Grabbing over 100 million viewers, the Super Bowl is one of the biggest TV events of the year. Millions will be glued to the screen for the 54th thrilling test of skill and physical prowess come February 2020. Brush up on Super Bowl history before any online Super Bowl betting!
Early Super Bowl History
The biggest game of the year, the Super Bowl was the result of a merger of the nation’s two biggest football leagues. A national football championship has existed in one form or another since the 1960s. Initially, these championships were hosted by two factions. Both were vying to be the premier football league in the US.
The American Football League (AFL) and the National Football League (NFL) both had league contests, playoffs, and championship games. Since the beginning of American gridiron football in the 1920s, the NFL (formerly the American Professional Football Conference) was the only professional football league in the US.
The AFL came on the scene in 1959. And within a few years, it had become a major competitor in American gridiron football. The pressure of competition was enough that the NFL agreed to merge the two leagues in 1966.
The first four Super Bowls were initially AFL-NFL championship games before the merger took effect. Super Bowl V was the first official championship under the unified NFL brand. The AFL and NFL teams simply becoming the AFC and NFC conferences that exist to this day.
Vince Lombardi, the namesake of the famed Super Bowl trophy, was a coach for both Green Bay and the Redskins. Noted for his tolerance and dedication, Lombardi stands as a symbol of what gridiron football means to America.
History of the Name “Super Bowl”
The NFL and AFL each had their own respective championships until the official merger completed in 1970. However, the history of organized football goes back much further than the 1920’s American Professional Football Association, the NFL’s predecessor.
Organized sports in the US were borne out of European sport, Olympic competitions, and college-based athletics. After Roosevelt’s New Deal policies, public recreation budgets allowed for the construction of sports venues across the country.
The first organized football championship in the US was the Rose Bowl. This was a competition between the best college football teams. College teams would vie for the top two spots and then travel to Pasadena, California for the Rose Bowl game.
This game was also known as the “Tournament East-West football game”. It was intended to be a championship as well as a fundraiser for the famed Rose Parade. Over the years, many collegiate regional championships borrowed the “bowl” naming convention.
The term “bowl” initially referred to the shape of the stadium near Caltech’s main campus. Then, it caught on to refer to any football championship in the US. Former owner of the Kansas City Chiefs, Lamar Hunt, jokingly referred to the upcoming AFL-NFL Championship as a “Super Bowl”. The rest, as they say, is history.
Today, the Super Bowl is a brand in its own right, responsible for billions of dollars in consumer spending. A Super Bowl ad is 25% more effective at attracting new customers than a commercial airing at any other time.
History of Super Bowl Betting
Certainly, folks have been making under-the-table, illegal bets on the Super Bowl since its inception. However, the laws regarding sports betting in the US changed in 2018. Now, legal sports betting operations are popping up all over the country.
The Professional and Amateur Sports Act was a law in place from 1992-2018. Prior to this, there was no established legal framework for Super Bowl betting or football betting of any kind.
Now that the federal government has given football betting the OK, quite a few states have enacted legal betting frameworks. Among these are Indiana, West Virginia, Nevada, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, with more states legalizing sports betting every few months.
Great Feats in Super Bowl History
There have been so many memorable moments in Super Bowl history that they deserve their own article. From Joe Namath calling an underdog win to John Elway’s performance in Super Bowl 32, some moments in Super Bowl history will stick around for a lifetime.
Namath Calls It Ahead Of Time
The New York Jets are a pretty consistent underdog. However, that doesn’t mean they haven’t had some noteworthy Super Bowl moments. For instance, Super Bowl III. Legendary QB Joe Namath pulled a Babe Ruth and essentially called the Jets’ Super Bowl win a “guarantee”.
Sure enough, the Jets took home the Lombardi trophy over the Baltimore Colts 16-7. Namath, true to his word, walked off the field with his finger in the air. This image is now amongst the most iconic Super Bowl photos.
Down Goes Jackie Smith
Coming back out of retirement, tight end Jackie Smith signed onto the Dallas Cowboys roster for the 1978 season. At 38 years old, he was one of the oldest tight ends in the league but was a welcome addition to the lacking Cowboys offense.
