Super Bowl History: How the Super Bowl Got Started

By Victoria Barnett

Super Bowl History: How the Super Bowl Got Started

50 years. That’s how long the Super Bowl has been around. Can you believe it? Some of us weren’t even born. Some of us were just born. Some of us were able to witness this incredible moment in history. So how did it begin?

The Super Bowl originated in 1966 as a part of the merger agreement between the National Football League (NFL) and the American Football League (AFL). The first Championship took place in 1967.

How the Super Bowl Was Named

How the Super Bowl Was Named

Several names were thrown into the mix for name of this Championship game between the NFL and the AFL.

One suggestion was “The Big One,” but it didn’t catch on. One was “Pro Bowl,” but that was the name used for the NFL’s All-Star game. “World Series of Football” was also tossed around but it too closely resembled the baseball classic. Finally, it was created as the NFL – AFL World Championship Game.

While the name was official, it didn’t really catch on. It was a mouthful and not good for newspaper headlines. What did catch on was “Super Bowl.”

For the time being, “Super Bowl” stuck in the media and became the unofficial name of the game. In 1969, there was a contest to rebrand the name to either “Ultimate Bowl” or “Premier Bowl,” but neither stuck. “Super Bowl” later became the official name following the contest.  

Who Came Up with the Term?

It is believed that Lamar Hunt, the main founder of the AFL and owner of the Kansas City Chiefs, came up with the term after watching kids play with a toy called “Super Ball.” The term “bowl” was already used to refer to the last game in collegiate football seasons, so the term was fitting. In an owner’s meeting, Hunt threw the term out there, even though he believed there was something better. Turns out, the term “Super Bowl” would stick for 50 years and counting.

Merge into One League

Super Bowl IV was the last championship played between the two leagues. In 1970, the NFL and AFL merged into one combined league with two conferences. Three NFL teams joined 10 AFL teams to form the AFC (American Football Conference). The remaining 13 teams formed the NFC (National Football Conference).

Vince Lombardi Trophy

Each winner of the Super Bowl receives the Vince Lombardi Trophy, named after the coach who led the Green Bay Packers to victory in the first two Super Bowls. The trophy earned its name prior to Super Bowl V following the passing of Vince Lombardi.

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Vince Lombardi Trophy

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