By Mihran Kalaydjian, CHA



The Super Bowl is the annual championship game of the National Football League (NFL), the highest level of professional American football in the United States, culminating a season that begins in the late summer of the previous calendar year. The Super Bowl uses Roman numerals to identify each game, rather than the year in which it is held. For example, Super Bowl I was played on January 15, 1967, following the 1966 regular season. The most recent game, Super Bowl XLVIII, was played on February 2, 2014, following the 2013 season.

The game was created as part of a merger agreement between the NFL and its then-rival league, the American Football League (AFL). It was agreed that the two leagues’ champion teams would play in the AFL–NFL World Championship Game until the merger was to officially begin in 1970. After the merger, each league was redesignated as a “conference”, and the game was then played between the conference champions. Currently, the National Football Conference (NFC) leads the league with 25 wins to 22 wins for the American Football Conference (AFC). The Pittsburgh Steelers hold the record for Super Bowl victories with six.

The day on which the Super Bowl is played, now considered by some a de facto American national holiday is called “Super Bowl Sunday”. It is the second-largest day for U.S. food consumption, after Thanksgiving Day. In addition, the Super Bowl has frequently been the most watched American television broadcast of the year; the four most-watched broadcasts in U.S. television history are Super Bowls. In 2011, Super Bowl XLV became the most-watched American television program in history with an average audience of 111 million viewers, surpassing the previous year’s Super Bowl, which itself had taken over the number-one spot held for 28 years by the final episode of M*A*S*H. The Super Bowl is also among the most-watched sporting events in the world, almost all audiences being North American, and is second to soccer’s UEFA Champions League final as the most watched annual sporting event worldwide.


For four decades after its 1920 inception, the NFL successfully fended off several rival leagues. However, in 1960, it encountered its most serious competitor when the American Football League (AFL) was formed. The AFL vied heavily with the NFL for both players and fans, but by the middle of the decade the strain of competition led to serious merger talks between the two leagues. Prior to the 1966 season, the NFL and AFL reached a merger agreement that was to take effect for the 1970 season. As part of the merger, the champions of the two leagues agreed to meet in a “world” championship game for professional American football until the merger was effected.

Lamar Hunt, owner of the AFL’s Kansas City Chiefs, first used the term “Super Bowl” to refer to this game in the merger meetings. Hunt would later say the name was likely in his head because his children had been playing with a Super Ball toy (a vintage example of the ball is on display at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio). In a July 25, 1966, letter to NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle, Hunt wrote, “I have kiddingly called it the ‘Super Bowl,’ which obviously can be improved upon.” Although the leagues’ owners decided on the name “AFL-NFL Championship Game,” the media immediately picked up on Hunt’s “Super Bowl” name, which would become official beginning with the third annual game.

The “Super Bowl” name was derived from the bowl game, a post-season college football game. The original “bowl game” was the Rose Bowl Game in Pasadena, California, which was first played in 1902 as the “Tournament East-West football game” as part of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses and moved to the new Rose Bowl Stadium in 1923. The stadium got its name from the fact that the game played there was part of the Tournament of Roses and that it was shaped like a bowl, much like the Yale Bowl in New Haven, Connecticut; the Tournament of Roses football game itself eventually came to be known as the Rose Bowl Game. Exploiting the Rose Bowl Game’s popularity, post-season college football contests were created for Miami (the Orange Bowl) and New Orleans (the Sugar Bowl) in 1935, and for Dallas (the Cotton Bowl) in 1937. Thus, by the time the first Super Bowl was played, the term “bowl” for any big-time American football game was well established.

After the NFL’s Green Bay Packers won the first two Super Bowls, some team owners feared for the future of the merger. At the time, many doubted the competitiveness of AFL teams compared with their NFL counterparts, though that perception changed when the AFL’s New York Jets defeated the NFL’s Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III in Miami. One year later, the AFL’s Kansas City Chiefs defeated the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings 23–7 in Super Bowl IV in New Orleans, which was the final AFL-NFL World Championship Game played before the merger. Beginning with the 1970 season, the NFL realigned into two conferences; the former AFL teams plus three NFL teams (the Colts, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Cleveland Browns) would constitute the American Football Conference (AFC), while the remaining NFL clubs would form the National Football Conference (NFC). The champions of the two conferences would play each other in the Super Bowl.

The winning team receives the Vince Lombardi Trophy, named after the coach of the Green Bay Packers, who won the first two Super Bowl games and three of the five preceding NFL championships in 1961, 1962, and 1965. Following Lombardi’s death in September, 1970, the trophy was named the Vince Lombardi Trophy, and was the first awarded as such to the Baltimore Colts following their win in Super Bowl V in Miami.


The game is played annually on a Sunday as the final game of the NFL Playoffs. Originally, the game took place in early to mid-January, following a fourteen-game regular season and two rounds of playoffs. Over the years, the date of the Super Bowl has progressed from the second Sunday in January, to the third, then the fourth Sunday in January; the game is currently played on the first Sunday in February, given the current seventeen-week (sixteen games and one bye week) regular season and three rounds of playoffs. Also, February is television’s “sweeps” month, thus affording the television network carrying the game an immense opportunity to pad its viewership when negotiating for advertising revenue. The progression of the dates of the Super Bowl was caused by several factors: the expansion of the NFL’s regular season in 1978 from fourteen games to sixteen; the expansion of the pre-Super Bowl playoff field from six teams (two AFL and four NFL) prior to the merger, to eight in the 1970–71 season, then to ten in 1978–79, and finally twelve in 1990–91, necessitating additional rounds of playoffs; the addition of the regular season bye-week in the 1990s; and the decision to start the regular season the week following Labor Day.

