We have about a month until the Big Game! This will be the 49th Big Game — in those 49 years, an interesting history has built up around it. Here are 18 fascinating facts about football’s biggest game.
- In the first Big Game played in 1967, the Green Bay Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs. It was broadcast by both NBC and CBS (only one network gets the honor today), but the broadcast was not recorded (sports were not preserved by the networks and VCRs didn’t become popular until the 1980s) and considered to be a lost treasure. According to the Wall Street Journal, in 2005 a man came forward with video of the game that his father had recorded for a TV station. He donated it to the Paley Center for Media to be restored.
- Big Game I tickets were sold for up to $12 in 1967 — with plenty of empty stadium seats on a sunny day in Southern California. In 2014, people paid between $1,640 and $449,000 to watch the game outside despite the threat of snow and freezing temperatures in New Jersey.
- How times and commercials have changed: in 1967 it cost about $40,000 for 30 seconds of airtime during the Big Gamel broadcast. In 2014, 30 seconds was priced at $4.5 million — and advertisers don’t lose sleep over the cost.
- The NFL loves to treat its players: the winning team receives up to 150 Big Game rings that cost $5,000 each. The losing team also gets rings, but they cost half as much as the winning team rings.
- In addition to rings, the winning team receives the coveted Vince Lombardi Trophy (named for the Packers coach who led the winning team for the first two Big Game titles). The Trophy costs about $12,500. It’s made by Tiffany and takes 72 man hours to produce.
- In Big Game V, though the Dallas Cowboys lost, their linebacker Chuck Howley was named MVP — the only Super Bowl MVP named from a losing team.
- The team with the most Big Game MVPs is the Dallas Cowboys with seven.
- During the post-Big Game XXVIII celebrations, the helmet of MVP Dallas Cowboy Emmitt Smith was stolen. Teammates and officials looked for it high and low for two weeks until someone came forward and returned it… anonymously.
- The Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers have made it to the Big Game more frequently than any other teams — each have made eight appearances.
- Pittsburgh holds the most championship titles with six.
- Denver, Minnesota and Buffalo tie for the most games lost with four each.
- John Elway of the Denver Broncos was the oldest quarterback to win a Big Game at age 38.
- Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers was the youngest quarterback to win a Big Game at age 23.
- Only four NFL teams have never been to a Big Game: Cleveland, Jacksonville, Detroit, and Houston.
- No Big Game has ever gone into overtime.
- Dallas hosted the Big Game for the first time in 2011. To accommodate football fans, temporary seats were installed — but not adequately. Some of the seats were unusable and left more than 1200 ticket holders without seats. 800 people were given seats in other parts of the stadium and 400 others weren’t so lucky. The NFL promised refunds three times the face value of the tickets for those who were inconvenienced.
- In 2005, Animal Planet unveiled Puppy Bowl to compete with the Big Game for viewers. It’s a 12-hour marathon of puppies playing and being cute. In 2014, Puppy Bowl won over about 13.5 million viewers while the Big Game had about 111 million viewers.
- Even with the brutal winter of 2014, Big Game XLVIII, held in East Rutherford, NJ, was not the coldest Super Bowl ever played. The temperature for the 2014 game was 49℉ but at Big Game V in New Orleans, 39℉ was the temperature recorded at game time.
You still have plenty of time to get pumped for your team to make history! But remember it’s not just football that makes the game memorable — just celebrating in the middle of winter can earn a spot on a list of fascinating facts about the Big Game.