Houston may have not hosted the most number of Super Bowls, but it has certainly hosted two that are still etched in peoples’ memories. A lot of “firsts” in American football have happened in this city. One of the most exciting and defensive Super Bowl games has also been played in this city. Therefore, Houston has a special place in the history of American football, which other cities such as Miami (where most Super Bowls have been held) can only watch from afar with envy. The upcoming Super Bowl – Super Bowl LI will write another “first” in the Big Game’s history.

Super Bowl VIII

Super Bowl history buffs would remember that the Miami Dolphins defeated the Minnesota Vikings 24-7, in Houston on January 13, 1974, but that is old news. What is worth remembering is that this was the Dolphins’ second consecutive win, which made them the first team to achieve the feat after the Green Bay Packers.

Super Bowl VIII was played at the Rice Stadium. This stadium is not owned by an NFL team, another first in Super Bowl history. By the way, Super Bowl VIII was also the first Super Bowl which was not played in New Orleans, Miami or Los Angeles, which remained traditional Super Bowl sites till 1974.

In addition to Super Bowl firsts, a Super Bowl “last” was also written in this city. Super Bowl VIII was the last Super Bowl where goal posts were placed at the front of the end zone.

In those days, halftime shows were not as big as they are now. Nevertheless, Super Bowl VIII had the marching band from the University of Texas at Austin perform during the pregame festivities. The halftime show was headlined by Miss Texas 1973 and Judy Mallett.

Super Bowl XXXVIII

After 1974, Houston would once again host the Super Bowl in 2004. The New England Patriots defeated the Carolina Panthers 32-29. This was the second time that the Patriots had won the Super Bowl. The game was played at the Reliant Stadium (now called NRG Stadium) on February 1, 2004. At the time, it was the most watched Super Bowl ever with over 144 million viewers.

Continuing with its legacy of writing “firsts” in Super Bowl history, Houston saw the Panthers make it to the Super Bowl, a first for the Panthers. It was special in other aspects too – Peter King of Sports Illustrated dubbed it the “Greatest Super Bowl of all time.” Super Bowl and NFL historians have unanimously called it one of the most thrilling Super Bowls ever. The first and third quarters were scoreless. The game was finally decided by the Patriots’ kicker Adam Vinatieri’s 41-yard field goal – there were only four seconds left on the board.

Super Bowl XXXVIII was memorable otherwise too. Does anyone still remember Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” in which Justin Timberlake had a hand? That happened in Houston too. It stirred a whole new debate on perceived indecency on television and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) role. Unsurprisingly, the “wardrobe malfunction” was the most rewatched moment in TiVo history.

Other highlights of the halftime show were stars such as P. Diddy, Kid Rock, and Nelly. As always, there were marching bands kicking off the halftime show. “Ocean of Soul” of the Texas Southern University and the Spirit of Houston from the University of Houston, jointly performed for the audience.

Super Bowl LI

For the first time in football history, the NFL will celebrate the 50th anniversary year of the first ever Super Bowl, which was played in 1967 and the celebrations will be held at the NRG Stadium. This will be the NRG Stadium’s second and Houston’s third time hosting such an event.

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The game is scheduled for February 5, 2017. Lady Gaga will be the biggest attraction of the halftime show, apart from what had gone on in the game till that point. Since the AFC and NFC champions aren’t decided yet, therefore there’s no telling who will be the two teams contesting for the Vince Lombardi Trophy. The pundits have however made their predictions and have shortlisted the following ten:

  • Denver Broncos
  • Seattle Seahawks
  • New England Patriots
  • Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Carolina Panthers
  • Kansas City Chiefs
  • Cincinnati Bengals
  • Arizona Cardinals
  • Minnesota Vikings
  • Green bay Packers

Who will lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy in Houston?

Houston itself offers the crystal ball to predict an answer. Once again, remembering that Houston is the city of “firsts”, football fans should look for those teams, which haven’t won a Super Bowl yet. Assuming that the pundits have it right, and the Super Bowl LI contestants are from the abovementioned list, then those two teams could be from the following four:

  • Minnesota Vikings
  • Cincinnati Bengals
  • Carolina Panthers
  • Arizona Cardinals

Since the Vikings, Panthers and Cardinals play in the NFC, therefore only one of them can make it to Super Bowl LI. Cincinnati Bengals, however, play in the AFC and could be the other team.

Houston, The “First City” of Football

January 13, 1974, was a cold and foggy day and may be that is why Super Bowl VIII has become a footnote in Super Bowl history. Sports Illustrated was less forgiving and said the Super Bowl “had all the excitement and suspense of a master butcher quartering a steer.” However, there is another side to the story – it was a different Super Bowl, which was played in a different time.

It was arguably the friendliest Super Bowl ever with players treating autograph hounds as friends, rather than nuisances. It was also the most efficient, error-free game in NFL history. And not surprisingly, the winning team’s head coach differed from Sports Illustrated characterization – “Best ever” was written on Dolphins’ locker room chalkboard.

Fast forward to Super Bowl XXXVIII and its Houston once again. Notwithstanding Sports Illustrated characterization of this Super Bowl as the “Greatest Super Bowl of all time,” the fact remains that Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” – that lasted less than one second eclipsed everything else. Fox Sports has listed this among its Top 10 craziest moments in Super Bowl history.

Football and Super Bowl history buffs and fans in general are eagerly waiting for another showdown in Houston on February 5, 2017. While the unknown cannot be predicted, history tells us that the Space City is all about “firsts.” Would it be too farfetched to predict that an NFL team, which has never won the Super Bowl, will lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy for the first time?

Super Bowl VIII, Super Bowl XXXVIII, Super Bowl LI: Comparative Analysis of Ticket Prices

It wouldn’t surprise anyone to know that Super Bowl today is a much bigger event than it ever was in past. Therefore, its tickets price keeps going up every year. A comparative analysis of the three Super Bowls played in Houston would help the reader get a better picture of the price change over the years.

Super Bowl VIII tickets (on average) sold for $15. Super Bowl XXXVIII tickets were sold for $400, $500 and $600. And now to the upcoming Super Bowl LI Tickets – The minimum price to get in is $3,655 and goes all the way to $16,624.