Super Bowl Sunday, also known as Super Sunday or Big Game, takes place every year on the first Sunday of February. It is the day of the final game of the National Football League championship and marks the end of football season, which starts on the previous year after Labor Day. Although not recognized as a public holiday, many think of Super Bowl Sunday as an Unofficial National Holiday, because it is so widely celebrated in the country.
The History of Super Bowl
The first official game final of a football championship happened on January 15 1967, and at the time was named the AFL and NFL World Championship Game, and was played between the champions of each league, who were the American Football League’s Kansas City Chiefs and the National Football League’s Green Bay Packers. The game took place in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and was broadcast in many television networks.
It wasn’t until the third final championship game in 1969 that the match was dubbed Super Bowl, a term invented by Lamar Hunt, the founder of the AFL, who is thought to have taken inspiration from a toy named the Super Ball.
In 1970 the two leagues were merged into just the NFL, and two conferences were made inside the NFL - the National Football Conference, and the American Football Conference. The Super Bowl game is now played by the winners of each conference.
In 1971, the league adopted roman numerals to mark each Super Bowl, instead of the year that the games take place in, and all apart from the Super Bowl 50 in 2016 have been numbered by roman numerals.
How the championship works
There are 32 teams in the NFL, who are divided into the two conferences for the championship. The 16 teams in each conference are then divided into 4 divisions: North, South, East and West. Each team plays 16 games each, totalling 256 games during football season.
Teams will play a total of 2 games against the other teams in its division, one at home and other away. Furthermore, each team will play two home games and two away games against another division from its conference, and one game against a division from the other conference. These are decided by a rotation system.
At the end of the NFL season, there are 6 teams from each conference who qualify for the playoffs, two of those teams are Wild Cards chosen from their number of wins in the championship. There are then three rounds of games, known as the Wild Card Round, the Divisional Round and the Conference Round. The two winners of the Conference Round are the teams who play at the Super Bowl.
Super Bowl Sunday celebrations
One of the most celebrated days in the United States, on Super Bowl Sunday families and friends gather at home or in sports bars to party and watch the game together. Even people who are not usually fans of football enjoy joining everyone on their viewing parties and feel the spirit of sports. Football fans will be sporting their teams’ jerseys and merchandise on this day.
Super Bowl Sunday is so widely celebrated, that it is the second day in the year where more food is consumed in America (after Thanksgiving) with the most popular food being chicken wings - a total of 1.25 billion chicken wings are consumed every year during the Big Game.
It is also the most-watched show in America every year, with television networks fighting in the months prior to the game, to be able to be the one broadcasting it. Kick-off time is usually at 6:30 pm ET, with the average Super Bowl game time being 3 hours and 46 minutes. The 2015 Super Bowl XLIX was the most-watched show in American history, with 168 million people tuning it to watch the game. During this Sunday, the whole day is dedicated to game-related programming, featuring films, retrospectives, game coverage and pregame shows.
Super Bowl Halftime Show
It is no surprise then that commercial time during the Super Bowl is highly coveted by brands, who pay very high values to be able to have their averts aired during the game. Jointly with the Super Bowl match, the Halftime Show is also an event that millions tune in for, it happens during the game break, and it usually features a hugely popular pop star of a musician performing a big show.