Biggest Events in Sports The Super Bowl Part 1

About the Super Bowl, history, facts and figures about the major sporting event and the biggest game in football.


It has become almost a national obsession, this annual confrontation for the championship of the National Football League. On "Super Sunday" (the media's grandiose title for game day), traffic fatalities plummet and activity comes to a virtual standstill as millions gather in front of their TV sets to view the action. But somehow the game has not materialized into the happening promised in the elaborate promotion. With few exceptions, it has been anticlimactic and dull. Often more entertaining than the games themselves has been the players' pregame psychological warfare. Consider this wistful remark by the Steelers' linebacker Jack Lambert regarding Dallas quarterback Roger Staubach prior to Super Bowl X: "I hope a shark bites his arm off."

The Super Bowl came about as a result of negotiations in the spring of 1966 between the American and National football leagues, who had engaged in bitter financial warfare ever since the AFL came into being in 1960. This agreement called for a confrontation between the two league champions in the NFL World Championship Game, which the press immediately dubbed "the Super Bowl." This did not become the official title until three years later, however. (NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle found it undignified and had it removed from the first game's trophy.) In 1970 the NFL and AFL merged into a single, two-conference league in acknowledgment of the younger league's new parity. The AFL has gone on to dominate the Super Bowl in the seventies.

Some Super Bowl facts and figures:

Super Bowl I was won by the Green Bay Packers of the NFL. They knocked off the Kansas City Chiefs of the AFL, 35-10.

Despite the huge media buildup, Super Bowl I did not sell out. Only 63,000 showed up at the Los Angeles Coliseum to watch the game.

Despite committing seven turnovers, a Super Bowl record, the Baltimore Colts managed to squeak by the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl V with a last-minute field goal, 16-13. The Cowboys added four turnovers of their own for a combined total of 11, also a Super Bowl record.

Super Bowl XI between the Oakland Raiders and the Minnesota Vikings set three records for the event: (1) largest attendance (100,421); (2) largest audience to watch an event on TV (81 million); (3) highest team offense, 429 yd., by the Raiders.

The Denver Broncos, Cinderella team of the NFL in 1977, committed a record eight turnovers en route to a 27-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl XII. About 103.5 million people watched this game on TV, setting another all-time high for a television audience.

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