SprotsGloss: Super Bowl

Megan Avi HeaderThe Super Bowl is the championship game between the NFL’s two conferences, the AFC and the NFC. But why is it called the Super Bowl? The “super” part is easy, the game is huge and has always been marketed as the greatest sporting event of the year. Plus, the NFL wouldn’t have wanted to name it something less sparkly like the Swell Bowl or the Great Bowl.

The “bowl” portion comes from college football, believe it or not. We are all familiar with the 150 stupidly named college bowl games played in late fall every year. These bowl games all got their start from the mack-daddy championship battle itself, the Rose Bowl. Way back in 1901, the Roses Association sponsored a college rivalry game between Michigan and Stanford. Michigan, being Michigan, was kicking the tar out of Stanford with a 49-0 lead in the third quarter. Stanford, being Stanford with a tree with lips as their mascot, quit the game right there. The Rose people were not so happy. So, for the next 15 years, they opted for more apropos contests like chariot racing. Sweet, right? Apparently not because in 1916 the Roses Association went back to football.

This was a rather detailed story to finally lead you to where the “bowl” part comes to play. The Roses Association decided they needed their own stadium to play their championship game in, so they built one. Get this, it was round…like a bowl. Genius. Thus, the game was known as the Rose Bowl.

Everyone from then on rode the coattails of the Roses Association, naming their marquee match-ups as bowls as well to draw more attention and money. The NFL would be one of the copycats. The first time the NFL used the bowl moniker was actually for the Pro Bowl in 1951. It wouldn’t be until 1969 that the NFL would call their championship game the Super Bowl. And because football and ‘Murica must do everything their own way, though 1969 was the first Super Bowl, it was called Super Bowl III. The first two were technically named the AFL-NFL World Championships. Do you, football. Do you.

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