Although it may seem as if the Super Bowl has existed forever, actually the first Super Bowl took place quite recently. Super Bowl 1 made its first appearance merely 39 years back, in the early part of 1967.
That year, the National Football League, or NFL, and the American Football League, the AFL, played against each other with the world championship up for grabs. In 1970, the two leagues merged, with the Super Bowl becoming the championship game of the NFL. The name 'Super Bowl' itself can be traced back to Lamar Hunt who suggested it because of the super ball toy his daughter had and on the basis of the fact that a variety of bowl-shaped stadiums were the venues where college football games were played. Although the press and football fans had already begun using the shorter term for the championship, it was only in 1969 that the original name 'AFL-NFL World Championship Game' was officially replaced by 'Super Bowl'.
The NFL's Green Bay Packers won the first two championships, which caused quite a bit of concern amongst the AFL teams' owners. But a huge upset in the history of this sport was created in the third game, which was won by the New York Jets when they defeated the Baltimore Colts. And, in Super Bowl 4 the Minnesota Vikings were defeated by the Kansas City Chiefs of AFL, which was the final championship game before the two leagues merged. The AFL teams were joined by three NFL teams, making a total of thirteen teams, creating the American Football Conference, or AFC, while the rest of the thirteen teams were formed into the National Football Conference, or NFC. Ever since, the champions of the NFC and the AFC have been playing the Super Bowl. The team that wins gets Vince Lombardi trophy, which has been named after the Green Bay Packers' coach.
The location where the Super Bowl will be played is decided by the NFL about three to five years in advance. It is decided on the basis of various cities competing with each other to host the event. Usually, the southern cities of the US are given preference, or the cities that have domed stadiums. More than half of the games have been played in Los Angeles, Miami, and New Orleans. Some of the leading champions are the New England Patriots, the Washington Redskins, the Oakland Raiders, the San Francisco 49ers, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Dallas Cowboys. And with the likes of leading legends such as Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana, Joe Namath, and many more, the popularity has always been high.
The three major television networks of the US broadcast the game every year, keeping millions of viewers glued to their TV sets. With the end of the regular football season, the playoffs are kicked off, wagers are placed, and the seats in the stadium sell out for one of the most spectacular sporting events in the world. Each year, as the last Sunday in the month of January or the first Sunday in the month of February begins to approach, every football fan in the nation awaits with bated breath for Super Bowl history to be made again.