SUPER BOWL LVII
Who won the first Super Bowl? When and where did it take place?
Super Bowl 2023 is upon us, but how did we get here and where did the NFL’s final extravaganza first victory happen?
Ahead of Super Bowl LVII (more chat on the naming system below!) we look back on the first ever Super Bowl which was played on January 15, 1967, and was known, retrospectively as you’ll find out soon, as Super Bowl I. The Green Bay Packers won the game, defeating the Kansas City Chiefs a score of 35-10. And the Chiefs are back this year!
Know more about Super Bowl I
Super Bowl I was played at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and was the first championship game played between the winners of the NFL (National Football League) and the AFL (American Football League). Green Bay Packers quarterback Bart Starr was named the game’s Most Valuable Player after completing 16 of 23 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns. The game was watched by an estimated 60 million people on television, and its success led to the creation of an annual tradition that has become one of the biggest sporting events in the world.
The first Super Bowl was played in the midst of the AFL-NFL merger, which would eventually lead to the creation of the NFL as we know it today. The competition between the two leagues was fierce, and the first Super Bowl was seen as a way to determine which league was truly the dominant force in professional football.
Overall, Super Bowl I was a turning point in the history of American football and marked the beginning of a new era in the sport. The game continues to be one of the most watched television events in the United States and has become a cultural phenomenon that brings people together to celebrate the game, the commercials, and the halftime show.
From Super Bowl I to LVII
Why did they use Roman numerals? I hear you ask. From the outset, it was clear that you could not simply refer to the Super Bowl in the same way that you refer to the season itself. Being an autumnal and winter game, the season is played in one calendar year while the playoffs and Super Bowl are played in January (and now February) of the following calendar year. So recently-retired Tom Brady won his last Super Bowl in 2021, but it was the culmination of the 2020 season.
Back in June of 1966, when the NFL and AFL agreed to merge for the 1970 season, they also agreed an interim deal whereby each league would send their champion to meet in a winner-take-all decider after each of their seasons had ended. To avoid any confusion amongst the fans, the decision was taken to assign a number to this new NFL-AFL Championship Game. Since college games of this sort had traditionally been referred to as Bowl Games, the word naturally associated itself in the popular mind with the contest. Lamar Hunt, while negotiating the new game, began referring to it informally as the “Super Bowl” and the name, though not official, stuck.
By the time the actual merger took place, four years later, the Super Bowl was so entrenched in the football fans’ calendar that it was officially rebranded, making the name, as well as the use of Roman numerals, official for Super Bowl V. The previous NFL-AFL Championship Games 1-4 were retroactively renamed Super Bowl I-IV and the league never looked back.