|First played||January 15, 1967|
|Trophy||Vince Lombardi Trophy|
|Recent and upcoming games|
|Super Bowl XLIX
University of Phoenix Stadium
(February 1, 2015)
New England Patriots 28
Seattle Seahawks 24
|Super Bowl 50
(February 7, 2016)
The Super Bowl is the annual championship game of the National Football League (NFL), the highest level of professional football in the United States, culminating a season that begins in the late summer of the previous calendar year. The Super Bowl normally uses Roman numerals to identify each game, rather than the year in which it is held. For example, Super Bowl I was played on January 15, 1967, following the 1966 regular season. The lone exception will be the next game, Super Bowl 50, which will be played on February 7, 2016, following the 2015 season.
The game was created as part of a merger agreement between the NFL and its then-rival league, the American Football League (AFL). It was agreed that the two leagues' champion teams would play in the AFL–NFL World Championship Game until the merger was to officially begin in 1970. After the merger, each league was redesignated as a "conference", and the game was then played between the conference champions. Currently, the National Football Conference (NFC) leads the league with 26 wins to 23 wins for the American Football Conference (AFC). The Pittsburgh Steelers hold the record for Super Bowl victories with six.
The day on which the Super Bowl is played, now considered by some an unofficial American national holiday, is called "Super Bowl Sunday". It is the second-largest day for U.S. food consumption, after Thanksgiving Day. In addition, the Super Bowl has frequently been the most-watched American television broadcast of the year; the four most-watched broadcasts in U.S. television history are Super Bowls. In 2015, Super Bowl XLIX became the most-watched American television program in history with an average audience of 114.4 million viewers, the fifth time in six years the game had set a record, starting with the 2010 Super Bowl, which itself had taken over the number-one spot held for 27 years by the final episode of M*A*S*H. The Super Bowl is also among the most-watched sporting events in the world, almost all audiences being North American, and is second to soccer's UEFA Champions League final as the most watched annual sporting event worldwide.
The NFL restricts the use of its "Super Bowl" trademark; it is frequently called the Big Game or other generic terms by non-sponsoring corporations. Because of the high viewership, commercial airtime during the Super Bowl broadcast is the most expensive of the year, leading to companies regularly developing their most expensive advertisements for this broadcast. As a result, watching and discussing the broadcast's commercials has become a significant aspect of the event. In addition, popular singers and musicians including Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince, The Rolling Stones, The Who, and Whitney Houston have performed during the event's pre-game and halftime ceremonies.
- 1 Origin
- 2 Date
- 3 Game history
- 4 Television coverage and ratings
- 5 Entertainment
- 6 Venue
- 7 Super Bowl trademark
- 8 Use of the phrase "world champions"
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 Further reading
- 12 External links
For four decades after its 1920 inception, the NFL successfully fended off several rival leagues. However, in 1960, it encountered its most serious competitor when the American Football League (AFL) was formed. The AFL vied heavily with the NFL for both players and fans, but by the middle of the decade the strain of competition led to serious merger talks between the two leagues. Prior to the 1966 season, the NFL and AFL reached a merger agreement that was to take effect for the 1970 season. As part of the merger, the champions of the two leagues agreed to meet in a world championship game for professional American football until the merger was effected.
Lamar Hunt, owner of the AFL's Kansas City Chiefs, first used the term "Super Bowl" to refer to this game in the merger meetings. Hunt would later say the name was likely in his head because his children had been playing with a Super Ball toy (a vintage example of the ball is on display at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio). In a July 25, 1966, letter to NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle, Hunt wrote, "I have kiddingly called it the 'Super Bowl,' which obviously can be improved upon." Although the leagues' owners decided on the name "AFL-NFL Championship Game," the media immediately picked up on Hunt's "Super Bowl" name, which would become official beginning with the third annual game.
The "Super Bowl" name was derived from the bowl game, a post-season college football game. The original "bowl game" was the Rose Bowl Game in Pasadena, California, which was first played in 1902 as the "Tournament East-West football game" as part of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses and moved to the new Rose Bowl Stadium in 1923. The stadium got its name from the fact that the game played there was part of the Tournament of Roses and that it was shaped like a bowl, much like the Yale Bowl in New Haven, Connecticut; the Tournament of Roses football game itself eventually came to be known as the Rose Bowl Game. Exploiting the Rose Bowl Game's popularity, post-season college football contests were created for Miami (the Orange Bowl), New Orleans (the Sugar Bowl), and El Paso, TX (the Sun Bowl) in 1935, and for Dallas (the Cotton Bowl) in 1937. Thus, by the time the first Super Bowl was played, the term "bowl" for any big-time American football game was well established.
