The History of Super Bowl Sunday

The Super Bowl is the annual national football championship game that started 50 years ago. It was created as a tournament between the NFL (National Football League) and the AFL (American Football League) at a time when they were rivals. In 1970, the merger between the two became official. The NFL realigned into two separate conferences. It was now the AFC (American Football Conference) versus the NFC (National Football Conference). The winner of each conference now plays each other in the annual Super Bowl championship.

This famous game is usually played the first Sunday of February, which has been dubbed “Super Bowl Sunday”. This has functionally become a national holiday because the entire country shuts down to watch the Super Bowl. In fact, seven of the most viewed broadcasts in the United States belong to the Super Bowl. In 2015, it beat its own record to become the most viewed American broadcast of all time with 114 million viewers.

Fun Fact: Super Bowl Sunday is the second-largest day of food consumption behind Thanksgiving, according to the USDA!

So, where did the Super Bowl get its start, you might ask? In 1966, It was unofficially called the Super Bowl by the Kansas City Chiefs (AFL) owner, Lamar Hunt. Lamar Hunt later stated the inspiration might’ve come from the Super Ball toy that his kid had been playing with. By 1971, the name had become official, and the Super Bowl began to really take off.

The winning team is award the famous Lombardi Trophy. This trophy was first given in 1967 and was renamed in honor of the legendary Pittsburgh Steelers Coach, Vince Lombardi. It was awarded to the winning team in the locker room up until 1996.

The story goes that NFL commissioner, Pete Rozelle and Tiffany and Co. designer, Oscar Reidner, were sketching ideas around at dinner and the trophy was born. The result was a sparkly sterling silver seven pound, twenty-two-inch tall trophy. It depicts a regulation-size football in its kicking position engraved with the words “Vince Lombardi Trophy” and the NFL logo. After the trophy is awarded, it is sent back to the makers to be engraved with the winning team’s name, the date, and score. A new trophy is made each year.


Super Bowl National Anthem

The Super Bowl National Anthem performance has become a big deal over the years. Only the biggest and brightest voices get their shot at belting out the country’s most beloved song. The most famous National Anthem performance belongs to the great Whitney Houston in 1991. Houston sang her heart out during the time of the Persian Gulf War. The performance was complete with air-force jets, patriotism and the highest notes you could imagine. The performance was so famous that it, in fact, was released as a commercial single and went on to top the billboard charts at number 6 post the 9/11 tragedy.

The most famous performances include Luther Vandross, Jennifer Hudson, Carrie Underwood, Choirs of the Armed Forces, Aretha Franklin, and more.

The Modern Era National Anthem Performers Include:

  • 1991 Whitney Houston
  • 1992 Harry Connick Jr.
  • 1993 Garth Brooks
  • 1994 Natalie Cole
  • 1995 Kathie Lee Gifford
  • 1996 Vanessa Williams
  • 1997 Luther Vandross
  • 1998 Jewel
  • 1999 Cher
  • 2000 Faith Hill
  • 2001 Backstreet Boys; “America the Beautiful” performed by Ray Charles
  • 2002 Mariah Carey
  • 2003 Dixie Chicks
  • 2004 Beyoncé Knowles
  • 2005 Combined Choirs of the U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Military Academy at West Point, U.S. Coast Guard Academy and U.S. Army Herald Trumpets
  • 2006 Aaron Neville with Dr. John and Aretha Franklin (2006)
  • 2007 Billy Joel
  • 2008 Jordin Sparks
  • 2009 Jennifer Hudson
  • 2010 Carrie Underwood
  • 2011 Christina Aguilera
  • 2012 Kelly Clarkson
  • 2013 Alicia Keys
  • 2014 Renee Fleming
  • 2015 Idina Menzel
  • 2016 Lady Gaga


Super Bowl Halftime

The Super Bowl halftime wasn’t always a spectacle of lights and over the top performances. At the time of the Super Bowl’s beginning, the halftime show frequently featured College and University marching bands. However, it was discovered that performances by popular entertainers brought in a larger scope of viewers. This became very apparent when the 1993 halftime show by Michael Jackson brought in more viewers than the game itself. The New York Times wrote, “it was one template for the Super Bowl shows that eventually followed: a superstar, big hits, a cast of thousands and graphics for blimps to photograph from above.”

From then on, the Halftime show became the platform for the most popular artists in music and frequently features surprise and guest performances from equally famous performers. The modern era performers include:

  • 1993 Michael Jackson, performing with 3,500 children
  • 1994 Country stars Clint Black, Tanya Tucker, Travis Tritt, Wynonna, and Naomi Judd
  • 1995 Patti Labelle, Miami Sound Machine & Tony Bennett
  • 1996 Diana Ross
  • 1997 ZZ Top, James Brown, the Blues Brothers featuring Dan Aykroyd, John Goodman, and James Belushi
  • 1998 Boyz II Men, Smokey Robinson, Martha Reeves, the Temptations, Queen Latifah
  • 1999 Stevie Wonder, Gloria Estefan, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
  • 2000 Phil Collins, Christina Aguilera, Enrique Iglesias, Toni Braxton
  • 2001 Aerosmith, ‘N Sync, Britney Spears, Nelly, Mary J. Blige
  • 2002 U2
  • 2003 Shania Twain, No Doubt, Sting
  • 2004 Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake, Nelly, Kid Rock, P. Diddy
  • 2005 Paul McCartney
  • 2006 The Rolling Stones
  • 2007 Prince
  • 2008 Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
  • 2009 Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band
  • 2010 The Who
  • 2011 Black Eyed Peas
  • 2012 Madonna
  • 2013 Beyoncé (and Destiny’s Child, briefly)
  • 2014 Bruno Mars feat. Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • 2015 Katy Perry, Lenny Kravitz & Missy Elliott
  • 2016 Coldplay, Beyoncé and Bruno Mars

Some of the most famous halftime shows include of course Michael Jackson,

Diana Ross, U2 with their post- 9/11 performance that honored the fallen members, Janet Janet’s infamous wardrobe malfunction that cost CBS a hefty fine, Prince’s performance despite the “Purple” rain, and Beyoncé’s bright performance that most believe knocked out the power for almost 40 minutes.

This year’s Super Bowl will take place Sunday, February 5th, 2017. Lady Gaga will headline the halftime show, and the national anthem performer in not yet disclosed! Whether you have Super Bowl tickets or not, you shouldn’t miss out on this exciting weekend.

30th January 2017