BlogHow the Super Bowl Got Its Name: A Story of Kids' Toys...

How the Super Bowl Got Its Name: A Story of Kids’ Toys & Lamar Hunt’s Creativity

Thursday, May 16, 2024


The Super Bowl isn’t just a game; it’s an electrifying clash between the two finest teams of the National Football League (NFL).

The game was created from the merger of the NFL and the AFL. It has served as the final game of every NFL season since 1967

Initially, it was known as the AFL-NFL World Championship Game. But soon it transformed into the iconic “Super Bowl” during the legendary Super Bowl III in 1969.

Have you ever wondered how the Super Bowl got its name? It’s not just a catchy name – there’s also a cool story behind it!

Let’s take a trip back in time to see how this epic championship acquired its iconic title. 

History – Who is Lamar Hunt?

Lamar Hunt was a successful businessman who dared to dream big. He wasn’t a professional athlete, but an entrepreneur who loved football. 

After failing to buy an NFL team, Hunt decided to start his league the American Football League (AFL), aiming to make the game more fun.

Hunt faced challenges at first but his determination paid off. The AFL became a hit, offering more points, cool jerseys for kids, and fun personalities like Chiefs coach Hank Stram and Jets quarterback Joe Namath

How The Super Bowl Got its Name?

Right before the 1966 season kicked off, the AFL was ready to take on the mighty NFL. Lamar Hunt, also the owner of the Chiefs, wrote a letter to NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle

In his letter, he extended an invitation for the NFL champion to square off against the AFL champion once their respective championship games are over.

In Michael MacCambridge‘s renowned book America’s Game,” Lamar Hunt wanted a catchy name for the Championship Game. He jokingly suggested “Super Bowl,” but mentioned that there was room for enhancement.

However, Hunt’s idea didn’t win everyone over. NFL publicity director Don Weiss noted that Commissioner Pete Rozelle wasn’t keen on the nickname, finding “super” too casual

Reports suggest that Rozelle would have named the game the Pro Bowl if that name hadn’t already been assigned to the league’s all-star game.

There’s a fascinating tale behind how Hunt came up with this name. It all started when he spotted his children playing with a toy named the “Super Ball.”

“I do not recall any predetermined thought relative to this rather unhistoric moment,” Hunt penned this for the Times.

“My own feeling is that it probably registered in my head because my daughter, Sharron, and my son, Lamar Jr., (ages 8 and 10) had a children’s toy called a Super Ball and I probably interchanged the phonetics of ‘bowl’ and ‘ball.'”

Even though Hunt himself wasn’t initially convinced by the name, it gained popularity through media and word of mouth.

In 1967, the game played between the AFL champions, Chiefs, and the NFL champions, Packers was officially called the AFL-NFL Championship, which some folks in the media called “the World Series of Football.”

However, that nickname didn’t catch on with everyone.

Rise of the Super Bowl

Soon, both players and media personalities were adopting Hunt’s “Super Bowl” nickname when discussing the AFL-NFL title game. In a notable instance, NFL Films even labeled Green Bay’s 35-10 triumph as the “Super Bowl” during their coverage.

In just a year, the phrase “Super Bowl” became a sensation, embraced by fans, players, and the media.

After Vince Lombardi’s Packers dominated Al Davis’ Raiders once again, the leagues made Lamar Hunt’s nickname official for their AFL-NFL championship clashes.

The Super Bowl III, which took place in January 1969, marked the first time an AFL-NFL game was officially called the Super Bowl.

It was a big deal because it broke the mold and helped make the Super Bowl what it is today. 

Even though the Jets were seen as huge underdogs against the Colts, Joe Namath confidently said they’d win.

His bold prediction and the game played in Miami’s Orange Bowl shocked everyone and made the NFL and Super Bowl even more popular. This also proved that Lamar Hunt and the AFL were onto something special.

One year later, history unfolded as the AFL and NFL merged after the 1969 season, marking the end of an era with the last showdown between the two leagues in Super Bowl IV

Just one year after the Jets stunned the world by becoming the first AFL team to conquer the NFL, Hunt beamed with pride as his Chiefs pulled off their big win in Super Bowl IV. 

This victory not only leveled the AFL-NFL rivalry at two wins each but also cemented Hunt’s legacy in football history.

While Lombardi’s name graces the Super Bowl trophy, the AFC Championship Trophy pays homage to Hunt’s contributions. 


The Super Bowl is a result of bold dreams and determination. Lamar Hunt’s vision and playful inspiration gave it its iconic name, and today, it’s a symbol of enthusiasm and competition.

As we enjoy each year’s showdown, let’s honor the journey that made the Super Bowl what it is today and the footprint of Lamar Hunt’s legacy in football history.



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