SOUTH FLORIDA, February 2, 2014 — For the 48th time, it is time for America to get ready for Super Bowl Sunday. In the days leading up to the game, the entire history of every season in the Super Bowl era deserves attention.
The NFL (National Football League) began playing in the 1920s. In 1960, an upstart league known as the AFL (American Football League) came into existence. A war broke out between the two leagues, and the teams agreed in 1966 to start playing a game at the end of the year between the best team in each league. That game would eventually be known as the Super Bowl, inspired by AFL founder Lamar Hunt seeing his daughter playing with a “super ball.”
The leagues merged in 1970, forming the modern NFL. The NFL teams formed the NFC (National Football Conference), and the AFL formed the AFC (American Football Conference).
Super Bowl I, 1966 – The Green Bay Packers defeated the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL Title game 34-27, when the Packers intercepted a pass in the end zone as time ran out. The Kansas City Chiefs were the AFL champions, and they and the Packers met in Super Bowl I.
The Packers were heavy favorites, and their Coach Vince Lombardi did not want to lose to what he considered a Mickey Mouse League. Although the Packers only led 14-10 at the half, a key interception broke the game open, and the Packers crushed Kansas City in the second half. 35-10 Packers
Super Bowl II, 1967 – The Packers again defeated the Cowboys in the NFL Title Game. The game was known as the Ice Bowl, since the game was played in 13 degrees below zero weather. Down 17-14, on the last play of the game, from the one yard line, the Packers went for the win instead of the tie, partly due to the cold. Bart Starr followed Jerry Kramer’s block, and the Packers won 21-17.
Green Bay played the Raiders in Super Bowl II. The game was only 13-7 in the second quarter, but a fumbled punt set up a Green Bay field goal before the half. Like the previous year, the Packers romped in the second half, including Herb Adderly’s interception return for a touchdown. It was the fifth Packer championship in seven years, and their second Super Bowl win. Vince Lombardi, who the trophy is now named for, retired after the game. 33-14 Packers
Super Bowl III, 1968 – With Lombardi retired, the Packers were done. The Baltimore Colts represented the NFL. The New York Jets, led by Broadway Joe Namath, defeated the Raiders, 27-23, in the AFL Title Game for the right to play in Super Bowl III. The Colts were 18-point favorites, and Joe Namath angered the Colts and his own teammates by saying, “We’re going to win. I guarantee it.”
The world laughed, but on the second play of the game, Colts defensive star Rick Volk went out with an injury. Running back Matt Snell carried 30 times following left tackle Winston Hill. Colts quarterback Earl Morrall was intercepted four times. The Jets led 16-0 in the fourth quarter, when injured legend Johnny Unitas replaced Morrall. It was too little, too late. The Jets had shocked the world. The AFL was no longer an inferior league. 16-7 Jets
Super Bowl IV, 1969 – The Minnesota Vikings represented the NFL. The Chiefs were the best AFL team. Although the Vikings were favored in Super Bowl IV, the Chiefs smothered them. Len Dawson was calm at quarterback, and the Kansas City defense was relentless. Kicker Jan Stenerud added three field goals, as the Chiefs raced to a 16-0 lead and never looked back. The AFL had tied the NFL at two Super Bowls apiece. The leagues merged the next year. 23-7 Chiefs
Super Bowl V, 1970 – The Cowboys finally got to the Super Bowl, representing the NFC. The AFC team was represented by the old NFL team the Colts from two years earlier. Super Bowl V was known as the Blunder Bowl, with the teams combining for 11 turnovers. Dallas led 13-6, and were one yard away from a 14-point lead. They fumbled the ball away.
Still leading 13-6, an intercepted pass set up the tying touchdown late in the game. Another interception set up rookie Jim O’Brien for a 32-yard field goal to win the game. O’Brien had an extra point blocked earlier, but his kick was good, and the Colts had won at the gun. This was the only Super Bowl where the MVP, Chuck Howley, played for the losing team. 16-13 Colts
Super Bowl VI, 1971 – The Cowboys got back again, and the AFC was represented by the Miami Dolphins. The Cowboys were heavy favorites, and Super Bowl VI was the only game where the losing team failed to score a single touchdown. Miami Coach Don Shula was also the coach for the Colts in their shocking loss to the Jets three years earlier. Tom Landry had yet to become a Dallas legend. The game was uneventful, as Dallas coasted. 24-3 Cowboys
Super Bowl VII, 1972 – Super Bowl VII had the Washington Redskins representing the NFC, with the Dolphins again representing the AFC. The Dolphins were unbeaten, and looking to make history. The Dolphins led 14-0 late in the game, when a field goal attempt to lock up the game went awry. The kick was blocked, and kicker Garo Yopremian tried to pick it up and throw it. It was picked out of the air by Mike Bass, who returned it 49 yards for a Redskins touchdown.
The Dolphins did get the ball back, but went nowhere. This was the first Super Bowl where the offense for the losing team did not score at all. The 1972 Miami Dolphins remain the only team in NFL history to get through a season unbeaten, finishing 17-0. Every year when the last team to lose a game does so, members of the 1972 Dolphins pop champagne corks. 14-7 Dolphins
Super Bowl VIII, 1973 – Super Bowl VIII featured the defending Super Bowl champion Dolphins against the NFC champion Vikings. The game was a blowout, as the Dolphins ran 20 first quarter plays to only three for Minnesota. Miami led 14-0 at that point, and due to the running of Mercury Morris, Larry Csonka and Jim Kiick, Miami only threw the ball seven times. Miami won back to back titles, and the Vikings became the first team to lose two Super Bowls. 24-7 DolphinsClick here for reuse options!
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