Weird things can happen over 50 years. Like dumping a barrel of energy drink over the unsuspecting coach’s head. Or hunting for spies around the practice field.
Technology-rich Silicon Valley is hosting its first Super Bowl on Sunday, the league’s signature 50th anniversary game. And Wikipedia, the non-profit online encyclopedia based in San Francisco, has been culling through its memory banks for unusual factoids associated with the game.
Even inflated, the balls don’t match
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When the first Super Bowl was played in 1967, the NFL used slightly different-shaped footballs than the AFL. A rules committee agreed that when Green Bay was on offense, it would use the NFL version and conversely Kansas City would handle the AFL shape on offense.
It’s a food day
People in the United States eat more on Super Bowl Sunday than they do any other day of the year except for Thanksgiving.
This will never catch on
Excited by their victory over Denver in 1987, New York Giants players celebrated with an original stunt for the Super Bowl – they dumped a Gatorade cooler on head coach Bill Parcells.
Except for two penalties and quarterback kneel-downs to end each half in the 1998 game, Denver lost no yardage on any play.
You could tell it wasn’t going well
Pets.com paid millions for a commercial in 2000 featuring a sock puppet. A few months later, the company collapsed.
He knew formation
When Philadelphia needed a tight end for the Super Bowl in 2005, it signed Jeff Thomason, a construction worker, to a one-game contract.
A stupor bowl
Super Bowl V played in Miami in 1971 was the first on artificial turf. It was called the Blunder Bowl: Baltimore and Dallas combined for 11 turnovers, still a record.
In 1972, Dolphins safety Jake Scott entered the game with a broken left hand. During the game, he broke his right wrist as well but continued to play. Dallas crushed Miami, 24-3.
It’s not paranoia if you’re perfect
In 1973, the Dolphins were the only team to win every game of the season. During practices in Los Angeles the week before the game, coach Don Shula had aides inspected trees around the practice field every day for spies from Washington.
Cowboys Dallas linebacker Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson said before the 1979 game that opposing quarterback Terry Bradshaw “couldn’t spell ‘cat’ if you spotted him the C and the A.” In 1992, Buffalo defensive line coach Chuck Dickerson said Washington tackle Joe Jacoby was “a Neanderthal – he slobbers a lot, he probably kicks dogs in his neighborhood.”
Big Brother ad
Drawing on Orwellian lore in 1984, Apple broadcast one of the most famous commercials ever, introducing the Apple Macintosh.
This is the pinnacle?
Before the 1974 game, Minnesota was assigned to practice at a Houston high school. They had no lockers, the team complained, and most of the shower heads didn’t work.
1977’s game was the only one without the national anthem. Vikki Carr instead sang “America the Beautiful.” Halftime in the 1978 game at the Louisiana Superdome featured the Tyler Junior College Apache Belles drill team.
Two players moved all the way up
Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson used the 1959 NFL championship bonus he earned as a player to open his first Hardee’s franchise. He is just the second former NFL player to be a team owner since the Bears’ George Halas, who owned, coached, and played for the Chicago Bears in the 1920s. Richardson’s quarterback, Cam Newton, doesn’t eat hamburgers – he’s a pescatarian, one who eats seafood but not the flesh of other animals.
This in common
Cam Newton holds the record for most yards passing by a quarterback in his first NFL game – breaking the record of Peyton Manning, Denver quarterback he faces Sunday.