We are closing in on America’s favorite holiday: Super Bowl Sunday. Initially played as the championship game between the old-guard National Football League Champions vs. the new, upstart American Football League Champions, the Super Bowl immediately became a hit in American culture.
The Super Bowl has seen its share of close games, blow-out games, Cinderella champions, and odds-on favorite champs. Here’s a look at some facts and trivia of America’s greatest sporting event.
The First Super Bowl
The first Super Bowl was played on January 15, 1967 and pitted the NFL Champion Green Bay Packers vs. the AFL Champion Kansas City Chiefs.
The Packers were the dominant professional football team of the 1960s, winning the NFL Championship five times in the decade, including two Super Bowl victories over the AFL Champions. The Kansas City Chiefs closed out the 60’s by returning to the Super Bowl and defeating the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV.
The Closest Super Bowl Victory
At one stretch from the early 1980’s through the mid 1990’s, the Super Bowl was anything less than competitive. The average margin of victory in the Super Bowl between 1980 and 1998 was 18.6 points. But stuck right in the middle of that stretch was the closest score in Super Bowl history.
On January 27, 1991, the New York Giants won their second Super Bowl in four years with a thrilling 20-19 victory over the Buffalo Bills. For the Bills, it was their first of four consecutive Super Bowl losses, and the closest they would ever get to taste a Super Bowl victory. They would lose the next three Super Bowl’s by a combined score of 119-54.
The Giants 20-19 victory in Super Bowl XXV is also remembered for Bills kicker Scott Norwood’s potential game-winning kick that sailed wide right in the closing seconds of the game.
What was the Largest Margin of Victory?
During the Super Bowl blowout era of the 80’s and 90’s there occurred the largest defeat in Super Bowl history. On January 28, 1990, the San Francisco 49ers defeated the Denver Broncos 55-10.
Super Bowl XXIV was a buildup of two of the most dominant quarterbacks of the era in Joe Montana of the 49ers versus John Elway of the Broncos. The game was one-sided though as Montana threw for 22/29 for 297 yards, five touchdowns, and zero interceptions, while Elway was less superb throwing for 10/26 for 108 yards, zero touchdowns, and two interceptions, according to NFL.com.
Which city and stadium has hosted the most Super Bowl’s?
This one is a bit of a trick question. The cities of New Orleans and Miami have each hosted the most Super Bowls with ten apiece, as of 2014.
The trick with this question is The New Orleans Superdome (also known as the Louisiana/Mercedes-Benz Superdome) has actually hosted the most Super Bowls with seven, the first being in 1978. The other three Super Bowls played in the Big Easy were played at Tulane Stadium in 1970, 1972, and 1975.
The city of Miami has seen the Super Bowl played at the old Orange Bowl five times and at Joe Robbie/Pro Player/Dolphin/Sun Life Stadium five times.
Most Super Bowl Wins, Losses, and Appearances
The Super Bowl has become a major American event, celebrated by many as a national holiday. Winning on the grand stage can put you and your team into American folklore: think Eli Manning, David Tyree, and the New York Giants in their improbable Super Bowl XLII victory over the 18-0 New England Patriots. It can also have the opposite effect: think the Buffalo Bills and their historic four consecutive Super Bowl defeats.
The biggest winner in the Super Bowl has been the Pittsburgh Steelers with six Super Bowl victories. The biggest loser? Well, a few teams hold that distinction with four Super Bowl defeats as of 2013, they are the New England Patriots (3-4), Denver Broncos (2-4), Minnesota Vikings (0-4), and Buffalo Bills (0-4).
The Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2) and Dallas Cowboys (5-3) have each appeared in eight Super Bowls.