To date, 36 games have been played in January, and 11 in February. The earliest game played was Super Bowl XI on January 9, 1977. The latest played was Super Bowl XLIV on February 7, 2010. The most frequent date for the game has been January 26, with four games played. Between January 9 and February 7, the only dates not to feature the game have been January 10, 19 and 23. Super Bowl XLVIII will be the first Super Bowl played on February 2, a date commonly celebrated as Groundhog Day.


Seattle Seahawks: Reliving the Road to a Super Bowl XLVIII Win

By Mihran Kalaydjian, CHA

Seattle Seahawks: Reliving the Road to a Super Bowl XLVIII Win


The Seattle Seahawks are the Super Bowl XLVIII champions. While the destination is what matters, fans should not forget the road the team took to get to this point. The number one defense versus the number one offense — the Seattle Seahawks versus the Denver Broncos.

General manager John Schneider assembled a special roster, and head coach Pete Carroll and his staff led it to the franchise’s first Super Bowl title. From the top of the organization to the bottom of the roster, the Seahawks played like champions all year.  

No season, not even a Super Bowl season, is ever without mistakes and adversity. The Seahawks had to overcome both just to get to the big game. They persevered. They overcame. They delivered. 

The Seahawks started strong, stumbled at times, but ultimately, they made the plays that had to be made. In a way, their season mirrors their performance in the Super Bowl. 

For all Seahawks fans, it’s time to celebrate. Begin that celebration by reliving Seattle’s super season.

Seattle made headlines early in the offseason by acquiring one of the most explosive playmakers in the  NFL. It traded three draft picks to the Minnesota Vikings in exchange for wide receiver Percy Harvin, who it quickly signed to a massive six-year, $67 million contract extension. 

The Seahawks didn’t stop there. They rebuilt their defensive line by signing defensive ends Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril and defensive tackle Tony McDaniel in free agency, adding to a defense that was already stacked with talent. 

Unfortunately, the team ended up getting very little out of its 2013 draft class. Seattle lacked a first-round pick because of the Percy Harvin trade, and ultimately didn’t make its first selection until the last pick of the second round. It then used that pick on a project running back who rarely saw the field this season. 

The Seahawks ultimately ended up drafting just two players that would make an impact on the 2013 season. Tight end Luke Willson, selected in the fifth round, and seventh-round offensive lineman Michael Bowie were the only drafted players to see extensive minutes for the Seahawks this year. 

Ultimately, Seattle’s offseason was about quality over quantity. It didn’t add many new faces to the roster, but those few additions proved critical in turning a good team into a Super Bowl-winning squad. 

Training Camp Injuries

Training camps are meant to be uneventful. When big news stories break during camp, it rarely means good news for the team. Unfortunately, Seattle’s training camp was full of big stories. 

The trouble started for the Seahawks before the players took to the practice field for the first time. Harvin, their headlining offseason addition, arrived to camp with a hip that was still sore from a June minicamp.

The team doctors believed that two months of rest would be sufficient for Harvin’s hip to heal, but that didn’t come to fruition. Harvin ended up having major surgery to repair the labrum in his hip, which caused him to miss all but one game during the regular season. 

Things became worse just one week later when Sidney Rice, the team’s other star receiver, suddenly left camp to fly to Switzerland for a procedure on his knee. Rice never played a down in the preseason, and his knee left him limited early in the season. He would later tear his ACL against the St. Louis Rams on Oct. 28, ending his season prematurely. 

The preseason injury problem wasn’t restricted to Seattle’s wide receivers. For the defensive line, the injury bug turned into an epidemic.

Defensive tackles McDaniel (groin), Brandon Mebane (groin) and Jordan Hill (biceps) all entered the season limited or ruled out by injuries. Defensive ends Chris Clemson (knee) and Avril (hamstring) both ended up missing the Week 1 game against the Carolina Panthers as well. 

Playoff Success

By finishing the regular season with the NFC’s best record, Seattle secured both a first-round bye in the playoffs and the right to play both of their NFC playoff games at century Link Field. 

A Super Ending

Super Bowl XLVIII got off to a great start for Seattle. On the first play from scrimmage, the snap sailed over Denver quarterback Peyton Manning’s head for a safety and two quick points for the Seahawks. A pair of Seattle field goals stretched the lead to eight by the end of the first quarter. 

Seattle’s defense dominated the early portion of this game as well. The Bronco  didn’t move the chains for the first time until five minutes into the second quarter, but the drive ended in spectacular fashion for the Seahawks. Smith, who iced the NFC Championship Game with an interception, picked a Manning pass and took it 69 yards for a touchdown and a 22-0 lead. 

The Broncos moved the ball on the next drive as well, but that drive ended when defensive end Chris Clemons tipped Manning’s pass on fourth down, causing it to fall incomplete. The Seahawks went into halftime up by three touchdowns. 

The second half began in dramatic fashion for the Seahawks. Harvin took the opening kickoff all the way back for an 87-yard touchdown, extending Seattle’s lead to 29-0. 

If there was one play that represented the entire game, it was wide receiver Jermaine Kearse breaking four tackles to get into the end zone after catching a pass from Wilson. The score put the Seahawks up 36-0, and the celebration began for Seahawks fans everywhere.

Peyton Manning broke up the shutout in the fourth quarter, but nothing could slow down the Seattle’s march to victory. 

The Seahawks defeated the Broncos 43-8 to win the Super Bowl. 

A Magical Season

The Seahawks treated their fans to a magical season. It was the first Super Bowl championship in franchise history, and the first major-sports title for the city since the Supersonics won the NBA Championship in 1979. 

All that’s left is the parade through the streets of Seattle. It simply doesn’t get any better for the team and their fans.