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Why is there a week off before the Super Bowl?

The Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Benglas won their conferenece championships and now must wait two weeks before kickoff of Super Bowl LVI.

The Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Benglas won their conferenece championships and now must wait two weeks before kickoff of Super Bowl LVI.
Kirby LeeUSA TODAY Sports

Football fans brace yourselves. This weekend will be the first with no NFL games since the opening week of of September.

Pro Bowl now used as football filler

You could try to sell me with the Pro Bowl being played this Sunday, but it’s not the same. It may be a compilation of leagues best players taking the field in the NFL’s top talent showcase, but the level of competition dips, and let’s be honest interest is minimal.

The Pro Bowl used to be played the week after the Super Bowl, allowing the players who were on participated in the Super Bowl the chance to play in the NFL’s “All-Star” game. Win or lose, not many players ended up participating a week playing in the Super Bowl. In 2010 the the league decided to place it in between the Conference Championships and Super Bowl Sunday.

Super Bowl IV the first with just a week's rest

On a couple occasions, circumstances forced the Super Bowl to be played the week after the AFC and NFC title games. It has happened a total of seven times, with the last one taking place in 2003 when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XXVII.

The first game played after just a week of rest was Super Bowl IV which was won by the Kansas City Chiefs in 1970. Since then there have been a few scattered over the last half decade.

At the start of the millennium four straight Super Bowls were played with no weekend rest. From 2000-2003 teams had just a week to prepare for the big game, but in 2004 the league went back to a weekend “bye” before the biggest Sunday of the football season.

Why wait a week?

There are plenty of reasons why the NFL takes a bit of a break before Super Sunday. Obviously getting both teams rested and healthy for the big game is important. The Rams had their bye week in Week 11, which means they have played every week for the last two and a half months when you take into account the playoffs. The Bengals had their bye in Week 10, so they were on a weeks less rest going into the AFC Championship.

It is also essential that the game gets plenty of build up in the weeks leading up to kickoff. For two weeks straight media outlets do nothing but talk about the Super Bowl so much, that even the non football fan is tempted to tune in and see what all the buzz is about.

The two week break has been used since Super Bowl I, and five years ago NFL Spokesman Greg Aiello told the Guardian, “The concept was to give the promotion of the game time to build. The two-week break has been standard procedure since the first Super Bowl. There have been one-week breaks a handful of times when circumstances dictated it. Another benefit is that it gives the two teams more rest and recovery from injury.”

Media frenzy in lead up to the Super Bowl

Super Bowl Sunday isn’t just the game. There are events, media day and public practices that the teams have to go through all in the lead up to kickoff. There is a whole itinerary that teams are obligated to show up to which takes away time from game preperation

Another reason there is a 14 day break between the conference championships and the big game is for the fans. It's not easy planning trips on short notice, and football fans don't know if they will be going to the Super Bowl until the game before. The fans of the conference winners need to have enough time to be able to take off work, plan their trips and book hotels.

Everyone who is planning on going to the Los Angeles for the Super Bowl probably has their travel plans all set by now. The only thing they will have to do until then is wait. For the football junkie who can’t go a weekend without watching, this Sundays Pro Bowl will have to suffice.


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