By Eric Fleming, Contributing writer
There is a lot that's known about the Super Bowl.
It's the championship game of the NFL. It's typically the most popular television event of the year. Companies spend millions filming commercials to be shown during it.
This is stuff everyone knows. However, there are quite a few little-known facts about the Super Bowl that might surprise people, even those who are big fans of the game.
Below are 10 things you probably didn't know about the Super Bowl. Read them, remember them, and when you host the big Super Bowl party this year, impress all your friends with your in-depth knowledge of the biggest game of the year.
Fact 1: The Super Bowl is not really a game for "real" fans of either team. It's true. Typically, 80 percent of all Super Bowl tickets sold go to corporate sponsors of the NFL and of the Super Bowl. That doesn't mean you can't have fun watching it at home, but chances are that's the only way you'll be able to see it.
Fact 2: The first four Super Bowls were not actually called "Super Bowl." The first two went by the title of "AFL-NFL World Championship Game." Impressive, sure, but not nearly as iconic as "Super Bowl," a term not used until the third game, between the New York Jets and the Baltimore Colts. This was the first game between the champions of the AFL and NFL won by a team (the Jets) from the upstart AFL. Their victory was followed a year later by that of the AFL's Kansas City Chiefs, a game which many feel cemented the eventual merger between the two leagues.
Fact 3: One out of every 12 people watching the game only does so to see the commercials. Of course you're a true fan of the game, but what about your neighbors? Your family members? Chances are that at least a couple of them couldn't care less about the game, it's the ads they're after. And who can blame them, really? Buying a 30-second spot during the Super Bowl has become more and more about prestige, with big-name actors and tons of money being spent each year.
Fact 4: As mentioned, getting a ticket for the Super Bowl is awfully tough if you aren't the CEO or bigwig of a top Super Bowl sponsor. But it wasn't always that way. In fact, back before the Super Bowl was called that, tickets were well within reach of the regular fan. If you wanted to buy a ticket for Super Bowl I, you could have gotten in for only six bucks. The cheapest tickets for recent Super Bowl games have cost hundreds of dollars or more.
Fact 5: For the winning (and losing) teams in the Super Bowl, playing in the big game can be life-changing. But it's not only the athletes and coaches who are affected. The Super Bowl is not good for worker productivity. On the Monday following the Super Bowl, an average of 6 percent of the workforce calls in sick. Is everyone faking? Not likely. Read Fact No. 6 for reasons why people just might be telling the truth.
Fact 6: While it might be bad for productivity, the Super Bowl is good for one thing: the antacid business. Typically, antacid sales increase 20 percent the day after the game. Maybe all those people really are sick after all.
Fact 7: There have been hundreds of people throughout the years who have won Super Bowls. And of those players, quite a few have gone on to be coaches. But did you know that out of that group, only three (Mike Ditka, Tom Flores and Tony Dungy) have won the Super Bowl as both player and coach?
Fact 8: While there are certainly teams that have had their fair share of success in the Super Bowl (the Pittsburgh Steelers have won the Super Bowl six times with the San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys winning five times each), those victories are typically spread out over a number of years. The UCLA Bruins won seven NCAA basketball titles in a row, and the Boston Celtics won eight consecutive NBA titles. Don't expect the same type of dominance in the NFL. In fact, the longest winning "streak" in the Super Bowl is two games.
Fact 9: Sure, everyone knows about the Curse of the Bambino (which supposedly kept the Boston Red Sox from winning the World Series after trading Babe Ruth to the rival New York Yankees), and the Chicago Cubs are no strangers to curses affecting their postseasons, but did you know that there is a Super Bowl curse as well? Lately, it has affected the losing team in the Super Bowl. Since the 1998-1999 season, the losing Super Bowl team has gone on to have a winning record the next season only four times.
Fact 10: If you feel a little bloated the day after the Super Bowl, it's understandable. In America, Super Bowl Sunday is second in food consumption behind only Thanksgiving Day. How much food is gobbled down? How about an estimated 14,500 tons of chips, 4,000 tons of popcorn and 8 million pounds of guacamole? Is it any wonder so many people call in sick the next day?
So there you have it -- 10 things you didn't know about the Super Bowl. What can you do with such fun facts? Why not hold a Super Bowl trivia quiz at your next Super Bowl party? Or amaze and impress your friends with your vast knowledge. There's no limit to what these Super Bowl facts can do for you. Now you know!