A Brief History of the National Football League Superbowl

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A Brief History of the NFL Superbowl

This was war! Since its inception seven years earlier, the upstart American Football League (AFL) had fought the National Football League (NFL) for players, fans, television revenues, and respect. The successful new league had won everything except, respect. On January 15, 1967 the first World Championship game against the AFL and the NFL took place. The powerhouse NFL champions the Green Bay Packers against the AFL champion the Kansas City Chiefs. What ended in a 35 to 10 loss to the NFL, the AFL earned its long sought after respect. But the winner that day was not the AFL or even the NFL; it was professional football.

January 15, 1967 was the first ever Super Bowl. A few seasons later it was the Super Bowl who merged the two leagues into what we all know it as today, The National Football League. Thirty-four years later the Super Bowl has become Americas most watched sporting event. It is often the most watched television program each year, and nine out of the top 15 shows in history are NFL championship games according to Nielsen Media. The popularity of the Super Bowl has seen television networks like NBC, CBS, ABC, and FOX fight it out each year for the contract rights to broadcast, this much anticipated event. Many factors contribute to the broadcasting networks' struggle to obtain the rights to air the Super Bowl, mainly advertising dollars and television ratings, but it's not always worth the fight.

A Brief History of Sports on Television


In 1960 the AFL sold its rights to ABC. The NFL and CBS agreed to broadcast rights in 1961. But also in 1961, Congress passed the Sports Broadcasting Act, which permitted leagues to act as cartels in the negotiation and sale of their broadcast rights. This led the NFL to make arrangements, which all networks got some games at some times. When the broadcast rights were sold on a club to club basis, fans got the chance to see their local teams' away games. It bought a...
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