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Making Super Bowl History

Atlanta’s Mercedes Benz Stadium during 2019’s Superbowl LIII.
Atlanta’s Mercedes Benz Stadium during 2019’s Superbowl LIII. Photo credit to kriztheman on Unsplash.

Every year in February, Americans from coast-to-coast gather around their televisions to watch this most iconic of sporting events – the Super Bowl. For over 50 years, we’ve been celebrating the excitement and high stakes of America’s biggest sports showcase, something that many believe is unrivaled anywhere else in the world.

Yet behind all that glitz and glamour lies an interesting history full of thrilling moments, unexpected shocks, and incredible plays. If you’re eager to learn more about one of modern America’s favorite pastimes, let us take you back through time to uncover some intriguing facts about the Super Bowl’s illustrious history.

The Super Bowl first came into being in 1966, when the National Football League (NFL) and American Football League (AFL) agreed to merge. This agreement meant that an annual championship game was now possible between the two leagues’ respective champions – a game which quickly became known as “The Big Game”. It was later re-named the Super Bowl.

The very first Super Bowl game was played in 1967 between the AFL’s Kansas City Chiefs and the NFL’s Green Bay Packers on January 15th at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. This historic moment set in motion a series of events that would culminate in the phenomenon we know today as the Super Bowl – an event that has become an American cultural institution. The first few Super Bowls were dominated by the more established NFL teams and it wasn’t until 1969 that the AFL’s New York Jets managed to break the mold when they became the first team outside of the NFL to win a Super Bowl game.

The original Super Bowls pitted the AFL teams against the NFL teams and the games were known as “AFL v NFL”. This was fine until 1970 when both leagues merged to form one single, unified league which we now know as the National Football League (NFL). At this point, team divisions changed from AFL v NFL to the American Football Conference (AFC) and National Football Conference (NFC). This is the system that continues to be used today and explains why certain teams are known as AFC teams and others as NFC teams.

Since the first Super Bowl in 1967, there have been many key moments and events that have shaped the game. The Miami Dolphins’ unbeaten season in 1972 saw them win all 14 regular season games as well as the Super Bowl. They remain the only team to go through a whole season undefeated and untied in NFL history. In 1979, the Pittsburgh Steelers became the first team to win three Super Bowls in a row.

The 1980s saw the rise of dynastic teams such as the San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Bears who, between them, won 7 Super Bowl titles in 10 years. This period also witnessed some iconic plays such as ‘The Catch’ by Joe Montana in 1982 which led the 49ers to their first title victory. In 1997, Denver Broncos Quarterback John Elway became the oldest player at 37 years old to be named Super Bowl MVP following his team’s 31-24 win over the Atlanta Falcons.

The Patriots worked an incredible comeback during 2017’s Super Bowl LI (51) against the Atlanta Falcons, coming back from being down 28–3 with just under 17 minutes remaining to eventually claim their fifth championship title in overtime. And finally, in 2018, Tom Brady made history when he became the first player ever to lead his team to six Super Bowl wins.

As Super Bowls have become increasingly popular, the half-time entertainment has evolved considerably. The very first game featured a 15-minute set by college marching bands, but this was quickly replaced with more memorable performances from top musical acts such as Prince, Madonna, and Michael Jackson. During 2004’s Superbowl XXXVIII (38) halftime show, Justin Timberlake ripped off part of Janet Jackson’s costume to expose her breast. It was a watershed moment in Super Bowl half-time entertainment history. Since then, the NFL has taken a much more family-friendly approach towards their halftime shows, favoring acts such as Bruno Mars, Katy Perry, and Lady Gaga.

Super Bowl LVII (57) will be played in Glendale Arizona, at State Farm Stadium. As they each won their respective conference titles, this year the Philadelphia Eagles will go up against the Kansas City Chiefs. With the emergence of new, young talent between both the Eagles and Chiefs, this could be one of the most exciting Super Bowls in recent memory.

Written by Editorial Team

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