The Super Bowl is the final contest of the NFL professional football season and determines the league’s annual champion. Currently the Super Bowl routinely finishes among the all-time top 50 programs in television ratings, and the 2011 game was no exception, setting a new record for the biggest American TV audience for a single broadcast, some 111 million viewers.
Now probably the most important single-day sporting event in the United States, the Super Bowl had more modest beginnings, as did the sport itself. Football in America had its start in a game November 6, 1869, when Rutgers and Princeton played a college soccer football game. The game used modified London Football Association rules. During the next seven years, rugby gained favor with the major eastern schools over soccer, and modern football began to develop from rugby. At the Massasoit convention, of 1876, the first rules for American football were written. It was here that Walter Camp, who would become known as the father of American football, first became involved with the game.
In 1902, baseball’s Philadelphia Athletics, managed by Connie Mack, and the Philadelphia Phillies formed professional football teams, joining the Pittsburgh Stars in the first attempt at a pro football league, named the National Football League. The Athletics won the first night football game ever played, 39-0 over Kanaweola AC at Elmira, New York, November 21.
All three teams claimed the pro championship for the year, but the league president, Dave Berry, named the Stars the champions. Pitcher Rube Waddell was with the Athletics, and pitcher Christy Mathewson a fullback for Pittsburgh. The first World Series of pro football, actually a five-team tournament, was played among a team made up of players from both the Athletics and the Phillies, but simply named New York; the New York Knickerbockers; the Syracuse AC; the Warlow AC; and the Orange (New Jersey) AC at New York’s original Madison Square Garden. New York and Syracuse played the first indoor football game before 3,000, December 28. Syracuse, with Glen (Pop) Warner at guard, won 6-0 and went on to win the tournament.
In 1903, the Franklin (PA) Athletic Club won the second and last World Series of pro football over the Oreos AC of Asbury Park, New Jersey; the Watertown Red and Blacks; and the Orange AC. Changes ensued over the next 6 decades — with names, teams, players, and conference alignments coming and going. And in 1967, Congress approved the AFL-NFL merger, passing legislation exempting the agreement itself from antitrust action, October 21.
That same year, the champions of the American Football League (which merged with the NFL in 1970) and the NFL met in what was called the AFL-NFL World Championship Game. The name was later shortened to Super Bowl, named after a child’s toy, the Super Ball. In this first game, the Green Bay Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs, 35-10. The Los Angeles Coliseum, site of the game, fell far short of a sellout, although tickets were only $10 each.
The National Football League’s Super Bowl XLVI will take place on February 5, 2012 in Lucas Oil Stadium in Downtown Indianapolis, Indiana. It will be the NFL’s 46th annual Super Bowl.
Kick-off is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Eastern, 5:30 p.m. Central, 4:30 p.m. Mountain and 3:30 p.m. Pacific time.
Lucas Oil Stadium
Lucas Oil Stadium opened in August 2008. The normal seating for the stadium is 63,000 but will be increased to more than 70,000 for Super Bowl XLVI. The stadium cost approximately $720 million to construct and features a retractable roof and a unique large window at one end of the field.
Now’s the time to get your 2012 Super Bowl tickets! Super Bowl XLVI takes place at the Lucas Oil Stadium, and it marks the first time that Indianapolis has played host. Super Bowl tickets are never around for long, so score yours now and watch NFL history in the making!