Latest Sports Scores

Scoreboard

  • ALL
  • NBA
  • NHL
  • NCAAB
  • NBA
  • 3/25 3:30 PM EDT
    UTA0
    LAC0
  • 3/25 7:30 PM EDT
    WAS0
    CLE0
  • 3/25 8:30 PM EDT
    NY0
    SA0
  • 3/25 8:30 PM EDT
    TOR0
    DAL0
  • 3/25 10:00 PM EDT
    MIN0
    POR0
  • NHL
  • Live
    VAN0
    MIN0
  • Live
    PHI0
    CBJ0
  • 3/25 7:00 PM EDT
    CGY0
    STL0
  • 3/25 7:00 PM EDT
    CAR0
    NJ0
  • 3/25 7:00 PM EDT
    BOS0
    NYI0
  • 3/25 7:00 PM EDT
    TOR0
    BUF0
  • 3/25 7:00 PM EDT
    OTT0
    MTL0
  • 3/25 7:00 PM EDT
    ARI0
    WSH0
  • 3/25 7:00 PM EDT
    CHI0
    FLA0
  • 3/25 8:00 PM EDT
    SJ0
    NSH0
  • 3/25 10:00 PM EDT
    COL0
    EDM0
  • 3/25 10:30 PM EDT
    NYR0
    LA0
  • CBK
  • 3/25 6:09 PM EDT
    XAVIER0
    GONZ0
  • 3/25 8:49 PM EDT
    OREGON0
    KANSAS0

50 years of elation and heartbreak: Looking back at the history of the Super Bowl

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

For the past five decades, millions of Americans have huddled around radios and televisions for the big game, the ultimate one-game playoff, the day second only to Thanksgiving for food consumption -- the Super Bowl.

The game has changed quite a bit since its inception 50 years ago. In fact, the first two NFL championships weren't even called Super Bowl games. 1967 and 1968, the Green Bay Packers won what was then referred to as the AFL-NFL World Championship Game between the American Football League (AFL) and National Football League (NFL), over Kansas City and Oakland, respectively.

SEE ALSO: The Patriots and Falcons have been equally dominant heading into Super Bowl LI

The first use of the title 'Super Bowl' came in 1969 with Super Bowl III, and the name was then retroactively applied to Super Bowls I and II.

Before 1970, the championship was a competition between the NFL and the AFL -- two leagues that went on to become the National Football Conference (NFC) and American Football Conference (AFC) upon merging into one league. In the first official meeting between the conferences in 1971, the Baltimore Colts of the AFC defeated the NFC's Dallas Cowboys 16-13.

51 PHOTOS
Each Super Bowl champion in history
See Gallery
Each Super Bowl champion in history

Super Bowl I

Green Bay Packers 35, Kansas City Chiefs 10

(Photo by James Flores/Getty Images)

Super Bowl II

Green Bay Packers 33, Oakland Raiders 14

(Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

Super Bowl III

New York Jets 16, Baltimore Colts 7

(Photo by Fred Roe/Getty Images)

Super Bowl IV

Kansas City Chiefs 23, Minnesota Vikings 7

(Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

Super Bowl V

Baltimore Colts 16, Dallas Cowboys 13

(Photo via Getty Images)

Super Bowl VI

Dallas Cowboys 24, Miami Dolphins 3

(Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

Super Bowl VII

Miami Dolphins 14, Washington Redskins 7

(Photo by Nate Fine/Getty Images)

Super Bowl VIII

Miami Dolphins 24, Minnesota Vikings 7

(Photo by Focus On Sport/Getty Images)

Super Bowl IX

Pittsburgh Steelers 16, Minnesota Vikings 6

(Photo by Sylvia Allen/Getty Images)

Super Bowl X

Pittsburgh Steelers 21, Dallas Cowboys 17

(Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

Super Bowl XI

Oakland Raiders 32, Minnesota Vikings 14

(Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

Super Bowl XII

Dallas Cowboys 27, Denver Broncos 10

(Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

Super Bowl XIII

Pittsburgh Steelers 35, Dallas Cowboys 31

(Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

Super Bowl XIV

Pittsburgh Steelers 31, Los Angeles Rams 19

(Photo by Focus On Sport/Getty Images)

Super Bowl XV

Oakland Raiders 27, Philadelphia Eagles 10

(Photo by Sylvia Allen/Getty Images)

Super Bowl XVI

San Francisco 49ers 26, Cincinnati Bengals 21

(Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

Super Bowl XVII

Washington Redskins 21, Miami Dolphins 17

(Photo by Wally McNamee/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

Super Bowl XVIII

Los Angeles Raiders 38, Washington Redskins 9

(Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images)

Super Bowl XIX

San Francisco 49ers 38, Miami Dolphins 16

(Photo by Icon Sportswire)

Super Bowl XX

Chicago Bears 46, New England Patriots 10

(Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

Super Bowl XXI

New York Giants 39, Denver Broncos 20

(Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

Super Bowl XXII

Washington Redskins 42, Denver Broncos 10

(Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

Super Bowl XXIII

San Francisco 49ers 20, Cincinnati Bengals 16

(Photo by Rich Pilling/Sporting News via Getty Images)

