A Slice of Americana: The Super Duper Bowl

The San Francisco 49ers' Super Bowl XXIX troph...

The San Francisco 49ers’ Super Bowl XXIX trophy on display at the 49ers’ Family Day at Candlestick Park. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Once again we are about to celebrate our uniquely American holiday, the Super Bowl, that extravaganza of commercialism made fun in commercials spiced up with bone and brain crushing hits provided by the players  and socially acceptable soft porn provided by the cheerleaders, not to mention an occasional clothing malfunction.  Also, reportedly it is only second to Thanksgiving as a food fest.

I’m not knocking it, I enjoy it and this year I hope to enjoy it more because I think both teams are very good.  On one side the unstoppable force, a Peyton Manning controlled offense.  On the other an immovable object, the Seattle defense, not to mention the young Seattle quarterback, Russell Wilson, who has a magical poise and a sixth sense as to what to do when.  He is one of those who are much better than his stats.

Hey, move over and pass the Doritos.

But before I go I want to share a little research with you.   For years I have believed the story that Kansas City Chief’s owner Lamar Hunt, who was central to  the super bowl idea, also was responsible for the name.   The story goes that during a meeting of the team owners several weeks before the  game January 15, 1967 , Hunt referred to it spontaneously as a super bowl, getting the “super” from super balls that his kids played with, and “bowl” from the season ending college bowl games…..an idea probably helped along by ball and bowl being similar.

That was what I was going to share with you so at a pause during the game or a surprisingly dumb commercial you could impress everyone with your historical knowledge.   However, I decided to double check the story so I wouldn’t be adding one more tainted “truth” to the cyber library.   I’m glad I did, too, after reading an article by  Henry Fetter in this week’s The Atlantic:  How the Super Bowl Got It’s Name:  The Real Story.

He cites various references using the name, or close to it,  months before Hunt supposedly came up with the term, including what may be the earliest:  “On June 10 (1966) New York Times sports columnist Arthur Daley looked ahead to “a new superduper football game for what amounts to the championship of the world.”

Dailey came up with that months before the big game, and you can imagine how that could morph into the final form.    At any rate, now if someone brings up the Hunt story, you can school him if you wish, especially if you bone up some more by reading the article linked above.

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