The Super Bowl starts in about 8 hours, and the MSF team has already submitted its predictions and is now just waiting for some football like the rest of America and many others around the world.
While we wait, here are 46 trivial facts about the history of the Super Bowl, including the most interesting Super Bowl fact of all-time at the end.
Early Super Bowl History and Facts
1. The first Super Bowl officially called the “Super Bowl” was Super Bowl III. The first two games were called the “AFL-NFL Championship Game.”
2. According to AFL co-founder and former Kansas City Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt, the name “Super Bowl” was inspired by the Super Ball, a children’s toy sold by Wham-O.
3. The Green Bay Packers embarrassed their AFL opponents in the first two Super Bowls (AFL-NFL Championship Games). The Packers beat the Chiefs 35-10 in Super Bowl I and the Raiders 33-14 in Super Bowl II.
4. Starting with Super Bowl III, the AFL or AFC (the former AFL teams plus the Colts, Steelers, and Browns) won 11 of 13 Super Bowls. The only NFC team to win during that time was the Dallas Cowboys (Super Bowls VI and XII).
All-Time Super Bowl Wins and Records
(Note: click to see MSF’s complete rundown of every team’s all-time Super Bowl record.)
5. In the 1980s and 1990s the NFC won 13 consecutive Super Bowls, from Super Bowl XIX (49ers) through Super Bowl XXXI (Packers).
6. 14 of the 32 NFL teams have never won a Super Bowl: the Bengals, Bills, Browns, Cardinals, Chargers, Eagles, Falcons, Jaguars, Lions, Panthers, Seahawks, Texans, Titans/Oilers, and Vikings. (Technically the franchise that was the Cleveland Browns won Super Bowl XXXV as the Baltimore Ravens, but the NFL agreed that the history and records of the original Browns team would remain in Cleveland even as the franchise moved to Baltimore.)
7. Only 4 of the 32 NFL teams have never played in a Super Bowl: the Browns, Jaguars, Lions, and Texans.
8. The Buffalo Bills and Minnesota Vikings have the distinction of playing in the most Super Bowls without winning one. Both teams have an 0-4 record in the Big Game.
9. The Bengals and Eagles are the only two other teams to play in multiple Super Bowls without winning. Both are 0-2.
10. The Denver Broncos are the only other team to have lost 4 Super Bowls. The Broncos’ Super Bowl record is 2-4.
11. Despite never winning a Super Bowl, the Browns, Cardinals, Eagles, and Lions all won pre-Super Bowl NFL Championships. The Browns won in 1950, 1954, 1955, and 1964; the Cardinals, when they played in Chicago, won in 1947; the Eagles won in 1948, 1949, and 1960; the Lions won in 1935, 1952, 1953, and 1957.
12. The Browns also won 4 championships in the All-America Football Conference, before that league folded and the NFL swallowed three of its teams in 1949. The Browns won titles in 1946, 1947, 1948, and 1949, the only years the league was in operation.
13. Despite never winning a Super Bowl, the Bills, Chargers, and Oilers (now the Titans) all won pre-Super Bowl AFL Championships. The Bills won in 1964 and 1965; the Chargers won in 1963; the Oilers won in 1960 and 1961.
14. The San Francisco 49ers are the only team to have played in multiple Super Bowls and won every time. The Niners are 5-0 in the Big Game.
15. 4 other teams are undefeated in the Super Bowl. All are 1-0: the Buccaneers, Jets, Ravens, and Saints.
16. The Pittsburgh Steelers have won 6 Super Bowls, the most of any team.
17. The 49ers and Cowboys each have won 5 Super Bowls.
18. The Packers are the only team to have won exactly 4 Super Bowls.
19. The Giants, Patriots, Raiders, and Redskins have each won 3 Super Bowls.
20. The Steelers and Cowboys have made the most Super Bowl appearances with 8 apiece.
21. The Patriots and Broncos have each played in 6 Super Bowls.
22. The 49ers, Packers, Raiders, Redskins, and Dolphins have each played in 5.
Super Bowl History Potpourri
23. The Raiders and Colts are the only teams to relocate and win Super Bowls from both locations. The Oakland Raiders won Super Bowls XI and XV; the Los Angeles Raiders won Super Bowl XVIII. The Baltimore Colts won Super Bowl V; the Indianapolis Colts won Super Bowl XLI.
24. The Colts suffered through the longest drought between Super Bowl wins. 36 years passed between the Baltimore Colts’ victory in Super Bowl V and the Indianapolis Colts’ win in Super Bowl XLI.
