Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Super Bowl Fun Facts

The Super Bowl has grown from a humble beginning into an American institution. It now draws the second largest TV audience for an individual sporting event in the world, trailing only the championship game of the men’s World Cup soccer tournament.

In Super Bowl XLV, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the champion of the American Football Conference, will play the Green Bay Packers, the champion of the National Football Conference.

This article shares a tiny bit of the lore of the biggest game in professional football -- a few Super Bowl fun facts.

AFL-NFL Championship Game

The first game to be officially called the Super Bowl was Super Bowl III, played in January 1969 to conclude the 1968 season.

The merger of the upstart American Football League and the National Football League was finalized prior to the start of the 1966 season.

The leagues didn’t merge under the name National Football League until 1970. But the agreement included the immediate creation of a championship game between the champions of the AFL and the NFL.

The official name of the first two games -- 1967 and 1968 – initially was AFL-NFL Championship Game.

The second of the Super Bowl fun facts is the answer to the question:

Who coined the term “Super Bowl?”

According to an article on, the The Dallas Morning News website, the late Lamar Hunt recalled in an interview videotaped for the Pro Football Hall of Fame how he coined the term “Super Bowl.”

Evidently, it was a Freudian slip. During a meeting, AFL and NFL owners were discussing when to play the new championship game -- one week or two weeks after the AFL and NFL championship games. According to Hunt, the owner of the Kansas City Chiefs of the AFL, another owner said, “What do you mean, ‘the championship game’?”
Hunt then blurted out: “Well, you know, the final game, the last game, the Super Bowl.” He also added that he probably blurted out “Super Bowl” because his children played with a Super Ball at home.

The ball, which bounces extraordinarily high, is still manufactured and marketed by Wham-O. It is now called “SuperBall.”

The final six of the Super Bowl fun facts are shorter:

Montana Will Remain No. 1

Regardless of who is named the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XLV, Joe Montana will remain the player with the most Super Bowl MVP awards -- three. Playing for the San Francisco 49ers, quarterback Montana was named the MVP in Super Bowl XVI, XIX and XXIV, all of which were won by the 49ers.

Only one player who will see action on Sunday has a Super Bowl MVP to his credit. Pittsburgh wide receiver Hines Ward was the MVP of Super Bowl XL – a 21-10 Steelers’ win over Seattle.

Back on Artificial Turf

The playing surface in Cowboys Stadium is artificial turf.

The prior four Super Bowls were played on natural grass – XLI at Dolphin Stadium (now called Sun Life Stadium), XLII at University of Phoenix Stadium, XLIII at Raymond James Stadium and XLIV last year at Dolphin Stadium.

Retractable Roof

Cowboys Stadium’s retractable roof will be closed throughout Super Bowl XLV. This will be the third Super Bowl played in a stadium with a retractable roof. For Super Bowl XXXVIII, the roof at Reliant Stadium was open before the game and at halftime, but was closed during the game.
The roof at University of Phoenix Stadium was closed throughout Super Bowl XLII.

Imitation: The Sincerest Form of Flattery

The 2010 Packers are only the second No. 6 seed to make the Super Bowl since the adoption of the current playoff format. The other team was the 2004 Steelers which won Super Bowl XL over Seattle.

Road Warriors

To reach Super Bowl XL, the 2004 Steelers defeated, on the road, third-seeded Cincinnati, top-seeded Indianapolis and second-seeded Denver in the AFC playoffs. To reach this year’s Super Bowl, the Packers defeated third-seeded Philadelphia, top-seeded Atlanta and second-seeded Chicago in the NFC playoffs.


The cost of a 30-second commercial in the telecast of Super Bowl XLV on Fox was approximately $3 million.

The cost of a 30-second commercial in the telecast of the initial game in 1967 on NBC and CBS was $42K.

..and there you have it: 8 glorious fun facts.

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