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How did the Super Bowl get its name?

Lamar Hunt
Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt changed NFL history with one simple word. Pic credit: FOX4 News Kansas City/YouTube

The Super Bowl is arguably the biggest sporting event to take place every year. Tens of thousands of people will jam the stadium to cheer on their favorite team while millions more will be watching on TV.

The first championship wasn’t a ‘Super Bowl’

So how did all of this Super Bowl madness get started, and where did the term “Super Bowl” originate?

In 1966 then-commissioner Pete Rozelle knew he had to make the first-ever championship game special. After all, this was the first title game between the champions of the NFL and the AFL.

Rozelle had several ideas on how to promote the big game, but coming up with a name for it became a bit harder than first imagined.

Some suggestions that were tossed around for this big Green Bay Packers vs. Kansas City Chiefs matchup included “The Big One,” The “Pro Bowl,” and the “World Series of Football.”

None of those made the cut.

The big one was deemed too bland, the Pro Bowl eventually became the name for the NFL’s version of the All-Star Game, and the World Series of football was thought to be too similar to MLB’s Fall Classic.

After not coming up with any name that would stick, the game between the Chiefs and Packers was simply deemed “The AFL-NFL World Championship Game.”

That term wasn’t sitting well with several owners, including Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt. What happened next shaped the NFL and sports history forever.

Lamar Hunt’s idea changed NFL history

Lamar Hunt, who was the founder of the American Football League and owner of the Kansas City Chiefs, is credited with coming up with the term “Super Bowl.”

The idea came from Hunt’s children, yet they didn’t know it.  Hunt said, “my children had been given a small bowl of rubber balls called a super ball.”

According to TIME, Lamar Hunt Jr. said years later that his dad reportedly just stumbled upon the word and lo and behold the championship game of football had a name.

My dad was in an owner’s meeting. They were trying to figure out what to call the last game, the championship game. I don’t know if he had the ball with him as some reports suggest. My dad said, “Well, we need to come up with a name, something like the ‘Super Bowl.’” And then he said, “Actually, that’s not a very good name. We can come up with something better.” But “Super Bowl” stuck in the media and word of mouth.

The term Super Bowl was born in a simplistic way, yet here we are 54 years later and it is still one of the most recognizable terms in all of sports.

It is only fitting that this year the Chiefs will have a chance to win the Super Bowl, something they have only done one time in the big game’s 53-year existence.


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