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Tag: Super Bowl


Five myths about the Super Bowl

On Sunday, we’re running a brief excerpt from this article by Michael MacCambridge, author of “America’s Game: The Epic Story of How Pro Football Captured a Nation.” Here’s the entire article for our online readers. You’ll be well-armed with some Super Bowl trivia on game day.

By Michael MacCambridge/Special to The Washington Post

“If Jesus Christ were alive today,” minister Norman Vincent Peale said in 1974, “he’d be at the Super Bowl.”

The comment was audacious then, but it seems almost self-evident now. Pro football is perhaps the last of the great mass entertainments in America, and the Super Bowl has become the embodiment of our nation: big, convivial, gaudy, passionate and, surely, self-important. This is the weekend when Americans hold the fewest weddings and the most parties. And like a lot of quintessential American institutions, the game inspires numerous myths.

MYTH 1: The game wasn’t called the “Super Bowl” until 1969.

When the established National Football League merged with the upstart American Football League in June 1966, football fans finally got their wish – a showdown was planned between the two league champions, billed as the AFL-NFL World Championship Game. Later that summer, AFL founder Lamar Hunt sent a memo to NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle suggesting that the merged leagues should coin a phrase for the new game. “I have kiddingly called it the Super Bowl,” Hunt wrote, “which obviously can be improved upon.”

Rozelle, with his background in journalism and PR, never cared for the name, deeming it unsophisticated. But even before the first game was played, Hunt’s title swept through the football, news media and advertising worlds. By the end of 1966, network executives were referring to the day of the first game as “Super Sunday.”

After Hunt’s Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Buffalo Bills in the AFL Championship Game, the next day’s Kansas City Star headline declared that the Chiefs were “Super Bowl Bound.” In Los Angeles, on the morning of Jan. 15, 1967, an NFL Films crew member could be heard giving a sound cue – “Super Bowl, reel one” – before shooting the first pregame footage at the Los Angeles Coliseum.

The league held out for a few years before Rozelle conceded. “Super Bowl” first appeared on the program cover of the third game and on the tickets of the fourth game. Few fans noticed; they’d been calling it the Super Bowl since the first one was played.

Click on more for four more Super Bowl myths. Read more »


Let’s hope this Super Bowl trend doesn’t catch on

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

For a lot of Super Bowl viewers, the game is just an excuse to watch the commercials – which often are more entertaining than the action on the field.

Advertisers spend millions of dollars to run ads during the Super Bowl, regularly one of the most-watched TV shows of the year. They gear up for months to present wacky plugs for everything from cars, beer and potato chips to soft drinks and job-search Web sites.

This year, however, one of the ads will tout something completely different: not having an abortion.
In a departure from the usual funny ads, CBS has accepted one from the conservative Focus on the Family organization that features former University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow and his mother Pam. She has spoken in the past about how doctors in the Philippines recommended that she abort a troubled pregnancy, but that she decided not to. The baby survived, grew up and won the 2007 Heisman Trophy. Read more »