The Super Bowl 2023 (also known as the “Super” in Latin America)1 is the name of the final championship game of the National Football League (NFL) – the premier professional soccer league in the United States – in which the NFC and AFC champions play each other. The game, which takes place on the second Sunday in February, is named after former Kansas City Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt, who named it to distinguish it from other bowl games. He got the idea because his son used to play with a bouncy ball called a “Super Ball.”
The first Super Bowl was played on January 15, 1967 (the first winner was Green Bay) as part of an agreement between the National Football League and the American Football League (AFL), the other league in existence at the time, where the winner of each game would play a game to determine the American champion. When the AFL merged with the National Football League, each league became a conference and the game was played between its champions. The most successful teams are the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots (six), and of the 32 NFL franchises, only four have never played in the playoffs.3 The current champions are the Los Angeles Rams, who won the LVI version of the title on February 13, 2022 with a 23-20 victory over the AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals.
Outside of the sports arena, the Super Bowl is one of the most watched spectacles in the US every year. Many musicians perform during the pregame and halftime ceremonies, the advertising space is the most expensive of the year, and game day (called “Super Sunday”) is effectively a holiday.45 Americans consume more food and drink during the game than on any other day except Thanksgiving.
The National Football League (NFL) is the largest professional soccer league in the United States. The NFL has the legal form of a sports club and is controlled by its own members.4 The league was founded in 1920 by 11 teams under the name American Professional Football Association, renamed the American Professional Football League in 1921 and again under its current name in 1922. Currently, the NFL consists of 32 franchises located in different cities and regions of the United States. It is divided into two leagues: the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC). Each league consists of four divisions (North, South, East and West), each consisting of four teams.
The regular season consists of an 18-week schedule in which each team has an off week, meaning the team does not have a game that week, and consists of six games against opponents from the same division (there are eight divisions, each with four teams). Each team has multiple games between divisions and between conferences. It begins on a Thursday night during the first week of September (the Thursday after Labor Day) and continues through early January. Finally, seven teams from each conference – four division champions and three wildcards – participate in the playoffs. The finals of each conference follow, with the winner of each conference moving on directly to the dream game known as the Super Bowl. The Pro Bowl is held a week before, pitting the two conferences against each other to determine the best players of the year, but the playoff winners (who qualify for the Super Bowl) do not participate in the Pro Bowl.
Although baseball is considered “America’s national pastime,” soccer is the most popular sport in the United States. According to the Harris Poll, conducted by Harris Interactive, professional soccer overtook baseball as the most popular sport in 1965, when a major professional soccer league was formed to compete with the NFL. Since then, soccer has remained the preferred sport. In a 2008 Harris Poll, the NFL was the favorite sport for almost as many people (30%) as the following four sports combined: Baseball (15%), auto racing (10%), ice hockey (5%), and men’s professional basketball (4%). Overall, 42% of Americans consider soccer at some level (professional or college) to be their favorite sport.
The NFL has the highest viewership per game of any professional league in the world, with 67,000 spectators per game in the 2006 and 2007 seasons.