After the NFL's Green Bay Packers won the first two Super Bowls, some team owners feared for the future of the merger. At the time, many doubted the competitiveness of AFL teams compared with their NFL counterparts, though that perception changed when the AFL's New York Jets defeated the NFL's Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III in Miami. One year later, the AFL's Kansas City Chiefs defeated the NFL's Minnesota Vikings 23–7 in Super Bowl IV in New Orleans, which was the final AFL-NFL World Championship Game played before the merger. Beginning with the 1970 season, the NFL realigned into two conferences; the former AFL teams plus three NFL teams (the Colts, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Cleveland Browns) would constitute the American Football Conference (AFC), while the remaining NFL clubs would form the National Football Conference (NFC). The champions of the two conferences would play each other in the Super Bowl.
The winning team receives the Vince Lombardi Trophy, named after the coach of the Green Bay Packers, who won the first two Super Bowl games and three of the five preceding NFL championships in 1961, 1962, and 1965. Following Lombardi's death in September 1970, the trophy was named the Vince Lombardi Trophy, and was the first awarded as such to the Baltimore Colts following their win in Super Bowl V in Miami.
The game is played annually on a Sunday as the final game of the NFL Playoffs. Originally, the game took place in early to mid-January, following a fourteen-game regular season and two rounds of playoffs. Over the years, the date of the Super Bowl has progressed from the second Sunday in January, to the third, and then the fourth Sunday in January; the game is currently played on the first Sunday in February, given the current seventeen-week (sixteen games and one bye week) regular season and three rounds of playoffs. Also, February is television's "sweeps" month, thus affording the television network carrying the game an immense opportunity to pad its viewership when negotiating for advertising revenue. The progression of the dates of the Super Bowl was caused by several factors: the expansion of the NFL's regular season in 1978 from fourteen games to sixteen; the expansion of the pre-Super Bowl playoff field from four teams (two AFL and two NFL) in the 1966–67 season, to six in 1967–68 (two AFL and four NFL), to eight (four AFL and four NFL) in the 1969–70 season which was continued after the merger, then to ten in 1978–79, and finally twelve in 1990–91, necessitating additional rounds of playoffs; the addition of the regular season bye-week in the 1990s; and the decision to start the regular season the week following Labor Day.
To date, 36 games have been played in January, and 13 in February. The earliest game played was Super Bowl XI on January 9, 1977. The latest played was Super Bowl XLIV on February 7, 2010. The most frequent date for the game has been January 26, with four games played. Between January 9 and February 7, the only dates not to feature the game have been January 10, 19 and 23. Super Bowl XLVIII was the first Super Bowl played on February 2, a date commonly celebrated as Groundhog Day.
|San Francisco 49ers||5|
|Green Bay Packers||4**|
|New England Patriots||4|
|New York Giants||4|
|Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders||3|
|Kansas City Chiefs||1*|
|St. Louis Rams||1|
|New Orleans Saints||1|
|New York Jets||1*|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||1|
|Number of * indicates Super Bowl title(s) before the 1970 AFL–NFL merger when it was also known as the AFL–NFL World Championship Game.
List of Super Bowl champions
The Pittsburgh Steelers have won six Super Bowls, the most of any team; the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers have five victories each, while the Green Bay Packers, New York Giants and New England Patriots have four Super Bowl championships. Thirteen other NFL franchises have won at least one Super Bowl. Nine teams have appeared in Super Bowl games without a win. The Minnesota Vikings were the first team to have appeared a record four times without a win. The Buffalo Bills played in a record four Super Bowls in a row, and lost every one. Four teams (the Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Houston Texans) have never appeared in a Super Bowl. The Browns and Lions both won NFL Championships prior to the Super Bowl's creation, while the Jaguars (1995) and Texans (2002) are both recent NFL expansion teams. The Minnesota Vikings won the last NFL Championship before the merger, but lost to the AFL champion Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl IV.
1960s: Early history
The Green Bay Packers won the first two Super Bowls, defeating the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders following the 1966 and 1967 seasons, respectively. The Packers were led by quarterback Bart Starr, who was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) for both games. These two championships, coupled with the Packers' NFL championships in 1961, 1962, and 1965, amount to the most successful stretch in NFL History; five championships in seven years.
In Super Bowl III, the AFL's New York Jets defeated the eighteen-point favorite Baltimore Colts of the NFL, 16–7. The Jets were led by quarterback Joe Namath (who had famously guaranteed a Jets win prior to the game) and former Colts head coach Weeb Ewbank, and their victory proved that the AFL was the NFL's competitive equal. This was reinforced the following year, when the AFL's Kansas City Chiefs defeated the NFL's Minnesota Vikings 23–7 in Super Bowl IV.
