• Lamar Hunt came up with the name while watching his children play.
  • The Super Bowl was created as part of the merger agreement between the National Football League (NFL) and its rival, the American Football League (AFL). After its inception in 1920, the NFL fended off several rival leagues before the AFL began play in 1960. The intense competitive war for players and fans led to serious merger talks between the two leagues in 1966. One of the conditions of the AFL-NFL Merger was that the winners of each league's championship game would meet in a contest to determine the "world champion of football". According to NFL Films President Steve Sabol, then NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle wanted to call the game "The Big One". [citation needed] During the discussions to iron out the details, AFL founder and Kansas City Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt had jokingly referred to the proposed interleague championship as the "Super Bowl." Hunt thought of the name after seeing his daughter playing with a toy called a Super Ball. The ball is now on display at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. The name was feasible because postseason college football games had long been known as "bowl games" (the term originates from the Rose Bowl Game, which was in turn named for the bowl-shaped stadium in which it is played). Hunt only meant his suggested name to be a stopgap until a better one could be found. Not having thought of one, the owners named the contest the AFL-NFL World Championship Game. Not surprisingly, fans and media tended to use the shorter, unofficial name. Starting with the third contest in January 1969, the name "Super Bowl" became official. (The previous two games were retroactively re-christened as Super Bowls I and II.) After the NFL's Green Bay Packers convincingly won the first two Super Bowls, some team owners feared for the future of the merger, since many doubted that AFL teams could compete with their NFL counterparts. That all changed with perhaps the biggest upset in American sports history, the AFL's New York Jets defeat of the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III in Miami. One year later, the American Football League's Kansas City Chiefs defeated the NFL Minnesota Vikings 23-7 and won Super Bowl IV in New Orleans, the last World Championship game played between the champions of two leagues. When the NFL and AFL merged into one combined league for the 1970 season, three NFL teams joined the 10 AFL teams to form the American Football Conference (AFC), and the other 13 teams became the National Football Conference (NFC). Since then, the Super Bowl has featured the champions of the AFC and NFC, which are determined each season by the league's playoff tournament. As of Super Bowl XL, former AFL teams have won 12 Super Bowls, pre-1970 NFL teams have won 26 games, and two games have been won by teams created after 1970. The NFL commissioner at that time, Pete Rozelle, is often considered the mastermind of both the merger and the Super Bowl. His leadership guided them into the merger agreement and cemented the preeminence of the Super Bowl. The game remains his crowning achievement and was an important factor in him being selected by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most important people of the 20th century. The winning team gets the Vince Lombardi Trophy, named for the coach of the Green Bay Packers, who won the first two Super Bowl games. Following his death in September 1970, the trophy was named the Vince Lombardi Trophy, first awarded at Super Bowl V in Miami.
  • Lamar Hunts daughter suggested the name to him.

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