Super Stats About the Super Bowl
It’s as American as apple pie. Yet the Super Bowl has only been around since 1967. In those 53 years, however, the game has become ingrained in the national psyche. It has also developed some unusual rituals and over-the-top traditions. These little-known facts may win you victory too—at your next trivia night.
Women are Keeping Ratings Up
The First Super Bowl was a Flop
In 1967, tickets to the first Super Bowl (known then as the AFL-NFL World Championship Game) cost $12. Yet there were still more than 32,000 empty seats at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum—due in part to high ticket prices. Today, tickets can cost upwards of $4,000.
The Name was Inspired by a Child's Toy
Lamar Hunt, then owner of the Kansas City Chiefs, realized that “the AFL-NFL World Championship Game” was a mouthful and he was keen to find a more marketing-friendly name. Fortunately, his children’s “Super Ball” toy provided the answer. By the fourth game, “Super Bowl” was official.
The first halftime show featured jetpacks
The first championship also featured two marching bands and 300 pigeons. The Super Bowl halftime show has since evolved into a full 30-minute extravaganza, and is the most-watched television event in America. The NFL claims that Super Bowl LI (2017), featuring Lady Gaga, had 150 million viewers across TV and digital platforms, making it the most-watched musical performance ever.
Wikimedia Commons via Brian Allen/Voice of America
Players have their own halftime secrets
Perhaps in part because the Super Bowl halftime is about twice as long as the halftime of a normal game, players keep their own rituals to ensure victory. Some snack on sandwiches and fruit, to keep their energy up. Others pedal stationary bikes to keep their legs warm and ready for action. And of course, there’s a lot of pep talk—because winners have to believe.
DNA Ink Prevents Cheating
In total, 120 footballs are used in each Super Bowl game: 108 game balls, and an additional 12 kicker balls used for all kicking plays. Teams must present their 54 game balls for inspection on game day. DNA ink is then painted on the laces to prove their authenticity.
Every coin is special
Millions of dollars are wagered on the opening Super Bowl coin toss—but George Washington plays no part in the tradition. Instead of our first president, each coin bears the Vince Lombardi trophy, named in memory of former NFL head coach, on one side and the opposing teams' logos on the other side. The Super Bowl coin is custom-made in the United States by The Highland Mint.
Wikimedia Commons via Staff Sgt. Bradley Lail, USAF
There are Definite Perks for Players and Family Too
Big companies offer perks to players and their families during Super Bowl season. Marlin Jackson of the Indiana Colts reports driving a Cadillac Escalade for a week before Super Bowl XLI. Some brands offer similar “free” gifts (and free advertising) to players’ families, ranging from luxury vehicle loans to hotel stays and fancy parties.
Every Detail is Super-Charged
Every detail of the championship is super-charged—literally. Ticket reseller Seat Geek reports that the average ticket price for Super Bowl LIV is $7,622. Tickets to star-studded Super Bowl parties can cost $2,000 and up. And Super Bowl ads are some of the most expensive television real estate in history; According to AdAge, a 30-second spot for this year's game costs up to $5.6 million.
Wikimedia Commons via Paul Keleher
Super Bowl Sunday is a Day to Indulge
Americans like to indulge in food and drink on Thanksgiving. But the big game goes neck-and-neck with Thanksgiving for the most food consumed on a single day—including 28,000,000 pounds of chips and 1.25 billion chicken wings.
The Team with the Most Wins
The Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots have each won six Super Bowl championships, beating out the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers, who each have five wins—although the 49ers have the chance to join the Steelers and Patriots if they win this year's Bowl. After defeating the Rams in 1980, the Steelers became the first team in NFL history to win four Super Bowls.
Wikimedia Commons via Royalbroil
The Team with the Most Losses
The New England Patriots are tied for the most Super Bowl wins and the most Super Bowl losses. The Patriots and the Denver Broncos, who have three Super Bowl wins, each have a record five losses.
Wikimedia Commons via Onetwo1
The Most Watched Game
Super Bowl XLI broadcast with 114.4 million viewers in the United States. In 2015, the New England Patriots beat the defending champions, the Seattle Seahawks. This earned the Patriots their fourth overall win—the first in 10 years.
Super Bowl Superstars
It's every professional football player's dream to make it to the Super Bowl, and when it came to the big game some of these guys have had their best performances ever. Jerry Rice played in four Super Bowl games walking away with three rings and a MVP. He set the record for most touchdown catches and most points scored in Super Bowl history, according to CBS Sports. Tom Brady's impressive career includes playing in the most Super Bowls (9) and having the most wins (6), surpassing Charles Haley, who won five Super Bowl rings with both the 49ers and the Cowboys.
It Pays to be a Loser Too
The salaries keep escalating. Super Bowl winners took home $112,000 per player in 2018, while the losing team pocketed $56,000 each. This means that a losing player’s Super Bowl game earnings is nearly equal to the median American’s annual income of $59,000.
It’s Not Only Americans Who Watch
The Super Bowl is broadcast in 34 languages and watched around the world. Based on statistics compiled by GlobalWebIndex, it is estimated that Mexico trails the United States in the number of NFL fans, followed by Brazil, Canada, South Korea, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
Super Bowl 50 Broke with Tradition
2016’s Super Bowl 50 was the first and only game to be marketed without Roman numerals. The Roman numerals were originally adopted to distinguish the games from the calendar year, and to make them more “magisterial,” according to Kansas City Chiefs historian Bob Moore.
Flickr via Ken Walton
Those Rings Have Power
Super Bowl rings have been crafted for the victors since the first game in 1967. The earliest rings look similar to class signet rings but over time, they have become increasingly more expensive and diamond-studded. Each team secures about 150 rings per victory.
How Much is that Trophy Worth?
Do you know about “Service Bowl”?
Millions of dollars are bet on Super Bowl Sunday, but it’s not only money that exchanges hands—and changes lives. The mayors of Super Bowl teams’ home cities have each wagered a day of volunteer service in the winner’s city—a tradition now known as “Service Bowl.”
A Fresh Perspective
You'll never look at the Big Game the same way again.
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