SOUTH FLORIDA, February 1, 2014 — In the 1960s, the American Football League and National Football League agreed to a 1970 merger with a championship game between the AFL and NFL starting after the 1966 season through the 1969 season. AFL founder Lamar Hunt saw his daughter playing with a bouncing rubber ball called a super ball and came up with the name Super Bowl.
The 1966 saw the Green Bay Packers win the first Super Bowl. In 1967, after a thrilling win over the Dallas Cowboys in the legendary Ice Bowl, the Packers won their second Super Bowl. Packers coach Vincent Lombardi retired after the game, a winner of five NFL championships and the first two Super Bowls ever played.
As America prepares to enjoy the 48th edition of this epic event, here is a look back at the history of Super Bowls I through XLVII from the 1966 through 2012 NFL seasons.
This brings us to the 2013 NFL season compacted into the story of Super Bowl XLVIII.
How we got here: After a tough win over the Carolina Panthers, the San Francisco 49ers reached the NFC Title Game for the third straight year. They would face their hated rivals, the Seattle Seahawks. A brutal game between a pair of nasty defenses was intensified by mutual hatred between coaches Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll from their college coaching days. The Seahawks led by six when the 49ers reached the Seattle 19 with less than 30 seconds to play. Colin Kaepernick threw to the end zone for Michael Crabtree. Cornerback Richard Sherman made a phenomenal play to deflect the ball, which was intercepted by Malcolm Smith. Sherman’s postgame interview became an instant classic only moments after the 23-17 Seahawks win.
The AFC Title Game once again saw Peyton Manning and Tom Brady go at it as the Denver Broncos hosted the New England Patriots. New England got there with ease, while Manning led Denver to a 17-0 fourth quarter lead over the San Diego Chargers one week earlier before barely holding on for a 24-17 win. Brady dominated the career series against Manning, but this game was all Denver. Manning threw for 400 yards as the Broncos built a 23-3 lead after three quarters. Brady mounted a rally that fell short as the Broncos held on for the 26-16 win.
The matchup: Super Bowl XLVIII is set. The 13-3 Denver Broncos have one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time and the top offense of 2013. The 13-3 Seattle Seahawks bring the Legion of Boom, the number one defense.
Intangibles and random facts:
Broncos coach John Fox is bringing his second team to the Super Bowl. One decade earlier, he led the Carolina Panthers to the big game for the first time, where they lost on the final play to New England.
Coach Fox is the second coach to lead his team to a Super Bowl after having heart surgery earlier in the same season. A few weeks ago Fox collapsed on a golf course and is lucky to be alive. Jack Del Rio held things together in his absence. The 1998 Atlanta Falcons saw Dan Reeves have heart surgery six weeks before he coached in the big game. Reeves lost that game, his fourth Super Bowl loss. The other three losses were when he coached Denver, who beat him in this game with John Elway.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll is looking to become the second coach to win a college football championship and a Super Bowl. Carroll coached the USC Trojans to consecutive titles in 2002 and 2003. Jimmy Johnson won with the Miami Hurricanes in 1987 and the Dallas Cowboys in 1992 and 1993.
The Broncos lost four Super Bowls, three of them with Elway at quarterback. Elway would lead the Broncos to their only two Super Bowl victories in his final two seasons in 1997 and 1998. Elway is now the team president and just as hungry.
Peyton Manning is looking to win a Super Bowl with a second team. He won with the Indianapolis Colts in the 2006 season but lost in 2009 to the New Orleans Saints.
Manning’s younger brother Eli has two Super Bowl rings. Eli won one in Peyton’s place in Indianapolis while Peyton can now win in Eli’s home in the New York metropolitan area, what some insist on calling New Jersey.
This is the very first cold weather Super Bowl. The few times the Super Bowl was played in a cold weather city, the game was in a domed stadium. Peyton won his ring in Miami in a warm rainstorm. A Super Bowl held a few years ago in Dallas saw a freak snowstorm hit the city, but again that game was in a dome. This year the game will be for old-time, old-school leatherheads, not fair-weather fans looking for expensive fun in the sun. The temperature on Sunday is expected to be cold with wind but not rain or snow.
Broncos fans are hoping to serenade a victorious John Fox with “What does the fox say?”
John Fox would not be the first Fox to win it all. Hayden Fox won a national championship with the Minnesota State Screaming Eagles. However, it was all fictional. The actor was Craig T. Nelson and the show was “Coach.”
Prediction: Flip a coin. As amazing as Manning is, the miserable weather favors a power running game and tenacious defense. The Seattle Seahawks will win 24-20 as the Legion of Boom brings the first Super Bowl championship to the Pacific Northwest.
Are you ready for some football?
Let’s get it on!