The Super Bowl is the annual championship game of the National Football League (NFL). Since 2004, the game has been played on the first Sunday in February. It is the culmination of a regular season that begins in the late summer of the previous year.
The game was created as part of a 1966 merger agreement between the NFL and its rival the American Football League (AFL). It was agreed that the two champion teams would begin playing in an annual AFL–NFL World Championship Game until the merger was completed in 1970. The first game was played on January 15, 1967, after both leagues had completed their respective 1966 seasons. After the merger, each league was re-designated as a “conference”, and the game has since been played between the conference champions to determine the NFL’s league champion. The NFL restricts the use of its “Super Bowl” trademark, and it is frequently referred to as the “big game” or other generic terms by non-sponsoring corporations.
The New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers have the most Super Bowl championship titles with six each. The Patriots have the most Super Bowl appearances with 11. The National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC) are tied with 27 Super Bowl wins each.
The Super Bowl is the second-largest day for U.S. food consumption, after Thanksgiving Day. In addition, the Super Bowl has frequently been the most-watched American television broadcast of the year; the seven most-watched broadcasts in American television history are Super Bowls. In 2015, Super Bowl XLIX became the most-watched American television program in history with an audience of 114.4 million viewers, the fifth time in six years that the game had set a record. The Super Bowl is also among the most-watched sporting events in the world, and is second only to the UEFA Champions League final as the most watched annual sporting event worldwide.
Commercial airtime during the Super Bowl broadcast is the most expensive of the year because of the high viewership, leading to companies regularly developing their most expensive advertisements for this broadcast. Watching and discussing the broadcast’s commercials has become a significant aspect of the event. In addition, popular singers and musicians have performed during the event’s pre-game and halftime ceremonies.