1970s: Dominant franchises
After the AFL–NFL merger was completed in 1970, three franchises – the Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, and Pittsburgh Steelers – would go on to dominate the 1970s, winning a combined eight Super Bowls in the decade.
The Baltimore Colts, now a member of the AFC, would start the decade by defeating the Cowboys in Super Bowl V, a game which is notable as being the only Super Bowl to date in which a player from the losing team won the Super Bowl MVP Award (Cowboys' linebacker Chuck Howley).
The Cowboys, coming back from a loss the previous season, won Super Bowl VI over the Dolphins. However, this would be the Dolphins' final loss in over a year, as the next year, the Dolphins would go 14–0 in the regular season, and cap it off with a victory in Super Bowl VII, becoming the first and only team to finish an entire perfect regular and post season. The Dolphins would win Super Bowl VIII a year later.
In the late 1970s, the Steelers became the first NFL dynasty of the post-merger era by winning four Super Bowls (IX, X, XIII, and XIV) in six years. They were led by head coach Chuck Noll, the play of offensive stars Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris, Lynn Swann, John Stallworth, and Mike Webster, and their dominant "Steel Curtain" defense, led by "Mean" Joe Greene, L.C. Greenwood, Ernie Holmes, Mel Blount, Jack Ham, and Jack Lambert. The coaches and administrators also were part of the dynasty's greatness as evidenced by the team's "final pieces" being part of the famous 1974 draft. The selections in that class have been considered the best by any pro franchise ever, as Pittsburgh selected four future Hall of Famers, the most for any team in any sport in a single draft. The Steelers were the first team to win three and then four Super Bowls and appeared in six AFC Championship Games during the decade, making the playoffs in eight straight seasons. Nine players and three coaches and administrators on the team have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Pittsburgh still remains the only team to win back-to-back Super Bowls twice and four Super Bowls in a six-year period.
1980s and 1990s: The NFC's winning streak
In the 1980s and 1990s, the tables turned for the AFC, as the NFC dominated the Super Bowls of the new decade and most of those of the 1990s. The NFC won 16 of the 20 Super Bowls during these two decades, including 13 straight from Super Bowl XIX to Super Bowl XXXI.
The most successful team of the 1980s was the San Francisco 49ers, which featured the West Coast offense of Hall of Fame head coach Bill Walsh. This offense was led by three-time Super Bowl MVP and Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana, Super Bowl MVP and Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice, and tight end Brent Jones. Under their leadership, the 49ers won four Super Bowls in the decade (XVI, XIX, XXIII, and XXIV) and made nine playoff appearances between 1981 and 1990, including eight division championships, becoming the second dynasty of the post-merger NFL.
The 1980s also produced the 1985 Chicago Bears, who posted an 18–1 record under head coach Mike Ditka; colorful quarterback Jim McMahon; and Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton. Their team won Super Bowl XX in dominating fashion. The Washington Redskins and New York Giants were also top teams of this period; the Redskins won Super Bowls XVII, XXII, and XXVI. The Giants claimed Super Bowls XXI and XXV. As in the 1970s, the Oakland Raiders were the only team to interrupt the Super Bowl dominance of other teams; they won Super Bowls XV and XVIII (the latter as the Los Angeles Raiders).
Following several seasons with poor records in the 1980s, the Dallas Cowboys rose back to prominence in the 1990s. During this decade, the Cowboys made post-season appearances every year except for the seasons of 1990 and 1997. From 1992 to 1996, the Cowboys won their division championship each year. In this same period, the Buffalo Bills had made their mark reaching the Super Bowl for 4 consecutive years, only to lose in all of them. After Super Bowl championships by division rivals New York (1990) and Washington (1991), the Cowboys won three of the next four Super Bowls (XXVII, XXVIII, and XXX) led by quarterback Troy Aikman, running back Emmitt Smith, and wide receiver Michael Irvin. All three of these players went to the Hall of Fame. The Cowboys' streak was interrupted by the 49ers, who won their league-leading fifth title overall with Super Bowl XXIX in dominating fashion under Super Bowl MVP and Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young, Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice, and Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders; however, the Cowboys' victory in Super Bowl XXX the next year also gave them five titles overall and they did so with Deion Sanders after he won the Super Bowl the previous year with the San Francisco 49ers. The NFC's winning streak was continued by the Green Bay Packers who, under quarterback Brett Favre, won Super Bowl XXXI, their first championship since Super Bowl II in the late 1960s.
