It is purportedly the most-watched sporting event in the United States (much of it "viewed" as background noise), and is justifiably criticized for:
- addicting men to a pagan, demonic, unhealthy spectator activity;
- causing overall economic harm to the location (refusing to pay sales tax and taking millions in subsidies);
- increasing gambling (more than 23M Americans bet on this game) and alcohol consumption, in harm to families; and
- advancing the liberal agenda by pandering to the liberal media.
Ticket prices to attend declined in 2023 compared with 2022, and declined as the game approached.
As part of a 1960-era merger agreement between the NFL and the now-defunct American Football League (AFL), the champions from each league would face each other.
The term "Super Bowl" did not come into being until the third such game: the first two games were simply called "NFL-AFL Championship Game" (the games would later be retconned as Super Bowls I and II). With the exception of Super Bowl 50 the game is always named with Roman numerals (for Super Bowl 50 it would have been "Super Bowl L"; however, L stands for "loss" which did not appear to be good marketing).
The game is always played at a pre-determined site (often at a stadium which hosts an NFL team), on a Sunday (referred to as Super Bowl Sunday) two weeks after each conference's championship games (which usually places it at the first week in February). Normally the site is either a warm-weather site, or has an enclosed stadium where weather is not an issue, and almost always is played in a metropolitan area which is also a tourist destination with experience in handling major events (New Orleans is among the popular sites). No team had ever played a Super Bowl game in its own home stadium until Super Bowl LV, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would play the game which was already scheduled for Raymond James Stadium in Tampa (the following year another team played and won in its home stadium, when the Los Angeles Rams won Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium in suburban Inglewood). The winning team receives the Vince Lombardi Trophy, named for the legendary Green Bay Packers coach who won the first two games.
Team and Individual Statistics
The New England Patriots have the most appearances in the Super Bowl (11), are tied for the most wins (six, with the Pittsburgh Steelers) and (little known) are tied for the most losses (five, along with the Denver Broncos). Four teams (the Baltimore Ravens, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the New York Jets, and the New Orleans Saints) are unbeaten in Super Bowl appearances; the Ravens and Buccaneers are the only teams to win more than one Super Bowl without a loss.
On the flip side, eight teams (the Buffalo Bills, the Minnesota Vikings, the Atlanta Falcons, the Carolina Panthers, the Cincinnati Bengals, the Arizona Cardinals, the San Diego Chargers, and the Tennessee Titans) have appeared in but not won a Super Bowl. Buffalo and Minnesota are tied for the most losses by a team that has not won a Super Bowl (four, the Bills also hold the record for most consecutive Super Bowl appearances at four), while Atlanta, Carolina, and Cincinnati lost both of their appearances and the other three teams lost in their sole appearance. Four franchises -- the Detroit Lions, Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans -- have never appeared in a Super Bowl game; the Lions and Browns are the only NFL teams which existed prior to the NFL-AFL merger to not have appeared.
There have been three instances where two teams have met more than once in a Super Bowl; in each case the team that won the first matchup also won the rematch. Only once have two teams meet three times (Dallas and Pittsburgh; Pittsburgh won the first two while Dallas won the third).
Three teams did not score a touchdown in the Super Bowl game; however, there has never been a shutout.
Only one Super Bowl game has gone into overtime: New England defeated Atlanta (after coming back from a 25-point deficit).
Among individual accomplishments, Tom Brady holds the most individual Super Bowl wins (seven, more than any team has won) and appearances (ten); he and Peyton Manning are the only quarterbacks to lead two different teams to a Super Bowl win. Brady also holds the record for most Super Bowl MVP trophies with five and the only one to win the award as a member of two different teams; among the major American sports leagues only Michael Jordan has more championship MVP's (he has six). Only one time has the losing team had the MVP selected from it, and only one time has a team had co-MVP's; both times Dallas was that team.
There is more predictability in NFL playoff games than even in professional wrestling (which is known to be "scripted" in terms of outcome). The best football players are rarely showcased on Super Bowl Sunday, in contrast with a generation ago. The Super Bowl also features a half-time show that is increasingly liberal and sometimes even pro-homosexual. The game as become a tool of the liberal media to bully states into rejecting conservative legislation, lest the states be stricken from potential host locations.
The outcome in Super Bowls is increasingly the result of play-calling by non-athletic coaches, who use extensive business-like approaches to the game. Genuine athleticism has become less important to this game, and is even viewed with disdain by some. The NFL is distorted so badly that almost none of its top athletes ever play in the Super Bowl now.
The economic benefits of hosting a Super Bowl are marginal, perhaps even negative:
- In 2020, Miami taxpayers were required by the NFL to spend a million dollars paying for millionaire players to stay in luxury hotels.
- The mayor of Glendale, Arizona, expected his city to lose money from hosting the 2015 Super Bowl: "I totally believe we will lose money on this," mayor Jerry Weiers told ESPN.
- The NFL was so harmful to local businesses and taxpayers of New Jersey in 2014 that 55% of business leaders who were surveyed afterwards said they did not want New Jersey to host the game again. Part of the NFL's bilking of taxpayers was its demand for a $7.5 million rebate on sales taxes.
Despite this, and how independent economists have shown that the benefit to a Super Bowl host city is zero or nearly so, the taxpayer-supported NFL absurdly claims that a city receives benefits of $500 million just for hosting the Super Bowl.
Super Bowls are the most watched television broadcasts in history, but much of the audience simply uses the game as background noise during parties. Super Bowl XLVIII was the highest rated broadcast in history, with an average viewership of 112 million. For years the number of viewers of the Super Bowl in the key demographic of 18 to 49 years old has declined, and Super Bowl LV (2021) had its lowest ratings in 15 years; even though the matchup featured two smaller-market teams, it featured the defending Super Bowl champions attempting the first repeat in almost two decades, against a team playing the first ever Super Bowl in its own home stadium led by a quarterback seeking a record seventh Super Bowl win (more than any individual franchise). The media has been criticized for over-hyping the audience.
Not only has viewership decreased, so has live attendance: the total attendance for Super Bowl LIV--held in the warm weather climate of South Florida--was the second-lowest on record at the time (behind only the first Super Bowl, which at that time was called the "NFL-AFL Championship Game" and was nowhere near as popular as in modern times).
- SI Wire (January 20, 2015). "Mayor of Glendale, Arizona, says city will lose money hosting Super Bowl". Sports Illustrated website.
- O'Connell, Michael (February 3, 2014). "TV ratings: Super Bowl XLVIII is most watched in history with 112.2 million viewers". The Hollywood Reporter website.
- It was, however, a sellout; Hard Rock Stadium was recently renovated and reconfigured to lower seating capacity.
- Super Bowl LV would later set the record as the least-attended; however, this was due to COVID-19 restrictions on fan attendance.