Super bowl history.
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About Super Bowl
The Super Bowl is the championship game of the National Football League (NFL), the highest level of professional American football in theUnited States, culminating a season that begins in the late summer of the previous calendar year. The Super Bowl 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 regular season played in 1966, while Super Bowl XLVI will be played on February 5, 2012, to determine the champion of the 2011 regular 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 an 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 NFC leads the series with 24 wins to 21 wins for the AFC.
The day on which the Super Bowl is played is now considered a de facto American national holiday, 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. Super Bowl XLV played in 2011 became the most watched American television program in history, drawing an average audience of 111 million viewers and taking over the spot held by the previous year’s Super Bowl, which itself had taken over the #1 spot held for twenty-eight years by the final episode of M*A*S*H. The Super Bowl is also among the most watched sporting events in the world, mostly due to North American audiences, and is second to Association football’s UEFA Champions League final as the most watched annual sporting event worldwide.
Because of its high viewership, commercial airtime during the Super Bowl broadcast is the most expensive of the year. Due to the high cost of investing in advertising on the Super Bowl, companies regularly develop 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, many popular singers and musicians have performed during the event’s pre-game and halftime ceremonies because of the exposure.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have won six Super Bowls, the most of any team, while the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers are tied for second place, with five victories each. Fourteen other NFL franchises have won at least one Super Bowl, and 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.
]1966-1967: Packers’ early success
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 have led many people to consider the Packers to be the “Team of the ’60s., USA.
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. After the merger, the AFC dominated the Super Bowls of the 1970s; theDallas Cowboys were the only NFC team to see Super Bowl success during the period, winning two championships.
During the 1970s, three teams (the Pittsburgh Steelers, Dallas Cowboys, and Miami Dolphins) won most of the decade’s Super Bowls. Pittsburgh won Super Bowls IX, X, XIII, and XIV, while the Cowboys claimed Super Bowls VI and XII and the Dolphins were victorious in Super Bowls VII and VIII, the first of which capped off the only undefeated season in NFL history. Only the Oakland Raiders managed to interrupt the dominance of these three teams, with a win in Super Bowl XI. The Minnesota Vikings, meanwhile, reached four Super Bowl games during the 1970s led by their powerful Purple People Eaters defense, only to lose each one.
By virtue of their four Super Bowl victories during the 1970s, the Steelers became the first NFL dynasty of the post-merger era. 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.
1981–1997: NFC winning streak
In the 1980s, 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 15 of 16 Super Bowls during this time, from Super Bowl XIX to Super Bowl XXXI.
The most successful franchise of the 1980s was the San Francisco 49ers, which featured the West Coast offense of head coach Bill Walsh. This offense was led by three-time Super Bowl MVP quarterback Joe Montana, Super Bowl MVP 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 and 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 and XXII and 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).
The Dallas Cowboys rose back to prominence in the early-to-mid 1990s, following a subpar decade in the 1980s. After championships by division rivals New York and Washington to start the decade, 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. Their streak was interrupted by the 49ers, who won their league-leading fifth title overall with Super Bowl XXIX; however, the Cowboys’ victory in Super Bowl XXX the next year also gave them five titles overall. The era of NFC dominance was closed out by the Green Bay Packers who, under quarterback Brett Favre, won Super Bowl XXXI, their first championship sinceSuper Bowl II in the late 1960s.
1997–2006: the AFC rises again
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 thirteen-game winning streak. This signaled the start of a new streak for the AFC, in which AFC teams won eight of the following ten Super Bowls. The Broncos defeated the Atlanta Falcons the following season in Super Bowl XXXIII in Elway’s final game; after an NFC win by the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXIV, the AFC came back with a Baltimore Ravensvictory in Super Bowl XXXV.
The New England Patriots became the dominant team throughout the early 2000s, winning the championship three out of four years early in the decade. In Super Bowl XXXVI, Super Bowl MVP quarterback Tom Brady led his team to a 20–17 upset victory over the Rams. The Patriots also won Super Bowls XXXVIII and XXXIX defeating the Carolina Panthers and thePhiladelphia Eagles respectively. In the 2007 season, the Patriots went 16-0 in the regular season and were strong favorites in Super Bowl XLII, but they lost that game to the New York Giants.
The second half of the 2000s featured parity among both conferences. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Indianapolis Colts continued the era of AFC dominance by winning Super Bowls XLand XLI respectively, with the Steelers winning an NFL record sixth Super Bowl championship in Super Bowl XLIII, accounting for three superbowl appearances over a six year time-frame. With three NFC teams logging Super Bowl victories in the four seasons following Super Bowl XLI (the New York Giants, New Orleans Saints, and Green Bay Packers), the NFC has shown an increased parity when it comes to the League championship.
The Super Bowls of the late 2000s are marked by the performances by the winning quarterbacks. Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, Drew Brees, and Aaron Rodgers each had a memorable MVP performance as they added championships to their lists of individual accomplishments.