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Super Bowl History

SUPER BOWL I Green Bay’s Elijah Pitts carries the ball during the first Super Bowl, on January 15, 1967. FOCUS ON SPORT/GETTY IMAGES

The Super Bowl is America’s biggest sports event. More than 100 million people watch it each year. Let’s take a look at its history.

There used to be two professional football leagues. They were the National Football League (NFL) and the American Football League (AFL). In 1967, they played a championship game at the end of the season.

Lamar Hunt owned the AFL’s Kansas City Chiefs. The name of the game was his idea. He got it from his kids’ toy Superball. In 1966, he wrote to NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle: “I have kiddingly called it the ‘Super Bowl,’ which obviously can be improved upon.” By the time the two leagues merged, in 1970, the name had stuck.

Super Bowl I was held in Los Angeles, California. It took place on January 15, 1967. The NFL’s Green Bay Packers won 35–10 over the Chiefs.

The Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots are tied for the most Super Bowl wins (see “Super Standings”). Twelve teams have yet to win a Super Bowl. Four have never played in one. They are the Detroit Lions, Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Houston Texans.

Super Standings

This chart shows each team’s Super Bowl wins and losses. It’s accurate at press time, before Super Bowl LVIII on February 11.

MAYBE NEXT YEAR? The Browns, Jaguars, Lions, and Texans have not yet played in a Super Bowl.


Stop & Think! How can the chart be made accurate after the results of Super Bowl LVIII are in? Which two icons need to move, and where to?