What makes the Super Bowl so super? Seattle Seahawks' Russell Okung smiles during media day for NFL Super Bowl XLIX (AP photo / Reuters)
What makes the Super Bowl so super?

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The Super Bowl, at its most basic level, is a game that determines the NFL championship.

It has become so much more since the first game was played in 1967.

Super Bowl Sunday has become an unofficial holiday in the United States. It's a day when families and friends gather to watch the game, the over-the-top commercials and big-name musical acts at halftime.

The game and the two weeks of hype, parties and other events leading up to it have turned the Super Bowl into a spectacle. It ranks up there with the Olympics or World Cup, a royal wedding or papal celebration, the Oscars or Grammys.

This year's game, between the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots, is scheduled Sunday. Here's some reasons why the Super Bowl is so special.

Baseball is known as America's pastime. But football is woven into the country's fabric.

The NFL's rise came at the same time as television's and turned into a $9 billion enterprise. The NFL season has far fewer games than the other major North American sports, 16 compared to 162 in baseball. That makes every NFL game an event.

Once the season gets to the Super Bowl, many of the fans don't get a chance to go. Tickets started around $800 for this year's game. Most are snapped up by corporations.

Cities bid for the right to host the Super Bowl. Many use the game as a rallying point to build a new stadium and bring in revenue.

The game is rotated every year, usually to a warm-weather city or one with a domed stadium.

Last year's game was played in the stadium the New York Jets and Giants share in East Rutherford, New Jersey. It was the first outdoor game in a cold-weather city. Future games will be in San Francisco, Houston and Minneapolis.

Arizona's University of Phoenix Stadium, site of this year's games, has a retractable roof and a field that is wheeled outside so the grass can get sunlight.

The Super Bowl is one of the most-watched events in the world. It routinely draws more than 80 million viewers. The game has eclipsed 100 million viewers each of the past five years. A record 111.5 million watched Seattle roll over Denver a year ago.

Millions more watch the game around the world.

Super Bowl commercials have become a part of the show. They lure viewers who might not otherwise watch the game.

Over the years, the commercials have included talking animals and babies, supermodels and Clydesdales, sophomoric humor and tear-jerking moments.

The rate for this year's game is $4.5 million for a 30-second spot.

This year's halftime show will feature Katie Perry and rock guitarist Lenny Kravitz. Other halftime Super Bowl performers have included Bruce Springsteen, The Who, Prince, Madonna and Bruno Mars with the Red Hot Chili Peppers last year.

Critical thinking challenge: Why are companies willing to spend so much money for Super Bowl ads?

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  • Sam-Arm
    1/28/2015 - 03:07 p.m.

    Companies are willing to pay 4.5 million dollars for 30 second ads because over 110 million people watch the super bowl. So many people watch it so they are likely watching commercials. If companies have a good ad people will check out their product.

  • John0724-YYCA
    1/28/2015 - 07:12 p.m.

    This is going to be a good fight even though I am not a football fan and all that but I heard that these teams are really good I thought of watching this game on television. I even heard that some people are betting for who is going to win but I really think that the Seattle Seahawks are going to win. I think that Seattle Seahawks are going to win because some people made a 1 or 2 degree earthquake because the Seattle Seahawks were so good but the real results will come out when they battle.

  • Brady_TwenniWan
    1/28/2015 - 09:34 p.m.

    That's a lot of money just for 30 seconds of air time. I would never pay $4.5 million just for advertisement. But it would benefit the company that's getting shown. I think they're willing to spend the money so that their business can grow. I always love seeing the commercials that they come up with.

  • Jason0421-YYCA
    1/29/2015 - 02:00 a.m.

    I think that this is weird for people to think that the Super Bowl Sunday is an unofficial holiday in the United States. I don't think that this is a day when families and friends gather to watch the game. I think that this time when families and friends actually play sports instead of watching the Super Bowl. I believe that the commercials and the musical acts at halftimes are unnecessary.
    Critical thinking challenge: Why are companies willing to spend so much money for Super Bowl ads?
    Answer: Companies are willing to spend so much money for Super Bowl ads since they know that they will receive a larger amount of money for doing Super Bowl ads.

  • Christian881
    1/29/2015 - 04:51 a.m.

    It's pretty interesting that the super bowl is one of the most watched events in the world. I never knew that the first super bowl was in 1967. I usaly don't watch the NFL but I like watching the super bowl when it's on T.V. Most of my family watches the super bowl every year because they love the NFL and I usally go for the team that's closer to me. I also didn't know that the super bowl was watched world wide. Mostly because football seems to be mostly popular in the U.S.A.

  • ma2000dragonball
    1/29/2015 - 08:38 a.m.

    Bea cause since the super bowl is so huge the companies know they are going to get a lot of money because there are going to be a lot of people who watch the super bowl.

  • JG2000soccer
    1/29/2015 - 08:41 a.m.

    Because since so many people watch the super bowl, they went make ads for the commercials they have so more people will see the ad since millions of people are watching that one channel.

  • GD2000marine
    1/29/2015 - 08:50 a.m.

    Companies are willing to spend so much money for Super Bowl ads, is because there are so many people watching the Super Bowl and this will bring the customers to them.

  • Ayden-Mag
    1/29/2015 - 09:38 a.m.

    Wow they pay for commercials i thought they just call them for a gig and ask them to be a viewer just a big WOW!

    1/29/2015 - 11:07 a.m.

    This article was very helpful. I didn't know what that the first Super Bowl was in 1967 I'm glad for the person that wrote this this person may have gotten a lot of. Views. Thanks for that.

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