The Super Bowl is basically a national holiday. Only Thanksgiving has Americans consuming more food on any one day on a yearly average, while the biggest game of the NFL season is routinely one of the most watched programs in all of television every year. Needless to say, there’s little wonder why Super Bowl tickets are constantly in high demand and difficult to obtain.
From the electric half-time show that has featured icons such as the Rolling Stones and Madonna in year’s past, to the game itself that boasts the league’s top two teams from the AFC and NFC conferences, the Super Bowl rarely disappoints. As good as the game usually is, sometimes the half-time theatrics themselves can make Super Bowl tickets worth the purchase.
No one can forget the Janet Jackson “wardrobe malfunction” via Justin Timberlake not so long ago, while Michael Jackson, The New Kids on the Block and Paul McCartney have livened up the break between halves for sports’ biggest event.
But it’s those two halves that truly make the Super Bowl the greatest championship game in all of sports, as well as the top two teams in the league squaring off for all of the world to see. Half of the excitement comes from how they even got to that point, however, as both teams have to fight through a grueling 16-game schedule and then out-last five other teams in three playoff rounds. Once at the top, it would be understandable for even the biggest stars to simply be content with even reaching the Super Bowl, but somehow players who get paid to play the game of football have kept their focus enough to make 20 of the NFL’s 40+ title games competitive battles (decided by 10 points or less).
After all, it’s only natural that somes of these games would get out of hand, and very quickly at that. The simple fact is that two teams have to (or get to) appear in this game, but just because two teams show up, doesn’t mean that they’re going to be necessarily evenly matched. Despite more than enough of the Super Bowl games being closely contested, NFL fans have seen their fair share of one-sided matchups. While some may say that a blowout makes for a weak game, there is the argument that the winning team’s fans are certainly entertained, while anytime a team goes off for 40+ points in a game, it’s still worth tuning into.
In fact, the Super Bowl has only been blessed enough to see two 50+ point performances in it’s history. While they were clearly blowouts with the San Francisco 49ers thrashing the Denver Broncos 55-10 in 1990 and the Dallas Cowboys crushing the Buffalo Bills 51-17 in 1993, they were remarkable feats that only came to be two times.
The Super Bowl has seen six games total with a team topping 40 or more points, while 23 games have had at least one of the teams cross the 30-point barrier. Needless to say, the Super Bowl is a delicious mix bag of explosive scoring or heated competition. Over time, it’s become quite clear that regardless of the outcome, Super Bowl tickets in a sense pay for themselves.
As we’ve seen throughout history, Super Bowl tickets have become a rarity in the sense that they’re directly associated with some of the greatest moments in NFL history, and to be able to say you attended a historic NFL event in person is akin to being a part of that history, yourself.
From it’s humble beginnings with the Green Bay Packers winning the first two Super Bowls over the Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs, to the recent dominance of the New York Giants, the game has always been a coveted time in sports, and puts the finishing touches each season on arguably sports’ most influential game.
Names like Bart Starr, Joe Namath, Roger Staubach and Terry Bradshaw swept over the 1960’s and 1970’s. Joe Montana and Jerry Rice ruled the 1980’s. Emmitt Smith and his Cowboys had people thinking dynasty in the 1990’s. And in the past decade, dynasty talk arose again with the New England Patriots and New York Giants winning multiple titles.
As much weight as the big names and final outcome often carry, sometimes the best part of the Super Bowl is simply watching how some of the game’s best talent performs when the pressure is on. When the whole world is watching, it seems some of the best players either cave or excel in the moment.
This line of thinking was magnified over a career for guys like Jim Kelly, Fran Tarkenton and John Elway. As great as these three Hall of Fame quarterbacks were, they seemed to save their worst for the biggest game of their lives. Kelly routinely came up short during Buffalo’s still record four-straight Super Bowl appearances, with only one of the games being close. Tarkenton also wasn’t on top of his game, as he was a part of three Super Bowl defeats with the Minnesota Vikings. Elway wasn’t much better, as his teams were routinely blown out in his first three Super Bowl appearances. Rich Gannon is a one-timer that comes to mind, as he entered Super Bowl XXXVII as one of the top passers in the league, only to toss a back-breaking five interceptions in a loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
On the flip-side, players like Joe Montana, Terry Bradshaw, Emmitt Smith and Jerry Rice saved their best for the biggest games of their lives. All five players hold numerous Super Bowl records, while only Rice has ever lost a Super Bowl (with the Raiders). Montana’s long-time backup Steve Young even was able to forever step out of Joe Cool’s shadow by throwing a Super Bowl record six passing scores in his only Super Bowl win over the San Diego Chargers in 1995.
