The Big Game in the NFL is one of the most popular sporting events every year, and has been since the very first one. Find out more about the history of the Super Bowl, how it has evolved, and the legacy it holds today.
Last Updated: 17/02/23 at 11:20 am
The Super Bowl is the culmination of the whole NFL season for that year. The 32 teams are whittled down to just two, with the winner being crowned that season’s champion.
But the Super Bowl itself has become something more than just the final game of the NFL season. It has become an integral part of American culture, and with the league’s popularity growing across the world, it has become a globally-enjoyed event.
Find out the history of the Super Bowl, its evolution into the sporting event it has become today, and the legacy it holds.
The Origins of the Super Bowl
The Super Bowl was first played on January 15, 1967, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. It was originally called the AFL-NFL World Championship Game, and was created as a way to determine the best team in the NFL and the American Football League (AFL).
The name ‘Super Bowl I’ was given retroactively after an agreement came together to call it as such.
The first Super Bowl was played between the Green Bay Packers of the NFL and the Kansas City Chiefs of the AFL, and was won by the Packers with a score of 35-10.
Back then, it wasn’t all one league, but instead there was the NFL and AFL, hence the original name. There was considerable animosity between the two leagues, adding to the pressure for both sides to win the game.
The Packers of the NFL were heavy favourites to win due to the league being around longer. But the Chiefs started out hot and were leading at half time 14-10.
It wasn’t until a crucial interception by the Packers in the third quarter that they kicked things into gear, scoring 25 unanswered points to take the victory in the first ever Super Bowl.
The Growth of the Super Bowl
The 1970s was the first decade of the Super Bowl and saw the NFL dominate the competition, with the league winning six of the first ten Super Bowls. This period was characterised by the emergence and the dominance of great NFL teams such as the Pittsburgh Steelers, Dallas Cowboys, and the Miami Dolphins.
The 80s then flipped that, with top AFL teams such as the San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bears and New York Giants dominating this period. The AFL would go on to win six of their own Super Bowls in this 10 year span.
Things started to level out in the 90s, with both leagues more aligned with one another and becoming more balanced and competitive, now coming to be known simply as the NFL, with the AFC and NFC conferences within the league. Again, new teams started to shine during this era, such as the Denver Broncos and the Buffalo Bills.
From the 2000s onwards, the NFL would see a new superpower in the form of a Bill Belichick-led New England Patriots with their star Quarterback, Tom Brady. They would go on to win three Super Bowls in the first decade of the new millennium, and six altogether, making 13 AFC Championship games while Brady was their QB.
Advances on and off the field
But like mentioned earlier, the Super Bowl isn’t just about the game on the field anymore. It's so much more than that now.
The Super Bowl has undergone many changes over the years, and the game has evolved to meet the changing demands of fans and players.
American football as a whole changed in the mid 2000s to become a more pass-focused game. Players such as Tom Brady and the Manning brothers, Payton and Eli, really showed how much of a game changer having a reliable QB is.
The game has become more technologically advanced, with instant replay, high-definition television, and advanced statistics making it easier for fans to follow the action.
This has led to fans feeling more involved in the game as they are able to track everything about it. And this didn’t just apply to the Super Bowl, but to all aspects of the sport.
But the biggest change of all has to be the halftime show, which has now become its own big event in its own right.
The Super Bowl halftime show is where a music act can put on their greatest performance on one of the grandest stages they will ever perform at, with thousands of fans watching in attendance and millions at home watching live.
Some of music's biggest names have performed during the halftime show, including Michael Jackson, Beyoncé, and Madonna. Many people who aren’t even interested in the game will tune in at half time just to watch the performance.
And in America, the half time ad spots provide the perfect opportunity for some companies to branch out and spend millions on their biggest campaign, creating some of the most spectacular and must-see ads of the year!
The Legacy of the Super Bowl
The Super Bowl has become a part of American culture, and its legacy will continue to endure for generations to come. The game is a celebration of American sports and the American spirit, and it has become a symbol of excellence in the sport and American Sports as a whole.
American football isn’t just a sport for the American’s anymore, though. The NFL's popularity in Europe and around the world is and has been growing for some time now. While the Super Bowl isn’t just yet on the level of the World Cup Final, it is certainly one of the most watched sporting events of the year every year around the globe.
The Super Bowl will continue to evolve, but its legacy as one of the biggest sporting events in the world will always remain.
The most recent Super Bowl champions ended up being the Kansas City Chiefs, the side who lost in the very first Super Bowl.
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You never know what you're going to get each year in the Super Bowl, and that has only added to the excitement that any fan can enjoy. Read our blog about some of the most exciting moments in Super Bowl history!