And so it began…
On this day, 48 year ago, what we know as the biggest spectacle in sports held its first game of champions. The Super Bowl is by far the most watched program in all of television by an astounding margin. The ratings are so substantial that Fortune 500 companies will shell out millions of dollars just for a 3o second ad that will potentially reach people all over the world. The NFL is partly what it is today thanks to the first Super Bowl.
If you ever wondered why the Super Bowl trophy was named after Green Bay coach Vince Lombardi then look no further than Super Bowl I. Lombardi went down in history as the first coach to take the title back in 1967. Due to the growing popularity of the AFL, the NFL began to lose out on top prospects and free agents to the upstart league. The two leagues agreed on a merger but they would not play as one until 1969. The AFL and NFL would play out their regular seasons, then have an AFL – NFL championship game; which would become the Super Bowl. Both leagues were anxious to prove to the other that their league’s teams were superior.
The NFL was represented by the Green Bay Packers and the AFL was represented by the Kansas City Chiefs. The Super Bowl was the first and last game simulcast by two networks. CBS held rights to NFL games and NBC held AFL so both networks were allowed to televise game. The ratings were extremely high even with the viewers being split. Today many people sit back and watch their favorite musicians perform an over the top halftime show but in ’67 the entertainment was provided by the University of Arizona and Michigan’s school band. Surprisingly, the game was not a sell out. The $12 ticket price was seen as absurd at the time.
As Super Bowl XLIX approaches, the NFL is bigger than ever. Even though football is primarily played in America, you can find fans from all over the world rooting for their favorite teams. You would be hard pressed to find anyone who won’t be glued to the television during the Super Bowl in Arizona in a few Sundays.