in XXVII
The television network showing the game changes from year to year. In the United States it is shared between three of the four major television networks - ABC, CBS, and FOX. Super Bowl XXXVIII was shown on CBS, Super Bowl XXXIX was shown on FOX, and Super Bowl XL will be shown on ABC.
- In the months leading up to Super Bowl XXX (30) it was discovered that some proxy servers were blocking the web site for the event. The reason for this was that "XXX" is usually associated with pornography, and proxy servers thought those trying to visit that site were trying to access pornography.
- Super Bowl XXXVI was originally scheduled to be played on January 27, 2002. But the game was moved back one week to February 3, 2002 because of the September 11, 2001 attacks. This was the first Super Bowl to be played in February. Most of the events thereafter were scheduled in February.
- Super Bowl XXXIX was the first such game to be tied after three quarters of play.
List of results
Super Bowl appearances
8 - Dallas Cowboys (won 5, lost 3)
6 - Denver Broncos (won 2, lost 4)
5 - San Francisco 49ers (won 5)
5 - Pittsburgh Steelers (won 4, lost 1)
5 - Oakland Raiders (won 3, lost 2; one win as Los Angeles Raiders)
5 - Washington Redskins (won 3, lost 2)
5 - New England Patriots (won 3, lost 2)
5 - Miami Dolphins (won 2, lost 3)
4 - Green Bay Packers (won 3, lost 1)
4 - Buffalo Bills (lost 4)
4 - Minnesota Vikings (lost 4)
3 - New York Giants (won 2, lost 1)
3 - St. Louis Rams (won 1, lost 2; one loss as Los Angeles Rams)
2 - Baltimore Colts (won 1, lost 1; franchise now Indianapolis Colts)
2 - Kansas City Chiefs (won 1, lost 1)
2 - Cincinnati Bengals (lost 2)
2 - Philadelphia Eagles (lost 2)
1 - Baltimore Ravens (won 1)
1 - Chicago Bears (won 1)
1 - New York Jets (won 1)
1 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers (won 1)
1 - Atlanta Falcons (lost 1)
1 - Carolina Panthers (lost 1)
1 - San Diego Chargers (lost 1)
1 - Tennessee Titans (lost 1)