Over the course of Super Bowl history, there have been big-time performances from individuals, but in the end everything circles back to the teams. After all, it’s a team game, and because of this clear fact it’s no surprise that some of the same teams have shown up time and time again on the NFL’s biggest stage.
The Pittsburgh Steelers carry the biggest stick in terms of Super Bowl staying power, as they hold a record six wins in the NFL’s championship game. Pittsburgh is also tied with the Dallas Cowboys for most Super Bowl appearances with eight, while the Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers come in second behind the Steelers with an impressive five Super Bowl wins. In fact, the 49ers are the only team that has appeared in the Super Bowl more than once and has never lost.
Speaking of losing, the Buffalo Bills and Minnesota Vikings are famous for the wrong stat, as they lead the league with most Super Bowl losses (four), while they have also never emerged as the victors of the big game. The Cincinnati Bengals and Philadelphia Eagles have also struck out in their two tries, while the Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans have never even appeared in a Super Bowl (at the time of this writing).
Whether fans are tracking the journey of a powerhouse team, a wild card’s crazy run or an individual player’s journey, Super Bowl tickets are always tough to get but worth the wait and price once you’re in the stands and forever a part of one of the game’s biggest moments.
The Super Bowl has a long, rich history, with many different pairings of the current 32-team league setting, and in many different locations. However, for the most part, die hard fans have been purchasing Super Bowl tickets for games in three storied locations: New Orleans, Miami and Los Angeles (with Miami leading the way with 10 hosted Super Bowls).
Not only are the above three locations highly populated areas and have their own intrigue as major cities, but they also meet the NFL’s requirement of providing a stadium for the game that has the temperature at or above 50 degrees. In New Orleans’ case, a roof (dome) helps make this possible, while Los Angeles and Miami simply don’t often get cold weather. This helps maintain the value of Super Bowl tickets, as it for the most part ensures that the game will not be affected by climate or weather circumstances.
The right venue does more than just ensure ideal weather, however. In fact, some locations have allowed over 100,000 fans to grace the stands in the past. The NFL’s most important game got started back in 1967 with the Packers beating the Chiefs 35-10, with just 61,946 people on site to witness the game. That number jumped up by nearly 14,000 heads the next season when the Packers topped the Raiders, 33-14.
It wasn’t until 1973 that the Super Bowl hit the 90,000 mark, but from that point on the game saw steady rise in fan participation. Not only were more people buying tickets and treating the biggest football game of the year as just that, but stadiums were seating more people. More importantly, the league was actively finding ways to get more people in games, and hammering down locations that could fill their needs.
Four years later in 1977, the NFL saw the Super Bowl break the 100,000 mark. A then record 103,438 fans purchased Super Bowl tickets for a matchup between the Oakland Raiders and Minnesota Vikings. Attendance was in the high 70,000’s the next two seasons until the Super Bowl returned to the spot where the most fans have been able to watch the Super Bowl in one spot in NFL history - in Pasadena, California at the Rose Bowl. A record 103,985 people watched that game live, and another 101,667 bought tickets for the Redskins vs. Dolphins battle in 1983.
The Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California has hosted four Super Bowl games over the years, with all four bringing in well over 100,000 fans. While Pasadena holds the record for Super Bowl attendance, it’s a record that could be inching towards being broken. Dallas Cowboys ambitious owner Jerry Jones had a new stadium built, and it saw a whopping 103,219 fans sit and watch a closely battled Super Bowl between the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers in 2011. It took over 20 years for a Super Bowl game to cross the 100,000 fan plateau again, but it happened in Dallas and with the game’s popularity and NFL stadiums being remodeled or built brand new seemingly every other year, it’s a record that is sure to fall again.
The NFL’s biggest game has come a long way from the days where one of the two teams in the Super Bowl would host the game. Instead, the location is now decided upon long before the game, with cites placing bids. Ultimately, the NFL owners decide on the location of where fans will be purchasing their Super Bowl tickets and typically make a decision 3-5 years before the game is to be played.
While the venue changes every year, the NFL put in place a strategy long ago that has worked over time to give NFL fans a suitable stadium and stage for what is expected to be the most entertaining day of pro football every season.