“My own feeling is that it probably registered in my head because my daughter, Sharron, and my son Lamar Jr. had a children’s toy called a Super Ball, and I probably interchanged the phonetics of “bowl” and “ball.” Lamar Hunt
Even if you don’t follow sports, the words Super Bowl catch your ear. It’s a week-long event for die-hards; the stores are packed as fans get ready to gather ‘round the TV or prepare for a tailgate party.
The Super Bowl is like a national holiday. I read that food and goodies sold for the game is second only to Thanksgiving. Can you imagine? Yeah, it’s the hoopla, the parties, the atmosphere, togetherness with family and friends.
About the name…
More than once I have heard someone say, “Why is it called football when they don’t kick the ball (except field goals, my words)?” The story of how the Super Bowl name came to be is complex.
This is the short version: the NFL (National Football League) was the big gun until the late fifties when the AFL (American Football League) showed up. It wasn’t a problem till the mid 60s when the AFL hooked up with NBC for a TV deal aaand began to sign some of the top college players. This was a problem.
To avoid a war, Commissioner Pete Rozelle and the NFL decided to talk things over with the AFL. In the end they chose to merge the leagues. Only this would not take place until 1970 and there were two games to play before then. They were called the AFL-NFL World Championship Game.
Uh, no … doesn’t work for me, and didn’t for most fans.
I don’t think it worked for Lamar Hunt either. Many articles report that he began to call the championship game the Super Bowl at the merger meetings—before long it stuck.
Henry D. Fetter, author and sports writer, says it’s not a guarantee that Lamar Hunt should take credit for Super Bowl name: http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2011/01/how-the-super-bowl-got-its-name-the-real-story/70287/
About the ball…
Norman Stingley, a chemist, did experiments in the 60s with a synthetic called Zectron. He compressed the material to 3,500 pounds of pressure per square inch. He ended up with a power ball that could bounce over buildings.
As Lamar Hunt watched his kids play with the new ball, Super Ball became Super Bowl.
Lamar Hunt, merger, team owner, and game namer has also been given credit for the use of Roman Numerals. Historian Bob Moore says Lamar told AP: Roman numerals make the game seem more important, “It’s much more magisterial.”
About the bowl…
It’s easy to figure that the word bowl is used because of the shape of the stadiums. But, did you know that it began with the Pasadena Tournament of Roses? Yup, from my research they hosted the “Tournament East-West Football Game” since 1902.
When the Rose Bowl opened in 1923 the Tournament of Roses called the yearly college game The Rose Bowl Game. Their success is why college rival games are now called “bowl games.”
Still, I have a problem with the word “Bowl.” Football games are played in arenas the size of some states, why call them a bowl?
Help me out here; can you come up with a better word than bowl? And should it be called football or … ?
May Your Glass Always Be Half Full