1997–2009: AFC resurgence
Super Bowl XXXII saw quarterback John Elway and running back Terrell Davis lead the Denver Broncos to an upset victory over the defending champion Packers, snapping the NFC's 13 year winning streak. The following year, the Broncos defeated the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl XXXIII, Elway's fifth Super Bowl appearance, his second NFL championship, and his final NFL game. The back-to-back victories heralded a change in momentum in which AFC teams would win 10 out of 13 Super Bowls. In the years between 2001 and 2011, three teams – the Patriots, Steelers, and Colts – accounted for ten of the AFC Super Bowl appearances, with those same teams often meeting each other earlier in the playoffs. In contrast, the NFC saw a different representative in the Super Bowl every season from 2001 through 2010.
The year following the Denver Broncos' second victory, however, a surprising St. Louis Rams led by undrafted quarterback Kurt Warner would close out the 1990s in a wild battle against the Tennessee Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV. The tense game came down to the final play in which Tennessee had the opportunity to tie the game and send it to overtime. The Titans nearly pulled it off, but the tackle of receiver Kevin Dyson by linebacker Mike Jones kept the ball out of the end zone by a matter of inches. In 2007, ESPN would rank "The Tackle" as the 2nd greatest moment in Super Bowl history.
Super Bowl XXXV was played by the AFC's Baltimore Ravens and the NFC's New York Giants. The Ravens defeated the Giants by the score of 34–7. The game was played on January 28, 2001, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.
The New England Patriots became the dominant team throughout the early 2000s, winning the championship three out of four years early in the decade. They would become only the second team in the history of the NFL to do so (after the 1990s Dallas Cowboys). In Super Bowl XXXVI, first-year starting quarterback Tom Brady led his team to a 20–17 upset victory over the St. Louis Rams. Brady would go on to win the MVP award for this game. The Patriots also won Super Bowls XXXVIII and XXXIX defeating the Carolina Panthers and the Philadelphia Eagles respectively. This four-year stretch of Patriot dominance was only interrupted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 48-21 Super Bowl XXXVII victory over the Oakland Raiders.
The Pittsburgh Steelers and Indianapolis Colts continued the era of AFC dominance by winning Super Bowls XL and XLI in 2005-06 and 2006–07, respectively defeating the Seattle Seahawks and Chicago Bears.
In the 2007 season, the Patriots became the second team in NFL history to have a perfect regular season record, after the 1972 Miami Dolphins, and the first to finish 16–0. They easily marched through the AFC playoffs and were heavy favorites in Super Bowl XLII. However, they lost that game to Eli Manning and the New York Giants 17–14, leaving the Patriots' 2007 record at 18-1.
2010–present: The NFC re-emerges
The 2010s have seen a return to dominance by NFC teams. Between 2010 and 2015, four of the six Super Bowl winners hailed from the NFC.
The Giants won another title after the 2011 season, again defeating the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI. Prior to that Super Bowl victory, the New Orleans Saints won their first (XLIV) by defeating the Indianapolis Colts in February 2010, and the Green Bay Packers won their fourth Super Bowl (XLV) and record thirteenth NFL championship overall by defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers in February 2011.
Super Bowl XLVIII, played at New Jersey's MetLife Stadium in February 2014, was the first Super Bowl held outdoors in a cold weather environment. The Seattle Seahawks won their first NFL title with a 43-8 defeat of the Denver Broncos, in a highly touted matchup that pitted Seattle's top-ranked defense against a Peyton-Manning-led Denver offense that had broken the NFL's single-season scoring record.
The Super Bowls of the 2000s and early 2010s are notable for the performances (and the pedigrees) of several of the participating quarterbacks. During that era, Tom Brady (six Super Bowl appearances, four wins), Ben Roethlisberger (three appearances, two wins), Peyton Manning (three appearances, one win), Eli Manning (two appearances, two wins), Kurt Warner (three appearances, one win), Drew Brees (one appearance, one win), Aaron Rodgers (one appearance, one win), Joe Flacco (one appearance, one win), and Russell Wilson (two appearances, one win) have all added Super Bowl championships to their lists of individual accomplishments.
Television coverage and ratings
The Super Bowl is one of the most watched annual sporting events in the world. The only other annual events that gather more viewers are the UEFA Champions League final, and El Clásico in Spain. For many years, the Super Bowl has possessed a large US and global television viewership, and it is often the most watched United States originating television program of the year. The game tends to have high Nielsen television ratings, which is usually around a 40 rating and 60 share. This means that on average, more than 100 million people from the United States alone are tuned into the Super Bowl at any given moment.
In press releases preceding each year's event, the NFL typically claims that that year's Super Bowl will have a potential worldwide audience of around one billion people in over 200 countries. This figure refers to the number of people able to watch the game, not the number of people actually watching. However the statements have been frequently misinterpreted in various media as referring to the latter figure, leading to a common misperception about the game's actual global audience. The New York-based media research firm Initiative measured the global audience for the 2005 Super Bowl at 93 million people, with 98 percent of that figure being viewers in North America, which meant roughly 2 million people outside North America watched the Super Bowl that year.
