February 8, 2023

A brief history of the Super Bowl

The Super Bowl is one of the most important events in sport and entertainment in the U.S. And it’s not just the happy hour specials, the jerseys and a day filled with american food. It’s a day where every fan that has ever played or followed a team while growing up lives one of their dreams.

Entertainment has its ways of influence in every population, but sport events are something quite special. Because even though there’s a level of rivalry between the two teams that have made it to the field (and in a country where racism and classism is so common), it’s just one of the days where most people forget about their differences and simply enjoy a game.

If you are part of the few people that don’t know or don’t remember the history of how it all started, this is a post for you. 

Fifty seven years ago there were two major Football Leagues, The National Football League (NFL)and the American Football League (AFL). The first one being created 40 years before the second one. 

Either way, each league had an important number of players and followers. And that created a big problem. Because both wanted the best players and the best popularity among the public. Which championship wouldn’t want to sell more tickets, right?

In 1966 both leagues decided to have a sit down and create an agreement that would eventually merge the leagues. But for the moment they were creating the most important championship. Where the best teams of both leagues would play and the winning team would have the honor of being the “World Champion”. The magnificent name they came up with?  The AFL-NFL World Championship Game. 

So yeah, it was not always called “The Super Bowl”. The name actually came 2 years after their start, in 1969. And although it is true that the championship’s first name wasn’t very catchy, the records say that they tried coming up with another name but the term stuck. There are a lot of anecdotes that explain how they got to this name, here are the two most popular. One of them has to do with a pop culture toy. History says that Lamar Hunt, founder of the AFL, was watching his kid play with a rubber “Super Ball”, hence he got the idea. On the other hand, there had been many College Football Finals that had already used the term “bowl” for their games, starting in 1902 at the Rose Bowl Stadium in California (a Stadium which does look like a bowl).

But let’s get back to the AFL-NFL agreement, the first great event was celebrated at the Los Angeles Coliseum on January 15, 1967 with the Green Bay Packers as their winners. Defeating the Kansas City Chiefs with a score of 35-10. Commercially this game didn’t sell out but it did have a great impact on live Tv, collecting 65 million viewers. Of course, such a show made all the coming Super Bowls a sell out. 

In 1970 the merge of both leagues finally happened, so the AFL disappeared and the NFL grew. That year a very important figure at the NFL passed away. Vince Lombardi, coach and executive with zero losing seasons and 105 wins as head coach of the NFL, died from cancer. Since that year and in order to honor him the Super Bowl trophy carries his name.

There are a lot of special moments in this game, like the coin toss, the national anthem or the halftime show, which is another important topic that could have a whole post on its own. But for now we can tell you that this year’s half-time show will be performed by the Umbrella singer and nine time Grammy Award winner, Rihanna. 

Who are you rooting for this Super Bowl?