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The Comprehensive Guide to the Super Bowl


Super Bowl sunday in America

The biggest sporting event in America is nearing its annual televised social call. Nineteen of the 20 most watched broadcasts in U.S.’ history are Super Bowls (M*A*S*H’s final episode being the outlier.)

But, the now ostentatious and corporate Super Bowl event has humble beginnings. When Vince Lombardi and the Green Bay Packers won the first two Super Bowls in 1967 and 68 (with the Super Bowl trophy aptly named after Lombardi in 1970), just 51 million people tuned in.

Despite the NFL turning a century old, this marks just the 54th Super Bowl as teams competed in championship games depending on the league they were in. Finally, in 1968, after the New York Jets won Super Bowl III to become the first team from a rival league to defeat the NFL, the leagues merged to form the modern NFL.

Separating itself from other sporting events, halftime show concerts began in 1991. Michael Jackson’s 1993 performance drew higher ratings than the game itself, beginning the tradition of elaborate shows with some of the most popular names in music performing including Beyoncé and Prince.

The growth in production value means an increase in ticket prices. Infamous for being incredibly expensive, the average ticket price for Super Bowl I was just $12, equivalent to $92.25 in 2019. Last year, the average ticket ranged from $3,000-$6,000.

Super Bowl LIV will be held at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami to celebrate 100 years of the NFL.

100 years of the NFL, but 54 super seasons

Despite the NFL turning a century old in 2020, this marks just the 54th Super Bowl. The NFL began as the American Professional Football Association in 1920, changing its name to the NFL in 1922. Fast-forward to the 1960s, and an upstart league, the AFL, was gaining popularity thanks to its penchant for high-scoring, exciting games.

The leagues agreed to compete for supremacy, and in 1967, the first Super Bowl took place between the league’s champions. The NFL and AFL officially merged in 1970, after the AFL’s first triumph in the series — the New York Jets beat a heavily favored Baltimore Colts squad in Super Bowl III, with quarterback Joe Namath famously guaranteeing victory. The NFL re-aligned into its current conferences, the AFC and NFC, which today face off every year to earn a Super Bowl championship.


The big game is not just a boy’s club

Women are invested in the Super Bowl for more than just halftime shows and commercials. Women represent 45 percent of the NFL fan base, while logging 49 percent of the viewership of last year’s Super Bowl, a 9 percent increase from a decade ago.

According to TVision, which uses propriety sensors to provide second-by-second analysis of who’s watching TV, who’s in the room, who’s paying attention and who’s reacting, women were 27 percent more attentive during the Super Bowl than their male counterparts.

Despite this data, however commercials are still male-centric. During the 2018 Super Bowl, ads were 12 percent below overall advertising levels in terms of gender equality, according to ABX, which calculates the Gender Equality Measure scores for the ANA.

Though ad campaigns are targeted mainly to men, nine of the NFL’s 32 teams have women in roles of coaching, scouting and front office for their organizations.

Save the date: february 2nd

If Super Bowl Sunday does become a national holiday, as some optimistic NFL fans hope, it’ll be more like Thanksgiving than Christmas. The date fluctuates, due to the fact it must be, of course, on Sunday. 

Furthermore, the “holiday” arrives later as the years go by. Super Bowl I took place on Jan. 15; the season was just 14 games long at that time. Plus, the NFL added bye weeks for each club in 1990, lengthening the season even more. Rumors of a 17-game schedule persist, and if that happens, prepare to wait even longer for the big day.

Wild Wagers

Americans will wager billions of dollars on the Super Bowl this year, but not everyone will gamble on which team wins.

Proposition bets, better known as prop bets, are wagers that aren’t determined by the total score or point spread. They range from the practical—such as how many touchdowns a quarterback will throw—to the zany, such as how long it will take to sing the national anthem.  

With $6 billion gambled on last year’s game by more than 22 million people in the U.S., there is a plethora props. One can wager on the color of the Gatorade dumped on the winning coach, how many songs are performed at halftime, whether a fan will run onto the field, how many commercials will air, which team wins the coin flip, or even if the toss lands heads or tails.

commercial costs

The Super Bowl is easily the most watched television event of the year, and its commercials have a following of their own, entertaining a huge audience with creative and expensively produced ads.

The cost for airtime alone is substantial. A 30-second commercial will fetch $5.1 to $5.3 million for CBS, this year’s broadcaster of the big game. After costs for production, talent, marketing and more, the bill can total as much as $20 million. 

But companies still line up to pay. In 2018, 103.4 million people tuned in to the game, easily the highest rated show of the year. The second highest? That was the Super Bowl postgame show, with 74 million viewers. For comparison, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal wedding drew 29.2 million viewers, and the 2018 Olympics opening ceremony hauled in 28.3. 

Spice up your big game spread!

Tired of eating Buffalo wings and queso dip on Super Bowl Sunday?

Juan E. Gutierrez, owner and executive chef at Quinua Cocina Peruana in downtown Petaluma, offers his Peruvian red snapper ceviche recipe as a fantastic alternative. Born in Peru, Gutierrez immigrated to California in 2003 and brings authentic South American flavor to Wine Country. “Ceviche makes a great appetizer for any type of gathering such as the Super Bowl and can pair with any drink. Enjoy—our ceviche recipe will truly melt your heart.”

For information and reservations, visit  

Red Snapper Ceviche


2 pounds of red snapper filets

1 red onion, thinly sliced.

Freshly squeezed green lime juice (15-20 limes)

1-2 chopped habanero pepper without seeds and deveined to taste

Salt and black pepper to taste

Chopped cilantro to taste.

Lettuce leafs

Fresh boiled corn

Boiled sweet potato or potato (sliced)


Cut the fish into small cubes. Place in a glass bowl, cover and refrigerate. Slice the onions and juice the limes. Rub the thin onion slices with 1/2 tablespoon of salt and rinse in cold water.

Place the cubes of fish, onions, cilantro and hot peppers in a glass bowl and pour the lime juice over the ingredients. Sprinkle with a little bit of black pepper and salt to taste.

Cover and refrigerate for 10 minutes.

Serve over lettuce leaves, with prepared corn, sweet potato or potato and chifles (plantain chips).




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