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Beacon Senior News

Super Bowl: It’s more than a football game!

Jan 28, 2020 10:31AM ● By Randal C. Hill

Last November, three months before Super Bowl LIV was to be played on February 2, 2020, FOX TV announced that the game at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium was sold out of available advertising spots. Companies that hadn’t already ponied up the $5.5 million per 30-second message were out of luck.

The Super Bowl has become a spectacular yearly advertising and entertainment event with a football game thrown in for good measure! Tickets for those who want to witness the event themselves cost an average of $2,500 to $3,500 per seat.

Over the years, numerous music icons have brought a true “wow” factor to the halftime performances, such as Motown superstars Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson; iconic hitmakers like Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, Aerosmith, Lady Gaga, Prince, Katy Perry and Beyonce; and some legendary UK entertainers like Phil Collins, U2, the Rolling Stones and Sir Paul McCartney.

Today’s Super Bowl draws a viewing audience of about 100 million. It’s America’s biggest annual sporting competition (although the World Cup soccer games draw more viewers worldwide).

But, for many Americans, it’s more a boisterous afternoon of fun and friendship than a sports contest. More food—and presumably more drink—is consumed on Super Bowl Sunday than any other day of the year except Thanksgiving.

The Big One

Super Bowl history

However, it wasn’t always this way. The first such game wasn’t even called the Super Bowl. Played on January 15, 1967, it was officially termed the AFL–NFL World Championship Game. But NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle wanted something a bit punchier—something easy to remember. The Pro Bowl, perhaps, or maybe even The Big One.

The name “Super Bowl” originated with Lamar Hunt, the owner of the Kansas City Chiefs. He had seen his young daughter play with a bouncing toy called a Super Ball, and Hunt was inspired to propose the name Super Bowl. Rozelle declared the term too informal, but it didn’t take long for Hunt’s recommendation to take hold with the public.

Kansas City vs. Green Bay

That first game was far from being a sellout. By kickoff time, about 1/3 of the seats at the 94,000-seat Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum remained unsold, because many people grumbled that the $12 ticket price (about $92 in today’s money) was excessive.

And that first halftime show—two men wearing hydrogen-peroxide-propelled “rocket belts” that barely flew off the ground—didn’t hold a candle to the budget-busting, jaw-dropping extravaganzas we have come to expect now.

Two college marching bands paraded. Trumpeter Al Hirt performed. Ten thousand balloons went airborne. So did 300 pigeons—one of which left a deposit on the typewriter of young sportscaster Brent Musburger.

As for the football game itself, in that initial contest, the NFL’s Green Bay Packers walloped the AFL’s Kansas City Chiefs 35-10, and Green Bay quarterback legend Bart Starr was named MVP.