2015's Super Bowl XLIX holds the record for total number of U.S. viewers, with a final number of 114.4 million, making the game the most-viewed television broadcast of any kind in American history. The halftime show was the most watched ever with 118.5 million viewers tuning in, and an all-time high of 168 million viewers in the United States had watched several portions of the Super Bowl 2015 broadcast. The game set a record for total viewers for the fifth time in six years.
The highest-rated game according to Nielsen was Super Bowl XVI in 1982, which was watched in 49.1 percent of households (73 share), or 40,020,000 households at the time. Ratings for that game, a San Francisco victory over Cincinnati, may have been aided by a large blizzard that had affected much of the northeastern United States on game day, leaving residents to stay at home more than usual. Super Bowl XVI still ranks fourth on Nielsen's list of top-rated programs of all time, and three other Super Bowls, XII, XVII, and XX, made the top ten.
Famous commercial campaigns include the Budweiser "Bud Bowl" campaign and the 1999 and 2000 dot-com ads. Prices have increased every year, with advertisers paying as much as $3.5 million for a thirty-second spot during Super Bowl XLVI in 2012. A segment of the audience tunes into the Super Bowl solely to view commercials. In 2010, Nielsen reported that 51 percent of Super Bowl viewers tune in for the commercials. The Super Bowl halftime show has spawned another set of alternative entertainment such as the Lingerie Bowl, the Beer Bottle Bowl, and others.
The Super Bowl is scheduled for East Coast viewers, and has begun between 6:19 and 6:40 PM EST since 1991.
Super Bowl on TV
|Network||Number broadcast||Years broadcast||Future scheduled telecasts**[›]|
|ABC*[›]||7||1985, 1988, 1991, 1995, 2000, 2003, 2006||*[›]|
|CBS||18||1967***[›], 1968, 1970, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1978, 1980, 1982, 1984, 1987, 1990, 1992, 2001, 2004, 2007, 2010, 2013||2016, 2019, 2022|
|Fox||7||1997, 1999, 2002, 2005, 2008, 2011, 2014||2017, 2020, 2023|
|NBC||18||1967***[›], 1969, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1979, 1981, 1983, 1986, 1989, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2009, 2012, 2015||2018, 2021|
Note: Years listed are the year the game was actually played (will be played) rather than what NFL season it is considered to have been.
^ *: Not currently broadcasting NFL games.
^ **: The extended current TV contracts with the networks expire after the 2022 season (or Super Bowl LVII in early 2023) and the Super Bowl is rotated annually between CBS, Fox and NBC in that order.
^ ***: The first Super Bowl was simultaneously broadcast by CBS and NBC, with each network using the same video feed, but providing its own commentary.
Super Bowls I–VI were blacked out in the television markets of the host cities, due to league restrictions then in place.
- Game analyst John Madden is the only person to broadcast a Super Bowl for each of the four networks that have televised the game (5 with CBS, 3 with Fox, 2 with ABC, 1 with NBC).
The Super Bowl provides an extremely strong lead-in to programming following it on the same channel, the effects of which can last for several hours. For instance, in discussing the ratings of a local TV station, Buffalo television critic Alan Pergament noted on the coattails from Super Bowl XLVII, which aired on CBS: "A paid program that ran on Channel 4 (WIVB-TV) at 2:30 in the morning had a 1.3 rating. That’s higher than some CW prime time shows get on WNLO-TV, Channel 4’s sister station."
Because of this strong coattail effect, the network that airs the Super Bowl typically takes advantage of the large audience to air an episode of a hit series, or to premiere the pilot of a promising new one in the lead-out slot, which immediately follows the Super Bowl and post-game coverage.
Initially, it was sort of a novelty and so it didn't quite feel right. But it was just like, this is the year. ... Bands of our generation, you can sort of be seen on a stage like this or, like, not seen. There's not a lot of middle places. It is a tremendous venue.
Early Super Bowls featured a halftime show consisting of marching bands from local colleges or high schools; but as the popularity of the game increased, a trend where popular singers and musicians performed during its pre-game ceremonies and the halftime show, or simply sang the national anthem of the United States, emerged. Unlike regular season or playoff games, thirty minutes are allocated for the Super Bowl halftime. The first halftime show to have featured only one star performer was Super Bowl XXVII in 1993, at which Michael Jackson performed. The NFL specifically went after him to increase viewership and to continue expanding the Super Bowl's realm. Sports bloggers have ranked Jackson's appearance as the No. 1 Super Bowl halftime show since its inception. Another notable performance came during Super Bowl XXXVI in 2002, when U2 performed; during their third song, "Where the Streets Have No Name", the band played under a large projection screen which scrolled through names of the victims of the September 11 attacks.
