Super Bowl History
For years, the National Football League (NFL) had no title game - let alone a Super Bowl. Instead, the team with the best record at season's end was crowned the victor. Fortunately, the NFL remedied this situation by adding a title game in 1933, which saw the top two regular season teams compete in a championship. However, this still leaves us without a Super Bowl, which didn't come until the NFL's big merger with the American Football League (AFL).
The Birth of the Super Bowl
Throughout the early and mid-1960's, the NFL and AFL were heated rivals who were fighting for the lion share of the American football audience. But in 1966, they decided to stop fighting, and instead join forces for a huge merger agreement that would be completed in 1970. For our purposes, the most important aspect of this deal was that a world championship game was created so that the NFL and AFL winners could face off. This game would be dubbed the "Super Bowl" thanks to Lamar Hunt, who owned the AFL's Kansas City Chiefs at the time.
Early Super Bowl Years (Pre-Merger)
The first Super Bowl featured the NFL's Green Bay Packers and the AFL's Kansas City Chiefs. The Packers won this game by a score of 35-10 in front of 61,946 fans. When Green Bay went on to beat the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl II by a score of 33-14, some people started to wonder if the AFL could even compete in this game. Their fears quickly subsided in Super Bowl III, when the AFL's New York Jets beat the NFL's Baltimore Colts 16-7. The AFL's Kansas City Chiefs would go on to win the final NFL-AFL Super Bowl after beating the Minnesota Vikings 23-7.
In 1970, the aforementioned NFL-AFL merger was completed, and the National Football Conference (NFC) and American Football Conference (AFC) were created. This is important because it was no longer two different leagues meeting for the Super Bowl, but rather the conference champions of a unified league. The first team to emerge victorious in the new NFL realignment was the Baltimore Colts as they defeated the Dallas Cowboys 16-13 in a closely-fought battle. Since this time, the Pittsburgh Steelers have gone on to win a record 6 Super Bowl titles, with four of them coming from 1975-1980.
The Super Bowl Today
With 32 teams in the NFL today, winning the Super Bowl is no easy task. However, it's a worthwhile pursuit nonetheless - especially since the winners get to celebrate in front of over 160 million television viewers. Speaking of which, this massive TV audience has led the game's broadcasting network - CBS - to charge over $4 million per 30-second television commercial for the 2014 Super Bowl.
Money is not only a huge part of the game in terms of commercial advertisements, but also when it comes to sports betting. An estimated 200 million people worldwide put some kind of money on the Super Bowl, which generates around $10 billion in total wagers. That said, there's certainly a lot of money to be won when it comes to Super Bowl betting.