Super Bowl XXIV

San Francisco 49ers 55, Denver Broncos 10

(Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

Super Bowl XXV

New York Giants 20, Buffalo Bills 19

(Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

Super Bowl XXVI

Washington Redskins 37, Buffalo Bills 24

(Photo by Rogers Photo Archive/Getty Images)

Super Bowl XXVII

Dallas Cowboys 52, Buffalo Bills 17

(Photo by Rogers Photo Archive/Getty Images)

Super Bowl XXVIII

Dallas Cowboys 30, Buffalo Bills 13

(Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

Super Bowl XXIX

San Francisco 49ers 49, San Diego Chargers 26

(Photo by Colin Braley / Reuters)

Super Bowl XXX

Dallas Cowboys 27, Pittsburgh Steelers 17

(Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

Super Bowl XXXI

Green Bay Packers 35, New England Patriots 21

(Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

Super Bowl XXXII 

Denver Broncos 31, Green Bay Packers 24

(Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

Super Bowl XXXIII

Denver Broncos 34, Atlanta Falcons 19

(Photo By Craig F. Walker/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Super Bowl XXXIV

St. Louis Rams 23, Tennessee Titans 16

(Photo via Reuters)

Super Bowl XXXV

Baltimore Ravens 34, New York Giants 7

(Photo credit PETER MUHLY/AFP/Getty Images)

Super Bowl XXXVI

New England Patriots 20, St. Louis Rams 17

(Photo via REUTERS/Adrees Latiff GAC/HB)

Super Bowl XXXVII

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 48, Oakland Raiders 21

(Photo via REUTERS/Pierre DuCharme GAC/HB)

Super Bowl XXXVIII

New England Patriots 32, Carolina Panthers 29

(Photo via REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine)

Super Bowl XXXIX

New England Patriots 24, Philadelphia Eagles 21

(Photo via REUTERS/Mike Segar MR/SV)

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Joey Porter kisses the Vince Lombardi Trophy after the Steelers beat the Seattle Seahawks 21-10 in the NFL's Super Bowl XL in Detroit, Michigan February 5, 2006.

(Photo via REUTERS/Shaun Best)

Super Bowl XLI

Indianapolis Colts 29, Chicago Bears 17

(Photo via REUTERS/Mike Blake)

Super Bowl XLII

New York Giants 17, New England Patriots 14

(Photo via REUTERS/Jeff Haynes)

Super Bowl XLIII

Pittsburgh Steelers 27, Arizona Cardinals 23

(Photo via REUTERS/Shaun Best)

Super Bowl XLIV

New Orleans Saints 31, Indianapolis Colts 17

(Photo via REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

Super Bowl XLV

Green Bay Packers 31, Pittsburgh Steelers 25

(Photo via REUTERS/Mike Stone)

Super Bowl XLVI

New York Giants 21, New England Patriots 17

(Photo via REUTERS/Brent Smith)

Super Bowl XLVII

Baltimore Ravens 34, San Francisco 49ers 31

(Photo via REUTERS/Jeff Haynes)

Super Bowl XLVIII

Seattle Seahawks 43, Denver Broncos 8

(Photo via REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)

Super Bowl XLIX

New England Patriots 28, Seattle Seahawks 24

(Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports via Reuters)

Super Bowl 50

Denver Broncos 24, Carolina Panthers 10

(Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports via Reuters)

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

The Super Bowl quickly became a game of dominant franchises -- and heartbreak:

  • The Green Bay Packers, who won Super Bowls I and II, did not make another appearance until 1997 when they defeated the New England Patriots.
  • The Miami Dolphins appeared in three straight Super Bowls from 1972 to 1974, winning the last two of the three-year series.
  • The Minnesota Vikings made it to four Super Bowls between 1970 and 1977, but racked up four losses and have not played in the big game since.
  • The Pittsburgh Steelers have won a league-leading six Super Bowls, with four of those championships coming between 1975 and 1980. They returned for two more victories in 2006 and 2009.
  • The Denver Broncos lost three Super Bowls between 1987 and 1990, before winning their first in 1998 -- and their second in 1999.
  • The Buffalo Bills became the only team in history to make it to -- and lose -- four Super Bowls, from 1991 to 1994. The latter two losses both came at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys.
  • After defeating the Bills twice, the Cowboys took one year off before winning Super Bowl XXX in 1996, marking their third in four years.
  • Between 2002 and 2005, the New England Patriots won three Super Bowls with a fresh new coach and quarterback duo -- Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.
  • The Patriots soon returned to the championship in 2008 and 2011, but were defeated by the New York Giants both times.

This year, the NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons are headed to the game in search of their first Super Bowl win. They will be facing off against the AFC Champion Patriots, in search of their fifth Super Bowl ring in their league-leading ninth appearance. They are also going for their second victory since 2015.

No matter how Super Bowl LI ends, it's going to be one for the history books. The big game kicks off this Sunday at 6:30 PM EST.

More on AOL.com:
Young defenders come of age for Super Bowl-bound Falcons
4 storylines to watch ahead of Super Bowl LI
50 years of elation and heartbreak: Looking back at the history of the Super Bowl

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners