In 1920, the American Professional Football League formed but changed its name in 1922 to the National Football League. In the early days, people felt professional football was not as good as college football. People criticized the idea that athletes would play football for money. Many early professional players had day jobs.

The invention of television created a potential national audience for professional football. Before television, most people were more interested in their local high school or college football team. Before 1956, an NFL TV blackout policy meant that people in the home-team city had to buy tickets to watch the game at the stadium while the rest of the country watched the game on television. The NFL felt this policy protected the home team’s gate receipt income while helping to increase the popularity of the game everywhere else.

In 1960, the American Football League formed with its own TV contract to broadcast games. By 1966, the AFL (American Football League) and NFL had agreed to merge. Keeping the name NFL, the league divided itself into two regions, called conferences: the American Football Conference and the National Football Conference. The first Super Bowl, a championship game between the two conferences, was played in 1967. The name Super Bowl was first used in 1969 and each annual game thereafter was given a Roman numeral.

Numbers attending the Super Bowl are largely dependent on the size of the host stadium.

Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, Texas, hosted Super Bowl XLV between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers on February 6, 2011. They hoped to beat the Super Bowl attendance record by adding extra seats. But, due to safety issues, they couldn’t use the seats. The ticket holders were reseated elsewhere, or given a refund of three times the price they paid for their tickets.


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