The halftime show of Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004 generated controversy when Justin Timberlake removed a piece of Janet Jackson's top, exposing her right breast with a star-shaped pastie around the nipple. Timberlake and Jackson have maintained that the incident was accidental, calling it a "wardrobe malfunction". The game was airing live on CBS, and MTV had produced the halftime show. Immediately after the moment, the footage jump-cut to a wide-angle shot and went to a commercial break; however, video captures of the moment in detail circulated quickly on the internet. The NFL, embarrassed by the incident, permanently banned MTV from conducting future halftime shows. This also led to the FCC tightening controls on indecency and fining CBS and CBS-owned stations a total of $550,000 for the incident. The fine was later reversed in July 2008. CBS and MTV eventually split into two separate companies in part because of the fiasco, with CBS going under the control of CBS Corporation and MTV falling under the banner of Viacom (although both corporations remain under the ownership of National Amusements). For six years following the incident, all of the performers in Super Bowl halftime shows were artists associated with the classic rock genre of the 1970s and 1980s (including three acts from the British Invasion of the 1960s), with only one act playing the entire halftime show. Paul McCartney (formerly of The Beatles) played Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005, The Rolling Stones played Super Bowl XL in 2006, and The Who played Super Bowl XLIV in 2010. The halftime show returned to a modern act in 2011 with The Black Eyed Peas. But during the halftime show of Super Bowl XLVI in 2012, M.I.A. gave the middle finger during a performance of "Give Me All Your Luvin'" with Madonna, which was caught by TV cameras. An attempt to censor the gesture by blurring the entire screen came late.
Excluding Super Bowl XXXIX, the famous "I'm going to Disney World!" advertising campaign took place at every Super Bowl since Super Bowl XXI, when quarterback Phil Simms from the New York Giants became the first player to say the tagline.
As of Super Bowl XLVIII, 27 of 49 Super Bowls have been played in three cities: New Orleans (ten times), the Greater Miami area (ten times), and the Greater Los Angeles area (seven times). Stadiums that do not host an NFL franchise are not, by rule, prohibited from hosting the Super Bowl, and non-NFL stadiums have hosted the game nine times, with the Rose Bowl accounting for five of these. To date, however, no market or region without an NFL franchise has ever hosted a Super Bowl; all five Rose Bowl Super Bowls were hosted before the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Raiders left for St. Louis and Oakland respectively in 1995.
No team has ever played the Super Bowl in its home stadium. The closest have been the San Francisco 49ers who played Super Bowl XIX in Stanford Stadium, rather than Candlestick Park, and the Los Angeles Rams who played Super Bowl XIV in the Rose Bowl, rather than the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. In both cases, the stadium in which the Super Bowl was held was perceived to be a better stadium for a large, high-profile event than the stadiums the Rams and 49ers were playing in at the time; this situation has not arisen since 1993, in part because the league has traditionally awarded the Super Bowl in modern times to the newest stadiums. Besides those two, the only other Super Bowl venue that was not the home stadium to an NFL team at the time was Rice Stadium in Houston: the Houston Oilers had played there previously, but moved to the Astrodome several years prior to Super Bowl VIII. The Orange Bowl was the only AFL stadium to host a Super Bowl and the only stadium to host consecutive Super Bowls, hosting Super Bowls II and III.
Traditionally, the NFL does not award Super Bowls to stadiums that are located in climates with an expected average daily temperature less than 50 °F (10 °C) on game day unless the field can be completely covered by a fixed or retractable roof. Five Super Bowls have been played in northern cities: two in the Detroit area—Super Bowl XVI at Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan and Super Bowl XL at Ford Field in Detroit, one in Minneapolis—Super Bowl XXVI, one in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium for Super Bowl XLVI, and one in the New York area—Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium. Only MetLife Stadium did not have a roof (be it fixed or retractable) but it was still picked as the host stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII in an apparent waiver of the warm-climate rule. A sixth Super Bowl is planned in a northern city as Minneapolis has been picked to host Super Bowl LII in 2018 in the under-construction New Minnesota Stadium.
