History of the Super Bowl


The Super Bowl, also known as simply Superbowl — a territory acquisition athletic contest played upon a fixed agrarian grid using as a token an inflated porcine prolate spheroid — is the most important holiday of the year in America. Some will say that it is a secular holiday, others argue that it is truly a religious holiday.

And there are many reasons why: it has a liturgy, rituals, and indeed these rituals have changed throughout history. It used to be that commercials were the part of the service that was intended for taking a bio break, but not in recent years. The commercials are now the most important part (for some) of the service, and indeed some (like me) watch Superbowl specifically for the advertisements.

  • Food

After Thanksgiving Day, more food is consumed on Super Bowl Sunday than any other day of the year. These are usually selected for their high caloric index, sodium content, crunch factor as well as carbonated inebriative fluids.

  • Decorations

Not only is food is a major part of this holiday, so too are decorations. Consider supermarkets (named after Superbowl) which decorate the chip aisle as it if is Christmas. If you work for Frito-Lay, it is Christmas.

  • Advertisements

Advertisers will pay up to $100,000 per second for an advert. A 30-second commercial will go for $3M and the slots have been sold out since the beginning of last summer.  Who can forget the introduction of Apple Macintosh, directed by Ridley Scott, during the 1984 Super Bowl, when:

On January 24th, Apple Computer
will introduce Macintosh.
And you’ll see why
1984 won’t be like “1984.”

Here is a collection of YouTube videos of some of the most popular advertisements.

  • History

Super Bowl is the modern name, since 1967, for the professional football championship contests, which extend back into antiquity, Roman antiquity to be precise. This will be Super Bowl XLIII, to honor those Roman roots of gladiatorial contests.

This contest is between the NFL (National Football League) and the AFL (American Football League), so named for the “League” the unit of measurement to express the distance a Roman citizen could walk in 1 hour. The modern game, however, is about 4 times that length of time.

The NFL is divided neatly into two unequal halves, the NFC (National Football Conference) and the AFC (American Football Conference), these are each further subdivided into Meetings, Get-Togethers, and One-On-Ones.

The Super Bowl will not involve the ICFL (Continental Indoor Footfall League) as it is not a TLA (Three Letter Acronym). The winner of the Super Bowl will be declared the “world champions of football”, of course ignoring other inhabited countries who may point out that they call soccer “football”, and they have a championship involving not a bowl, but a cup. And involvement from teams from outer space are right out.

Where does the word “bowl” come from? Originally, it comes from the Rose Bowl, a college football contest, played in Pasadena, CA which is done in an elliptical stadium. Now a stadium is where foot races were held in ancient Rome, but spectator gladiatorial contests like this were held in amphitheaters, like the Colosseum in Rome, or Flavian Amphitheater, so named from the ancient Greek because they were made up of two theaters joined together or theaters on both sides, but that is more ancient history than most people can handle.

  • Half Time

Nominally named for being approximately in the middle of the game, or 2 quarters in, or 4 bits worth, or 50 cents, but not the singer. Unlike many other football broadcasts, this part is actually shown to the audience watching from home. These festivities consist of first-class and second-rate musical performers, some who have questionable taste in attire, others who have costuming clumsiness or “wardrobe malfunctions.”

  • 2 Minute Warning

Super Bowl, while using a clock, does not intent that this is to be understood as representing actual “wall clock” time, rather, it uses poetic license to represent an epochal period that could last 30 minutes or an hour and a half, given overtimes.

  • Celebration

There is one reason for celebrating at the end of Super Bowl, especially for “football widows” or “football widowers” like me. It means the end of the professional football season for the year… except for the Pro Bowl the following weekend.

Bill Petro, your friendly neighborhood historian

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