The 10 most-attended Super Bowls of all time

Over 1 million people are expected in Houston this weekend for Super Bowl LI, but not all of them will get in to see the game in person.

In order to host the Super Bowl, a stadium must be able to hold at least 70,000 people. NRG Stadium, which is hosting this Sunday's big game, can service up to 72,220 fans (though only 71,795 of those fans get seats).

While 72,000 is no small number, Super Bowl LI won't even come close to cracking the list of the 10 most-attended NFL championships in history:

The top 10 Super Bowls by attendance
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The top 10 Super Bowls by attendance

10. Super Bowl XVI

81,270 fans turned out to watch the San Francisco 49ers defeat the Cincinnati Bengals 26-21 on January 24, 1982. 

(Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

9. Super Bowl XLVIII

The Seattle Seahawks defeated the Denver Broncos 43-8 in front of a crowd of 82,529 at MetLife Stadium on February 2, 2014. 

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

8. Super Bowl XIX

At Stanford Stadium, the San Francisco 49ers beat the Miami Dolphins 38-16 in front of 84,059 people on January 20, 1985. 

(Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

7. Super Bowl VII

In front of 90,182 fans at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the Miami Dolphins defeated the Washington Redskins 14-7 on January 14, 1973.

(Photo via Bettmann/Getty Images)

6. Super Bowl XXVII

98,374 people watched as the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Buffalo Bills 52-17 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California on January 31, 1993. 

(Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)

5. Super Bowl XXI

Also at the Rose Bowl, on January 25, 1987, the New York Giants defeated the Denver Broncos 39-20 in front of a crowd of 101,063. 

(Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

4. Super Bowl XLV

At Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011, the Green Bay Packers defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 in front of 103,219 onlookers. 

(Photo via REUTERS/Mike Stone)

3. Super Bowl XI

Before 103,438 fans at the Rose Bowl, the Oakland Raiders beat the Minnesota Vikings 32-14 on January 9, 1977.

(Photo via Kidwiler Collection/Diamond Images via Getty Images)

T-1. Super Bowl XVII

Again at the Rose Bowl, 103,667 fans watched as the Washington Redskins defeated the Miami Dolphins 27-17 on January 30, 1983. 

(Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

T-1. Super Bowl XIV

The Rose Bowl hosted the two largest Super Bowls of all time, with 103,667 fans turning out on January 20, 1980, to see the Pittsburgh Steelers defeat the Los Angeles Rams 31-19. 

(Photo by Robert Riger/Getty Images)


The smallest Super Bowl audience came at Super Bowl I, which was played before 61,946 people at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

If the stadium is filled to capacity on Sunday, Super Bowl LI would have fewer onlookers than the Falcons' last appearance in the game in Super Bowl XXXIII, and would rank fifth among the Patriots' nine appearances.

Related: See more from around the city of Houston:

Around Houston, Texas -- site of Super Bowl LI
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Around Houston, Texas -- site of Super Bowl LI
Houston, Texas
Jan 7, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Fans wait to enter NRG Stadium before the AFC Wild Card playoff football game between the Houston Texans and the Oakland Raiders. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Sam Houston Equestrian Statue, Houston, Texas, United States, this 40 foot bronze equestrian figure of Sam Houston is one of the most prominent features of Hermann Park. It was sculpted by Enrico Filiberto Cerracchio in 1925. (Photo by: MyLoupe/UIG via Getty Images)
Oct 11, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; General view as Houston Astros starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel (60) throws against Kansas City Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar (2) during the first inning in game three of the ALDS at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Houston, Texas, USA downtown city skyline.
Houston Downtown sunset modern skyscrapers at Texas US USA
Houston, TX, USA - April 12, 2016: Space Shuttle Independence and Shuttle Carrier Aircraft 905 at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. Texas, United States (Photo via Getty Images)
Harris County Courthouse in historic district of downtown Houston, Texas. (Photo via Getty Images)
Metro Train stopped at a platform to pick up passengers. (Photo via Getty Images)

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