Fun Facts & Stories about the NFL and the Super Bowl
Football has been one of the most popular sports on the North American continent, gradually reaching the top since its first official beginnings, and spreading even more rapidly once technology made all kinds of information much more accessible.
Nowadays, there is a firmly established National Football League which makes up the professional segment of the sport. Along with the major event at the end of each season for both the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC), its views and popularity reached peak ratings.
The Super Bowl is widely established as one of the most watched sports events on televised broadcasts worldwide.
Due to its major expansion and entertaining character, it should come as no surprise that even more people became fans of one team or another. Some are solely interested in the game, whereas other fans completely dedicate their support to a single team or player. You would think that at least those would know quite a lot of interesting trivia about their objects of admiration. But how well do they really know the teams they root for? Check out the facts and stories from behind the lines and even outside the field and build up your knowledge about the teams you love the most! After all, the best insight most often comes from inside information.
The Story about the Most Bizarre Play in Super Bowl History
People often get carried away in their fascination with these sports personae, so much so that they even dedicate entire works of literature on their lives and careers. One such example is the book coauthored by Jerry Rice, a Super Bowl star and Randy O. Williams on the most amazing and ‘unforgettable moments’ throughout their experiences in the National Football League.
One story depicted in the book matches our description of the most bizarre move made on the football field. It sets the scene back in Super Bowl VII on the 13th of January, 1974, when the Miami Dolphins were largely taking the lead over their opponents, the Washington Redskins, with a score of 14-0 at the near end of the whole match. In an attempt to confirm their lead, the Dolphins took on an interesting strategy and set their prime kicker ‘Garo’ Yepremian to score a field goal and end the game with a magnificent 17-0 result. However, the kick was blocked and the ball was projected back to Yepremian. The bizarre moment came just then, as the established kicker decided to pass the ball instead of simply protecting it by falling on it. At this moment, the opposing team’s cornerback Mike Bass swooped in and stole the ball only to score a touchdown a few moments later.
While this may seem unlikely to the unaware fan, more informed followers of this sport will tell you that Bass and Yepremian knew each other from their early beginnings in the NFL. This provided advantage to the Washington cornerback, who was aware of the kicker’s weakness – running. In the end, despite this unexpected turn of events, the Miami Dolphins managed to retain the lead and win the game at 14-7, landing another spot in NFL history as the lowest scoring game (21 points in total) since the starting days of the NFL early in the 1900s.
NFL Numbering System for Player Uniforms
If you were surprised to learn about such moves occurring in professional football, you will also be glad to know that there is in fact logic in the way players’ uniforms are numbered. The obvious reason for this is to allow commentators, coaches or simply teammates to distinguish themselves on the field. What you may not have known is that there is a specific pattern when it comes to number distribution.
On April 5, 1973, when the National Football League officially set the rules on numbering player jerseys, it stated specific number ranges for each of the players to choose.
Namely, the quarterbacks, kickers and punters were supposed to choose numbers ranged 1-19, running backs and defensive backs got the following numbers up to 49, 50-59 was set as a range for centers, 60-79 for defensive and offensive linemen and receivers and tight ends got 80-89.
The ultimate range from 90 to 99 was reserved for defensive linemen and linebackers.
The rules remained the same up until 2004, when a few changes were introduced, allowing wide receivers and tight ends additional choice from 10-19. The range from 50-59 was also made more available, as defensive linemen were offered the selection in 2010, and the ultimate alteration in 2015 opened numbers 40 through 49 for linebackers.
Famous Jersey Numbers in the NFL
Some numbers simply seem to stand out more than others, of course due to the fact that they were worn by all-time legends of the NFL. Nearly every team has a tradition to retire the number after the end of the professional career of their great players. Since so much attention is directed to the jerseys, check out the two most popular numbers in the League.
Number 32: Players like Jim Brown, O. J. Simpson, Marcus Allen and Franco Harris have brought fame upon this number, and with much right. Brown is an established legend among running backs, along with his colleague Simpson who only reached bad public status after retirement. Harris earned honors for his jersey number the old-fashioned way, helping the Steelers win four Super Bowls. You should know that he won the MVP title in one of them. This title is common for him and Marcus Allen, when he led his team to the Super Bowl.
Number 12: This is by far the most popular number for NFL quarterbacks, as it fits the number range they are allowed to choose from. Even greater figures in professional football helped make this number legendary – Roger Staubach, Terry Bradshaw and Joe Namath.
As a constant media target due to his personal life affairs, Joe’s popularity had constant fluctuations, much like his team’s performance capabilities. Still, despite the escapades, he earned his New York Jets a much needed Super Bowl victory beating the Colts. Bradshaw brought even greater results to his team, leading the Steelers to 6 Super Bowls winning 4 championship titles. Staunbach measures up to these and other players recognized by the number 12, such as Stabler, Jim Kelly John Brodie.
Did You Know…?
Enough with the stories and useful facts, following is a list of some of the most amazing notions about the NFL and specifically the Super Bowl. So, did you know that…?
- The longest field goal is 64 yards, achieved by Matt Prater in 2013. Before that, the record stayed 63 for a long time, being scored by Tom Dempsey in 1970. Back then, he was a 22-year-old kicker for the New Orleans Saints that lacked half of his right foot and four fingers on his right hand from birth.
- Super Bowl Sunday is right behind Thanksgiving as the days with most recorded food consumption throughout the year in the US. About 8 million pounds of guacamole are used to dip over 14,500 tons of chips on this day.
- On the list of top 10 most watched programs in America, 9 positions are taken by various Super Bowls. In 2010, the Super Bowl XLIV finally dethroned the M*A*S*H series finale as the most watched televised program across the United States.
- The NFL is in fact a non-profit organization, and due to the fact that they do not have any income, they do not pay taxes. However, every team in the NFL that does make a profit out of the sport is obliged to pay their share of tax.
- MVPs cannot be paid by the League itself, due to the aforementioned reason. That is why, as a form of sponsorship, the MVP reward is paid by Disneyland in return for ads during the Super Bowl.
- The reason why Super Bowls are numbered using Roman numerals is because each season falls in between two years.
- The trophy awarded to the winner of this sporting event is called Vince Lombardi, after the name of the Steelers’ coach who led them to win the first two Super Bowls ever. It is designed and manufactured by Tiffani & Co. using sterling silver, so its value is estimated roughly around $50,000. The top of the trophy depicts a standard-sized football on a vague tee-like structure.
- Before SB XXX, the trophy was presented to the team’s owner once they have returned to their lockers, but since then, it is customary to present it to the players right on the field in the midst of the celebrations.
- Ticket prices have gone up significantly in the last few years, reaching over $4,000 per seat. The same goes for a 30-second ad during the Super Bowl – a 110% rise in its price has been noted since 2007, so that it now amounts to $5,000,000.