This Sunday is America’s most popular unofficial holiday, the Super Bowl. And you’ve probably already been invited to at least one party even though you don’t know that the New York Giants and the New England Patriots are traveling to Indianapolis for the 46th installment.
So whether you are going to that Super Bowl gathering to watch the funny commercials, eat all the great food your friends are bringing, or perhaps you're actually a fan of one of the teams -- don't be the lone man out when your friends start to show of their football knowledge.
Here are five fun Super Bowl facts both on and off the field that will wow even the hardest of hardcore football fan.
1. The term “Super Bowl,” was coined after a kid’s toy.
AFL Founder and Kansas City Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt came up with the term when he saw his daughter playing with a popular kid’s toy called a “Super Ball,” in 1967. After the AFL and NFL merger in June 1966, the two leagues agreed to play a “championship game.” It wasn’t until Super Bowl III (1969) that the term gained popularity and was adopted by the media and football fans.
2. Super Bowl XLV (2011) was the highest rated television show of all time.
According to the Nielsen Co. last year’s Super Bowl was the highest rated U.S. television program ever watched with 111 million viewers beating out Super Bowl XLIV (2010) which had 106.5 million viewers. Prior to the last two years of record-setting Super Bowls, the series finale of M*A*S*H* (1983) had held the record for the most viewed television event with 106 million viewers. This year’s Super Bowl features two big market teams with a future Hall of Fame quarterback in Tom Brady, and one that will most likely be considered for the Hall if he can win this one in Eli Manning. So the viewership growth is likely to continue.
3. A 30-second commercial cost $3 million last Super Bowl; the fee for an ad this year is still unknown, but it will likely be more.
The Associated Press reported that in Super Bowl XLIV (2010) the price of a 30-second commercial actually went down for only the second time in history due to the slow economy, dropping to $2.5 million -- if you can actually call that a deal. By comparison a 30-second spot in Super Bowl I (1967) cost $42,500 and the first million dollar ads came in 1995. Many companies save their most creative advertising material for the Super Bowl audience, those are the ads that have you singing the jingle the next day at work.
4. The “wardrobe malfunction.”
Thanks to Janet Jackson’s and Justin Timberlake’s Super Bowl XXXVIII (2004) “wardrobe malfunction” and the boob seen round the world, the F.C.C. now implements at least a five second delay on all live television. Since that Super Bowl mishap, all the half-time performers have been of the less risqué variety. But this year with Madonna set to perform, the F.C.C. official with his finger on the button better not blink.
5. No Super Bowl has ever gone into overtime.
In the long 45 year long history of the Super Bowl there has never been an overtime situation. Many have come down to a final field goal in the closing seconds of regulation. Most would figure in a championship game where supposedly the leagues two best teams are playing at least one game would have went to overtime, but not so. Historically most Super Bowls are blowouts, and only in recent years have some match-ups led to really close games. Four years ago these same two teams met in the Super Bowl with one of the most memorable finishes ever. The Giants upset the Patriots and ruined what would have been a historic perfect season for New England. With that said the encore between these two teams may set the stage for the first overtime in the big game.
* see the NFL's new overtime rules.