There have been a few instances where the league has yanked the Super Bowl from cities. Super Bowl XXVII in 1993 was originally awarded to Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona, but after Arizona voted to not recognize Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in 1990, the NFL moved the game to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California in protest. After Arizona opted to create the holiday by ballot in 1992, Super Bowl XXX in 1996 was awarded to Tempe. Super Bowl XXXIII was awarded first to Candlestick Park in San Francisco, but when plans to renovate the stadium fell through the game was moved to Pro Player Stadium in greater Miami. Super Bowl XXXVII was awarded to a new stadium not yet built in San Francisco, when that stadium failed to be built, the game was moved to San Diego. Super Bowl XLIV, slated for February 7, 2010, was withdrawn from New York City's proposed West Side Stadium, because the city, state, and proposed tenants New York Jets could not agree on funding. Super Bowl XLIV was then eventually awarded to Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. And Super Bowl XLIX in 2015 was originally given to Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri, but after two sales taxes failed to pass at the ballot box, and opposition by local business leaders and politicians increased, Kansas City eventually withdrew its request to host the game. Super Bowl XLIX was then eventually awarded to University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
In 2011, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said, "It's commonly known as the single largest human trafficking incident in the United States." According to Forbes, 10,000 prostitutes were brought to Miami in 2010 for the Super Bowl.
The location of the Super Bowl is chosen by the NFL well in advance, usually three to five years before the game. Cities place bids to host a Super Bowl and are evaluated in terms of stadium renovation and their ability to host. In 2014, a document listing the specific requirements of Super Bowl hosts was leaked, giving a clear list of what was required for a Super Bowl host. Much of the cost of the Super Bowl is to be assumed by the host community, although some costs are enumerated within the requirements to be assumed by the NFL. Some of the host requirements include:
- The host stadium must host an NFL team and must have a minimum of 70,000 seats, with the media and electrical amenities necessary to produce the Super Bowl. Stadiums may include temporary seating for Super Bowls, but seating must be approved by the league. Stadiums where the average game day temperature is below 50° Fahrenheit must either have a roof, or a waiver given by the league. There must be a minimum of 35,000 parking spaces within one mile of the stadium.
- The host stadium must have space for the Gameday Experience, a large pregame entertainment area, within walking distance of the stadium.
- The host city must have space for the NFL Experience, the interactive football theme park which is operated the week prior to the Super Bowl. An indoor venue for the event must have a minimum of 850,000 square feet, and an outdoor venue must have a minimum of 1,000,000 square feet. Additionally, there must be space nearby for the Media Center, and space for all other events involved in the Super Bowl week, including golf courses and bowling alleys.
- The necessary infrastructure must be in place around the stadium and other Super Bowl facilities, including parking, security, electrical needs, media needs, communication needs and transportation needs.
- There must be a minimum number of hotel spaces within one hour's drive of the stadium equaling 35% of the stadium's capacity, along with hotels for the teams, officials, media and other dignitaries. (For Super Bowl XXXIX, the city of Jacksonville docked several luxury cruise liners at their port to act as temporary hotel space.)
- There must be practice space of equal and comparable quality for both teams within a 20 minute drive of the team hotels, and rehearsal space for all events within a reasonable distance to the stadium. The practice facilities must have one grass field and at least one field of the same surface as the host stadium.
The NFL owners meet to make a selection on the site, usually three years prior to the event. In 2007, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suggested that a Super Bowl might be played in London, England, perhaps at Wembley Stadium. The game has never been played in a region that lacks an NFL franchise; seven Super Bowls have been played in Los Angeles, but none since the Los Angeles Raiders and Los Angeles Rams relocated to Oakland and St. Louis respectively in 1995. New Orleans, the site of the 2013 Super Bowl, invested more than $1 billion in infrastructure improvements in the years leading up to the game.
Home team designation
The designated "home team" alternates between the NFC team in odd-numbered games and the AFC team in even-numbered games. This alternation was initiated with the first Super Bowl, when the Green Bay Packers were the designated home team. Regardless of being the home or away team of record, each team has their team wordmark painted in one of the end zones along with their conference designation. Designated away teams have won 29 of 49 Super Bowls to date (59.2%).
Since Super Bowl XIII in January 1979, the home team is given the choice of wearing their colored or white jerseys. Formerly, the designated home team was specified to wear their colored jerseys, which resulted in Dallas donning their less familiar dark blue jerseys for Super Bowl V. While most of the home teams in the Super Bowl have chosen to wear their colored jerseys, there have been four exceptions; the Cowboys during Super Bowl XIII and XXVII, the Washington Redskins during Super Bowl XVII, and the Pittsburgh Steelers during Super Bowl XL. The Cowboys, since 1965, and Redskins, since the arrival of coach Joe Gibbs in 1981,[needs update] have traditionally worn white jerseys at home. Meanwhile, the Steelers, who have always worn their black jerseys at home since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, opted for the white jerseys after winning three consecutive playoff games on the road, wearing white. The Steelers' decision was compared with the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XX; the Patriots had worn white jerseys at home during the 1985 season, but after winning road playoff games against the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins wearing red jerseys, New England opted to switch to red for the Super Bowl as the designated home team. White-shirted teams have won 31 of 49 Super Bowls to date (63.2%).