Making it to Super Bowl XIII proved to be unlucky for the seasoned tight end. After a great showing in the first half, Jackie dropped an end zone pass in the third down of the third quarter. This is still remembered as the day Jackie Smith’s career wound to a halt, missing one of the final passes of his career.
He Did It
His fourth appearance in the Super Bowl was the charm– John Elway, Broncos QB, was considered to be on his way out in the NFL. His career was coming to a close without that coveted Super Bowl trophy.
After a disappointing showing in the first half, Elway and the Broncos were able to turn things around in the third quarter. Taking a run, Elway pushed the play forward enough to break a tie with the Packers, eventually leading to Elway’s first of two Super Bowl wins.
Super Bowl Controversies
Throughout Super Bowl history, there has been a fair share of newsworthy items and controversy surrounding the Big Game. Racy moments, drunken debauchery, and even felony crime have all shared headlines with the Super Bowl. Here are a few of the more memorable moments.
Much like the mythical drinking habits of Wade Boggs, there’s quite a well-known story attached to the Raiders’ win over the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl 15. A mythical figure himself, John Matuszak became known for being the actor behind Sloth from The Goonies but also had quite the reputation for being the Raiders’ resident bad boy in the early 1980s.
Professional sports teams stick to a curfew, especially before big games. Matuszak wasn’t one to follow the rules, so he took to the New Orleans streets, reportedly partying and carousing himself into a $1000 fine. Still, his performance the next day as the defensive end was called “brutalizing”, earning the Oakland team a solid Super Bowl win.
Ray Lewis was a star middle linebacker with the Baltimore Raven even while enduring a harrowing brush with the law. Lewis was involved in a fatal stabbing in 2000 but went on to win Super Bowl MVP after pleading guilty to obstruction of justice.
Despite the massive controversy surrounding his appearance, Lewis was one of the star performers of Super Bowl XXXV, and his career continued into the 2010s with a total of two Super Bowl trophy wins.
The “Wardrobe Malfunction”
This one is infamous in Super Bowl History whether you watch the game or not. Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson were headlining the halftime show that fateful Super Bowl weekend in 2004, and most of us remember what happened.
Essentially, Justin Timberlake removed one of the breast panels on Janet Jackson’s shiny pleather-and-rivets outfit. Revealing her breast and a large “nipple shield” to the viewing audience, Jackson’s career took quite a hit (while Justin Timberlake enjoyed the free publicity).
All of her videos and songs were blacklisted from Viacom channels, and she lost an invite to the 46th annual Grammy Awards. Timberlake is still a household name, whereas Miss Jackson still struggles to reach previous heights.
“Deflategate” borrows the naming convention of a long list of scandals dating back to the Nixon administration. In this case, however, it wasn’t a break-in at a hotel, but rather a scandal involving the New England Patriots and some tampered-with footballs.
Long story short, quarterback Tom Brady allegedly ordered a low-level Patriots staff member to take game balls from the AFC Championship in 2015 and slightly deflate them in a restroom. A whole lot of jargon later, it was determined that the balls were deflated.
Additionally, Patriots staff may have been taking advantage of physics by allowing the balls to be inflated in a warm environment, losing pressure as the footballs cooled. This leads to a better grip on the ball. Brady was suspended for four games (later overturned in a federal court) and the team was fined $1 million dollars!
Super Bowl LIV
This February 2020, Super Bowl LIV is slated to be hosted in Miami Gardens, Florida. As of December, it’s still too early to tell who we’re going to see facing off in the biggest game of the year, but the front runners of the AFC and NFC are currently the Ravens and the 49ers, each sitting at 11 wins.
The Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show is already booked with headliners Shakira and Jennifer Lopez. Miami has a huge Latin American population, and these two headliners are sure to be a huge hit, with special guests and surprises sure to follow.
As of December 2019, it seems like the Fox network will be broadcasting the Super Bowl festivities. Make sure to get an HD antenna or sign up with any number of legal Super Bowl streams of the Big Game.
Once the game is streaming or playing on the medium of your choice, log on to any preferred sports betting operators in US states where sports betting is legal. Make sure to take advantage of any welcome offers and promotions regarding the Super Bowl. Operators are sure to offer extra promotions to new sports bettors looking to place a wager on the Super Bowl.