When was the first Super Bowl? History of the biggest sporting event in the US

Source: AP
Source: AP

On Jan. 15, 1967, history was made in Los Angeles. It was a comfortable 72 degrees in Memorial Coliseum, where the National Football League's Green Bay Packers took on the American Football League's Kansas City Chiefs in the AFL-NFL World Championship, now known as Super Bowl I.

Over 50 million people tuned in, in which quarterback Bart Starr led the Packers to a 35-10 thrashing of the Chiefs. Starr went on to be named the game's most valuable player, an award he won the following year as well in Green Bay's victory over the Oakland Raiders

1969 Super Bowl between the Jets and Colts
Source: 
Anonymous/AP

The first game, though, to be officially dubbed the Super Bowl, was the 1969 Super Bowl, a game that featured the AFL champion New York Jets and the NFL champion Baltimore Colts. In one of the greatest upsets in Super Bowl history, the Joe Namath-led Jets won the AFL its first Super Bowl, in a 16-7 victory over the Colts — this, of course, came after Namath famously "guaranteed" victory.  

There have now been 50 Super Bowl contests, the last of which saw Peyton Manning led the Denver Broncos to victory over the Carolina Panthers in the 2016 Super Bowl

Peyton Manning retired shortly after winning his second Super Bowl.
Source: 
Timothy A. Clary /Getty Images

Super Bowl viewership

Due to incredibly high viewership, CBS was able to command nearly $5 million for a 30-second advertisement during the 2016 Super Bowl. Compare this to the $42,000 it cost for the same during the 1967 Super Bowl. Fox is reportedly seeking over $5 million for 30 seconds of ad space during the 2017 Super Bowl. 

But just how high is the viewership? The 2015 Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks is the most viewed telecast in U.S. television history, with a viewership of 114.4 million. In fact, besides the series finale of M*A*S*H, which was watched by an astounding 105.97 million people, the rest of the top nine most viewed telecasts in U.S. history are all Super Bowls

The Super Bowl halftime show has even become its own event, featuring some of the greatest musical artists. Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, Katy Perry and Beyoncé have all performed at the Super Bowl. 

Katy Perry with some dancing sharks performing at the Super Bowl.
Source: 
Michael Conroy/AP

On Feb. 5, it is likely that over 100 million will once again tune in to watch America's grandest sporting event. Super Bowl LI will feature the AFC champion (either New England, Houston, Kansas City or Pittsburgh) taking on the NFC champion (either Green Bay, Seattle, Atlanta or Dallas). Lady Gaga will headline the halftime show.

Should the Pittsburgh Steelers win the 2017 Super Bowl, they will expand on their record six titles. Of course, if the Dallas Cowboys make it and win, they will tie the Steelers with six victories. Green Bay and New England each have four Super Bowl wins, and can inch closer to the Steelers this year with a victory in Houston. 

Mic has ongoing coverage of the Super Bowl. Please follow our main Super Bowl hub here. 

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Jason Berman

Jason is an arts writer for Mic based in Pennsylvania. His writing can also be found at Screen Rant. You can reach Jason at jberman@mic.com.

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