Ten Things You Didn’t Know about the Super Bowl


When it comes to North American sports, no game is bigger than the Super Bowl. Even when compared to global tournaments like the FIFA World Cup, the annual Sunday Funday championship game of the NFL turns out more consistently high viewers.

For context, Nielsen reported that around 14 million Americans tuned in for the World Cup final back in 2018. Earlier this year, the NFL reported that 112 million Americans watched the Super Bowl live. Clearly, the NFL’s championship match is treated like a public holiday.

Year-round, Super Bowl betting odds are available from a variety of sportsbooks. With sports betting spreading around the US since the Supreme Court struck down a ban in 2018, there’s been added interest in wagering on the game. Meanwhile, football fantasy leagues remain one of the most ubiquitous forms of sports fandom in the country.

But just because Americans are obsessed with the Super Bowl, that doesn’t mean the general public knows what goes on behind the scenes. Officials in the NFL aren’t just preparing for next year’s championship game, but are actually working years into the future to lock in host cities and other deals. Cumulatively, there’s close to a billion dollars in revenue at play for the major parties involved—and some have nothing to do with the sport directly.

Let’s take a closer look at ten facts you probably didn’t know about the Super Bowl.

  1. You Can Wager on More Than Sports

As outlined above, the Super Bowl is one of the most active times to wager on major league sports in North America. But those new to sportsbooks may not realize that many of these bets have nothing to do with athletic outcomes.

Instead, sportsbooks offer lines, called ‘prop’ bets’, on things like how long it will take a singer to belt out the National Anthem, which Super Bowl commercial will run first, and how many costume changes the halftime performer will wear during their show!

  1. It Makes People Sick

Come every spring, the NCAA’s March Madness basketball tournament costs some companies thousands of dollars as productivity wanes. The same can be said of the Super Bowl, as one in ten workers will call off on the Monday following Sunday Funday. Back in 2020, close to 18 million Americans called off work, causing some to rebrand the day as ‘Super Sick Monday’.

  1. Halftime Performers Aren’t Paid to Perform

Many Super Bowl fans are shocked to learn that the halftime performers aren’t paid for their show. In fact, most spend years appealing to the NFL for a chance to perform—though the NFL at least covers production costs. Esquire reported that back in 2020, the Jennifer Lopez and Shakira halftime show cost around $13 million.

  1. People Get Really Superstitious

Everyone wants their team to win the Super Bowl—and some fans are worried that the slightest deviation from their usual habits will be enough to cost their team the win. As such, fan superstitions hit an all-time high each February.

Some are outright weird. One New England Patriot fan, for example, has two branded teddy bears (one for offense and one for defense). He tucks them in every night, …or else.

  1. The Super Ball

Last year, Yardbarker put together a rundown of every single Super Bowl game, starting back in 1967. The article highlights just how unique each Super Bowl has been in terms of its impact on the league and sport.

For example, the first two games weren’t called Super Bowls, but the AFL-NFL World Championship Game. The Super Bowl got its name from a mispronunciation of a popular toy, the Super Ball, by the owner of the Chiefs’ daughter. By 1969, the NFL had rebranded its championship game to the Super Bowl.

  1. It’s Big Business for Cities

Hosting the Super Bowl is a big deal for a city. Not only will it create between 2,000 and 4,000 new jobs, but it will also inject hundreds of millions into a city’s economy. Most areas rake in around $12 to 22 million in tax revenue alone.

But a city first has to woo the NFL. In addition to a top-tier stadium with 70,000 seats, cities need top media and electrical amenities. They also must be home to an NFL team. Additionally, when considering applications the NFL keeps a lookout for nearby 18-hole golf courses, and even quality bowling alleys in the area.

  1. ‘Get Back’ Coaches Come Out of the Woodwork

The NFL’s Super Bowl game has the same set of rules as a regular-season match. However, players and coaches will be refereed at a stricter standard, as all eyes are on the game. In order to avoid penalties for encroaching on the sidelines, many coaches rely on a ‘get back’ coach.

A get back coach has one job: to keep their head coach from overstepping his boundaries—literally. Next time you watch the game, look for a staff member tugging on the coach’s sleeve or literally bear-hugging him back to the safe zone.

  1. Halftime Commercials Are Worth Half a Billion

The Super Bowl makes the majority of its money from commercial ad placements. In fact, a huge chunk of the league’s annual revenue comes from Super Bowl ads. In 2022, Statista reported the NFL charged $6.5 million for thirty seconds of air time. In 2022, the NFL raked in close to $450 million in in-game ad revenue.

  1. Americans Eat More than on Christmas

Super Bowl is associated with house parties—and, of course, plenty of finger foods. The idea is to distract those uninterested in football with sliders and a halftime show. This year, the average American consumed around 2,400 calories on Super Bowl snacks alone, which includes over 28 million pounds of chips and close to 1.42 billion chicken wings, according to the World Food Program.

  1. Super Bowl Meets Apollo 11

What does the NFL have to do with the moon landing? A lot, actually. The very first Super Bowl game was broadcasted live alongside the Apollo 11 moon landing tapes—and, subsequently, recordings of both events were lost. The Super Bowl was eventually recorded over to capture an important episode of a soap opera. The Apollo 11 tapes, on the other hand, are a bitter harder to pin down.