By Ian Jiang
The Super Bowl is one of the world’s largest sporting events. This is the most popular broadcast sports event in the US, it had 112.3 million viewers this year in Super Bowl56. This year it was ranked number 10th in the world’s most-watched sports. How the NFL started from a small league to having one of the most watched championship games in the world could only be explained by the history of the Super Bowl.
The super bowl’s history started with the creation of the AFL (American Football League) in 1960. The AFL was created by businessmen who wanted their pro football franchise but were rejected by the NFL (National Football League) to create a team. The AFL was planned to be an alternative league for the NFL. This began a rivalry between the AFL and the NFL. After several years of competition in 1966 NFL commissioner, Pete Rozelle and Kansas City Chief owner Lamar Hunt negotiated a merger agreement in which the AFL would formally join the NFL in 1970. While the agreement is coming to effect Pete rozelle suggested that the champions of both leagues play in a final championship which would be called the Super Bowl. The first game was played in the Los Angeles coliseum between the Green Bay Packers representing the NFL and the Kansas City Chiefs representing the AFL.
This first game drew around 65 million viewers on TV, according to Michael MacCambridge, author of a history of pro football “fans simply weren't used to traveling to neutral sites.” which meant that fans aren’t used to a game not being played at one team’s home stadium. During the first Super Bowl Barr Starr, the Packers quarterback was the MVP after a decisive win of 35-10. The second Super Bowl resulted in the Packers winning over the Oakland Raiders 33-14. Both games resulted in an NFL victory. Starting in the 3rd Super Bowl, everybody believes that the NFL is going to win again. However, even with the public’s opinion of an NFL victory young quarterback Joe Namath guaranteed that the New York Jets would win against the Baltimore Colts. At halftime during that game people were surprised by the AFL’s New York Jets were leading the score, when Joe Namath left the field during halftime, he did the iconic raising the index finger pose signaling that he was number 1. By the time was over the unthinkable happened. The New York Jets won the game with a score of 16-7. This was the first AFL win in the Super Bowl. Immediately after the New York Jets’ victory at Super Bowl III the AFL’s credibility and confidence regained and the game finally grew in popularity.
By 1974 the Super Bowl’s popularity skyrocketed even with Norman Vincent Peale, a famous American author declaring that if Christ were alive "he'd be at the Super Bowl." As the merger agreement went into effect, the NFL and The AFL were separated into the NFC (National Football Conference) and the AFC (American Football Conference). As the Super Bowl grew in popularity more viewers around the country went to watch the annual Super Bowl. In the 1970s three teams were the Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, and the Pittsburgh Steelers that dominated the league winning a combined total of 10 Super Bowl wins. Apart from the game, another part of the Super Bowl was also tremendously famous among fans, this was the halftime show.
This year's Pepsi Halftime Show featured 6 rappers: Dr. Dre, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar, and 50 Cent. Each year as more viewers grew the Super Bowl experience was also improving with each annual game being played in a recently built or renovated stadium, this year it was played in the 5-billion-dollar Sofi Stadium in Inglewood, California. With all these experiences the cost of the Super Bowl is tremendous, the halftime shows alone this year was around 10 million US dollars, 6.5 million US dollars on commercials and other fees including equipment and all the preparation to go into the big game, the total cost for the Super Bowl on average was about 1.8 billion US dollars.
In conclusion, this big game that costs billions of dollars has a long history that makes it the most viewed game in the US. This year's season has been long and exciting as every other season but all the effort the teams put in would be concluded at the last game of the season.
The History of the Super Bowl. https://www.oah.org/tah/other-content/the-history-of-the-super-bowl/
Super Bowl History. https://www.history.com/topics/sports/super-bowl-history
NFL History – Super Bowl Winners. http://www.espn.com/nfl/superbowl/history/winners
Super Bowl History. Interview with Lynch Jiang.