What You May Not Know about the Super Bowl
The Super Bowl is so much more than football. It’s popular culture, commercials, half-time entertainment, food, controversies, and trivia, too. It’s a mega-event for fans and even non-fans.
The game this Sunday will be a rematch between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers. Both teams faced each other in Miami in 2020 with the Chiefs winning 31-20.
What do you know about the Super Bowl? Here are some fun facts and trivia about the Super Bowl that you may not know.
Where is the Super Bowl this year?
For the first time, it will be in Las Vegas, known as Sin City due to its adult entertainment. Super Bowl LVIII will be held at the Allegiant Stadium. The kickoff is at 6:30 p.m. EST.
In 2020, the NFL’s Raiders left Oakland again and moved to Las Vegas to play in the newly built Allegiant Stadium. The stadium seats 65,000 and can hold up to 71,835 people.
Why does the Super Bowl use Roman numerals?
Roman numerals are an ancient numeric system. L stands for 50, V means five, and I is one, so this year's game is Super Bowl 58, or LVIII.
The NFL media guide notes that: The Roman numerals were adopted to clarify any confusion that may occur because the NFL championship game — the Super Bowl — is played in the year following a chronologically recorded season. Numerals I through IV were added later for the first four Super Bowls.
This Sunday’s Super Bowl will determine the champion of the 2023 NFL season. The league has chosen to label Super Bowls with Roman numerals to help avoid any confusion over which year a championship game was played.
The Roman numerals were first seen in Super Bowl V (1971). The NFL retroactively renamed the first four Super Bowls (1967-1970) I – IV.
The Roman numerals are like the Super Bowl’s signature. They are an attempt to give the championship game an air of seriousness or gravitas. Gravitas is a Latin word that means weight or heaviness.
Why is it called the Super Bowl?
In the mid-1960s, Lamar Hunt, owner of the American Football League’s (AFL's) Kansas City Chiefs, first used the term "Super Bowl" to refer to the AFL–NFL championship game in the merger meetings.
Hunt later said the name “Super Bowl” was probably in his head because his children had been playing with a Super Ball toy.
In a July 25, 1966, letter to National Football League (NFL) commissioner Pete Rozelle, Hunt said, "I have kiddingly called it the 'Super Bowl,' which obviously can be improved upon."
But the name Super Bowl stuck, despite leagues' owners choosing the name "AFL–NFL Championship Game."
Why all the “Super” this and “Super” that?
The media began using Hunt’s term, “Super Bowl.” The Associated Press has reported that "Super Bowl" grew to the point where there was Super Week, Super Sunday, Super Teams, Super Players, and so on, all with “Super” before the noun.
Super Bowl III in January 1969 was the first game that carried the "Super Bowl" name in official marketing. The names "Super Bowl I" and "Super Bowl II" were retroactively applied to the first two games.
Who won the first Super Bowl?
The Green Bay Packers won the first-ever Super Bowl on Jan. 15, 1967. The Packers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10.
The half-time entertainment were the Grambling State and University of Arizona marching bands.
When did half-time entertainment become big?
In the 1990s, the Super Bowl half-time show began to feature major musicians and bands, beginning with Super Bowl XXV (1991) with New Kids on the Block.
Super Bowl XXVII (1993) featured Michael Jackson to increase viewer interest.
Janet Jackson had her wardrobe malfunction at Super Bowl XXXVIII on Feb. 1, 2004.
The Rolling Stones played the half-time show in 2006 at Super Bowl XL.
Taylor Swift reportedly turned down two opportunities to play the Super Bowl half-time show in 2023 and 2024.
This year’s musical performer for the half-time show is American R&B singer and pop artist, Usher. Usher previously performed alongside the Black Eyed Peas when the group headlined the half-time show in 2011.
Country music star Reba McEntire is slated to perform the U.S. national anthem. Lift Every Voice and Sing, often referred to as the Black National Anthem, will be performed by Andra Day.
Musical sponsors at half-time
The NFL has announced that Apple Music is the new sponsor of the half-time show. The streaming service from Apple will be taking over from Pepsi.
Pepsi, which initially sponsored the half-time show for Super Bowl XLI in 2007, which featured Prince, launched its ten-year sponsorship of the mid-game performance in 2013.
Pepsi said it was time to pass the mic, so it’s over to Apple Music on Feb. 11, 2024.
When did commercials become a Super Bowl thing?
There’s a joke that says the Super Bowl is three hours of commercials interrupted by football.
When was the Super Bowl’s first blockbuster commercial? In 1984.
On Jan. 22, 1984, Apple became a household name when it aired the popular 1984 ad during a break in the third quarter of Super Bowl XVIII.
Directed by Sir Ridley Scott (director of Alien and Blade Runner) and created by Apple’s former advertising agency (Chiat/Day), the 60-second spot was inspired by George Orwell’s novel, 1984. At the time, Apple was competing with IBM with its release of the Macintosh home computer.
With eight seconds left in the 60-minute Apple ad, the narrator concludes by mentioning “Macintosh” along with a black text that reads: On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like 1984.
After 1984, people didn’t just watch the Super Bowl for the game, they watched for the ads.
Super Bowl commercials give companies a high-profile way to increase their brand awareness and sales. The commercials are anticipated with excitement, just like the big game.
Chicken wings are usually the most popular food on Super Bowl Sunday. Millions of wings will be eaten!
Guacamole, meatballs, pizza, taco chips and salsa are also popular. Millions of gallons/litres of beer are also consumed.
Total spending on food, drinks, apparel, decorations, and other purchases for this year’s Super Sunday is expected to reach a record $17.3 billion US, or $86.04 per person, according to the U.S. National Retail Federation.
Are there Super Bowl controversies?
The jersey that quarterback Tom Brady wore at Super Bowl LI in 2017 was stolen by a fan and it was found in Mexico.
Another big one was Janet Jackson’s wardrobe issue, or malfunction, in 1993. Jackson was performing with Justin Timberlake on Feb.1, 2004, during half-time when part of her costume top became open.
In 1969, quarterback Joe Namath promised that his underdog New York Jets were going to win Super Bowl III against the Baltimore Colts. The Jets win was a result of a rushing touchdown and three field goals. Namath was named MVP, but he actually didn’t throw a single touchdown pass during this game.
Enjoy the big game on Super Sunday!