25. Joe Montana of the 49ers has been named Super Bowl MVP 3 times, more than any other player.
26. Bart Starr (Packers), Terry Bradshaw (Steelers), and Tom Brady (Patriots) each have been named MVP twice. No one else has won the award more than once.
27. Desmond Howard of the Packers, Super Bowl XXXI, was the only player to win Super Bowl MVP while playing primarily on special teams.
Super Bowl City and Venue History and Facts
28. The Miami area has hosted the most Super Bowls, 10. The first Miami Super Bowl was Super Bowl II, at the Orange Bowl. The most recent was Super Bowl XLIV at Sun Life Stadium.
29. New Orleans has hosted 9 Super Bowls. The Big Easy will host its tenth next year, putting it in a tie with Miami.
30. The Los Angeles area has hosted 7 Super Bowls, but none since 1993. The area has not been home to an NFL team since the Raiders and Rams left in 1995.
31. The Tampa Bay area has hosted 4 Super Bowls. San Diego and the Phoenix area have hosted 3 each.
32. The Louisiana Superdome has hosted 6 Super Bowls, more than any other venue.
33. The Orange Bowl and Sun Life (or Joe Robbie or Pro Player) Stadium have hosted 5 each.
34. The only venues to host a Super Bowl despite never being the home field of an NFL/AFL team were the Rose Bowl—host of Super Bowls XI, XIV, XVII, XXI, and XXVII—and Stanford Stadium, which hosted Super Bowl XIX.
35. The only other venue to host a Super Bowl despite not being the current home of an NFL team was Rice Stadium in Houston. The Oilers played there from 1965-1967 before the Astrodome opened. Rice Stadium hosted Super Bowl VIII in 1974.
36. No team has ever played a Super Bowl in its home stadium, but two have played Super Bowls in their home cities (or metropolitan areas): the Los Angeles Rams lost to the Steelers in Super Bowl XIV at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena; the San Francisco 49ers beat the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl XIX at Stanford Stadium.
Super Bowl Broadcast History and Facts
37. This year’s broadcast will be the 17th on NBC. After tonight, NBC will be tied with CBS for the most Super Bowl broadcasts. CBS gets the game next year.
38. ABC has broadcast 7 Super Bowls. Fox has broadcast 6. The NFL’s current TV deal, which goes through Super Bowl LVII in 2023, does not include ABC, so the next 12 games (including tonight’s game) will rotate between NBC, CBS, and Fox.
39. 22 of the 47 highest rated shows in American television history are Super Bowls.
40. The number of total households watching the Super Bowl has been on an upward trend throughout the game’s history. Last year’s Super Bowl XLV drew 111 million viewers, making it the most watched show in American television history.
41. A 30-second ad during Super Bowl XLVI costs as much as $3.5 million.
Super Bowl Entertainment History and Facts
42. College marching bands provided halftime entertainment at 7 of the first 8 Super Bowls. Some were joined by celebrities. For example, at Super Bowl VIII in Houston, the University of Texas Marching Band accompanied Judy Mallet (Miss Texas 1973), who played the fiddle. Carol Channing joined the Southern University Marching Band for halftime of Super Bowl IV in New Orleans.
43. The Grambling Marching Band and Up With People—the international volunteer and education organization that assembles multi-national casts for musical performances—have each done 4 Super Bowl halftime shows.
44. 5 performers have done the national anthem at two Super Bowls: the Grambling Marching Band (II and IX); the U.S. Air Force Academy Chorale (VI and, joining the other academy choirs, XXXIX); Aaron Neville (XXIV and, with Aretha Franklin and Dr. John, XLV); Billy Joel (XXIII and XLI); and Marlee Matlin, who did the American Sign Language anthem at Super Bowls XXVII and XLI.
45. The pilot episode of The Wonder Years aired on ABC immediately after Super Bowl XXII.
The Most Interesting Super Bowl Fact Ever
46. This final fact technically isn’t about the Super Bowl but about the NFL Championship Game. I’m going to include it anyway, because it’s the most interesting factoid I have.
In 1961 Packers star halfback Paul Hornung nearly missed the NFL Championship Game because he was called up to active duty by the Army. Packers coach Vince Lombardi called President John F. Kennedy asking that he grant leave for Hornung until after the title game.
Kennedy agreed, saying, “Paul Hornung isn’t going to win the war on Sunday, but the football fans of this country deserve the two best teams on the field that day.”