Super Bowl

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The Super Bowl is widely regarded as one of the highlights of the sporting calendar. Back in February, ESPN reported that 111.9 million fans from all over the world tuned in to watch this year’s Super Bowl between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers. As expected, it was to be Peyton Manning’s final game and the legendary quarterback finally got his hands on a second Super Bowl ring as outside linebacker Von Miller inspired the Broncos to a 24-10 victory over regular season MVP Cam Newton and the well-fancied Panthers.

And over the years, fans have been treated to some incredible contests – with a few blowouts, including the Seattle Seahawks’ 43-8 victory over Denver in 2014, and a number of dramatic affairs, none more so than the New York Giants’ victory over the New England Patriots after David Tyree’s famed helmet catch. Here are a few Super Bowl facts and a quick look at who may feature in the 2017 event.

The Super Bowl: facts

The first ever Super Bowl clash was held on January 15th 1987 and featured the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs. The Packers, representing the National Football League, defeated the Chiefs, representing the American Football League, by 35-10 and the world’s greatest event was officially formed.

Since then, there have been 49 Super Bowl events and the Pittsburgh Steelers are currently leading the way with six titles – more than anybody else. In fact, many believe that, while they are likely to start three rookies on defense this season, Mike Tomlin’s side could challenge for a seventh ring this year.

In the modern era, the New England Patriots have been the dominant force when it comes to Super Bowl victories. Since Tom Brady was drafted with the 199th pick in the 2000 NFL Draft, New England have reached the showpiece event on six separate occasions, losing only twice – an incredible record for the franchise.

And why have the Patriots been so successful? Two words: Bill Belichick. Many NFL journalists and fans believe that the current New England head coach is the greatest of all-time and it would be hard to argue against that view, especially considering he has won six Super Bowl titles – four of those coming as head coach of the Patriots and two as defensive co-ordinator of the New York Giants.

According to FOX Sports, the Super Bowl has never gone to overtime. This statistic is incredible, especially considering how intense the showpiece event usually is. If it wasn’t for Adam Vinatieri’s game-winning field goal for the Patriots at Super Bowl XXXVIII (38), we would have had a Super Bowl go to overtime. But unfortunately for the Panthers, Vinatieri’s kick was good and New England secured another Super Bowl title.

An early look ahead to Super Bowl LI

Next year, Houston’s NRG Stadium will be hosting the showpiece event on February 5th but the Texans will need plenty of luck to go their way if they are to feature. Houston won the AFC South last year but the Indianapolis Colts are now much stronger, especially with Andrew Luck back and a newly-reformed offensive line. In fact, Stephen Holder of the Indy Star believes that the Colts will benefit significantly from their draft strategy.

Denver are the defending champions but they’ve lost a number of valuable pieces on the defensive side of the ball. While they managed to keep Von Miller, the Broncos lost both Malik Jackson and Danny Trevathan to the Jacksonville Jaguars and Chicago Bears respectively. Gary Kubiak’s franchise will miss these men on defence this season, particularly if opposing offenses begin to double up on Miller and defensive end DeMarcus Ware.

The Arizona Cardinals are another prime contender – especially after their dealings in free agency. Pro Football Focus wrote that the Cardinals were the clear winners in their trade with New England for Chandler Jones and Bruce Arians’ defence will be even stronger this season. Meanwhile, Carson Palmer will look to dust himself down after a poor performance in the postseason as the Cardinals look to eclipse their 13-3 record from 2015.

However, it is hard to look past the Seahawks right now. Pete Carroll’s side reached the showpiece event in both 2014 and 2015 but missed out last year after an injury-hit campaign. According to odds at Sportsbook.ag, the Seahawks are 9/1 to win the Super Bowl next season and Seattle will be quietly confident after solid work in free agency and during the NFL Draft.

Whatever happens, supporters are in for yet another exhilarating season in the National Football League. The two teams that feature in the Super Bowl will be there on merit and fans from all over the globe will already be looking forward to the start of the 97th season in NFL history and Super Bowl 51 in Houston.