Fifteen different regions have hosted Super Bowls.
|City/Region||No. hosted||Years hosted|
|Miami Area||10||1968, 1969, 1971, 1976, 1979, 1989, 1995, 1999, 2007, 2010|
|New Orleans||10||1970, 1972, 1975, 1978, 1981, 1986, 1990, 1997, 2002, 2013|
|Los Angeles Metropolitan Area||7||1967, 1973, 1977, 1980, 1983, 1987, 1993|
|Tampa||4||1984, 1991, 2001, 2009|
|San Diego||3||1988, 1998, 2003|
|Phoenix Area||3||1996, 2008, 2015|
|Houston||3||1974, 2004, 2017|
|Metro Detroit||2||1982, 2006|
|San Francisco Bay Area||2||1985, 2016|
|Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex||1||2011|
|New York metropolitan area||1||2014|
Note: Years listed are the year the game was actually played (will be played) rather than what NFL season it is considered to have been.
A total of twenty-four different stadiums have hosted, or are scheduled to host, Super Bowls. Years listed in the table below are the years the game was actually played (will be played) rather than what NFL season it is considered to have been.
^ Stadium is now demolished.
† The original Stanford Stadium, which hosted Super Bowl XIX, was demolished and replaced with a new stadium in 2006.
* Future Super Bowl site:
- 2016 – Levi's Stadium (1), Santa Clara, California (2)
- 2017 – NRG Stadium (2), Houston, Texas (3)
- 2018 – New Minnesota Stadium (1), Minneapolis, Minnesota (2)
The game has never been played in a region that lacked an NFL franchise, though cities without NFL teams are not categorically ineligible to host the event. London, England has occasionally been mentioned as a host city for a Super Bowl in the near future. Wembley Stadium has hosted several NFL games as part of the NFL International Series and is specifically designed for large, individual events. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has openly discussed the possibility on different occasions. Time zone complications are a significant obstacle to a Super Bowl in London; a typical 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time start would result in the game beginning at 11:30 p.m. local time in London, an unusually late hour to be holding spectator sports (the NFL has never in its history started a game later than 9:15 p.m. local time).
Super Bowl trademark
The NFL is vigilant on stopping what it says is unauthorized commercial use of its trademarked terms "NFL", "Super Bowl", and "Super Sunday". As a result, many events and promotions tied to the game, but not sanctioned by the NFL, are asked to refer to it with colloquialisms such as "The Big Game", or other generic descriptions. A radio spot for Planters nuts parodied this, by saying "it would be super...to have a bowl...of Planters nuts while watching the big game!" and comedian Stephen Colbert began referring to the game in 2014 as the "Superb Owl". The NFL claims that the use of the phrase "Super Bowl" implies an NFL affiliation, and on this basis the league asserts broad rights to restrict how the game may be shown publicly; for example, the league says Super Bowl showings are prohibited in churches or at other events that "promote a message", while venues that do not regularly show sporting events cannot show the Super Bowl on any television screen larger than 55 inches. Some critics say the NFL is exaggerating its ownership rights by stating that "any use is prohibited", as this contradicts the broad doctrine of fair use in the United States. Legislation was proposed by Utah Senator Orrin Hatch in 2008 "to provide an exemption from exclusive rights in copyright for certain nonprofit organizations to display live football games", and "for other purposes".
In 2006, the NFL made an attempt to trademark "The Big Game" as well; however, it withdrew the application in 2007 due to growing commercial and public-relations opposition to the move, mostly from Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley and their fans, as the Stanford Cardinal football and California Golden Bears football teams compete in the Big Game, which has been played since 1892 (28 years before the formation of the NFL and 75 years before Super Bowl I). Additionally, the Mega Millions lottery game was known as The Big Game from 1996 to 2002.
Use of the phrase "world champions"
Like the other major professional leagues in the United States, the winner of the Super Bowl is usually declared "world champions", a title often mocked by non-Americans. Others feel the title is fitting, since it is the only professional league of its kind.
The practice by the U.S. major leagues of using the "World Champion" moniker originates from the World Series, and it was later used during the first three Super Bowls when they were referred to as AFL-NFL World Championship Games. The phrase is still engraved on the Super Bowl rings.
- Active head coach career Super Bowl history
- Grey Cup
- History of National Football League championship
- List of NFL champions (1920–69)
- List of NFL franchise post-season droughts
- List of NFL franchise post-season streaks
- List of quarterbacks with multiple Super Bowl starts
- List of Super Bowl broadcasters
- List of Super Bowl head coaches
- List of Super Bowl officials
- List of Super Bowl records
- National Football League lore
- NFC Championship Game
- NFL Honors
- Super Bowl advertising
- Super Bowl counterprogramming
- Super Bowl curse
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