The Super Bowl is the biggest sporting event in the United States, and each year it continues to get bigger, in scope, size, price and just about everything else.
This year represents the 46th year the champion of the AFC will meet the champion of the NFC in what we now know as the Super Bowl. Here is a rundown of facts about Super Bowl XLVI and the games that have come before.
Super Bowl Sunday ranks among the biggest drinking nights of the year along with New Year's Eve, St. Patrick's Day and Thanksgiving Eve.
The biggest Super Bowl ad spenders since 2002 have been General Motors ($83 million), PepsiCo ($174 million) and Anheuser-Busch ($239 million).
According to the National Chicken Council, Americans will inhale 1.25 billion wings on Super Bowl Sunday.
Hass Avocado says that Americans will eat 71.4 million avocados on Super Bowl Sunday.
College marching bands provided the halftime entertainment for the first five Super Bowls.
Shania Twain and the Black Eyed Peas are the only artists to perform at a Super Bowl and a Canadian Football League Grey Cup.
A record $88,000 will be paid out to the players on the winning team with the loser's share also a record at $44,000. The price had remained flat the prior two years at $83,000 and $42,000. In 1990, the shares were $36,000 and $18,000. In 1980, they were $18,000 and $9,000. And from the first Super Bowl in 1967 to 1977, the shares were always $15,000 and $7,500.
Jerry Rice holds the record for most career Super Bowl points with 48 spread across four Super Bowls with San Francisco and Oakland.
The longest field goal in Super Bowl history was a 57-yarder kicked by Buffalo's Steve Christie in 1994 against Dallas, although the Bills are more famously remembered in the Super Bowl for another field goal attempt.
In one of the most unbreakable Super Bowl records, Oakland's Rich Gannon tossed a record five interceptions in 2003 against Tampa Bay in the Super Bowl.
On the flip side of that, Oakland defensive back Rod Martin holds the Super Bowl record for most interceptions in a Super Bowl with three in 1981 against Philadelphia.
The most points scored in a Super Bowl were San Francisco's 55 in 1990 against Denver. The fewest were Miami's three in 1972 against Dallas.
Super Bowl XXVII in 1993 featured an unheard of 12 fumbles combined between Buffalo (eight fumbles) and Dallas (four fumbles).
The next three Super Bowls will be held in New Orleans (2013); East Rutherford, New Jersey (2014) and Glendale, Arizona (2015).
Currently, the Miami area and New Orleans are tied for hosting the most Super Bowls with 10 each. Next season will mark New Orleans' 11th time hosting the Super Bowl.
Super Bowl XLVI marks the fourth stadium in the northern United States to host a Super Bowl. The others were Detroit's Pontiac Silverdome (XVI in 1982), Minnesota's Metrodome (XXVI in 1992) and Detroit's Ford Field (XL in 2006).
The Vince Lombardi trophy stands 20-and-three-quarter inches tall, weighs 6.7 pounds and is valued at more than $25,000.
Through 45 Super Bowls, 3,512,727 people have attended the games. The largest crowd was Super Bowl XIV, which drew 103,985 people to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., to watch the Steelers beat the Rams, 31-19. Super Bowl XLV in Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas fell just shy of the attendance record (103,219).
The smallest crowd to see a Super Bowl was the 61,946 who turned out to Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for Super Bowl I.
Here are some Super Bowl ad costs through the years: 2012 ($3.5 million), 2000 ($2.2 million), 1990 ($700,000), 1980 ($222,000), 1970 ($78,000). Super Bowl I in 1967 had 30-second commercials which cost $42,000.
The last defender to win Super Bowl MVP was Tampa Bay free safety Dexter Jackson in 2003.
Last season 46 percent of televisions in the United States were tuned into the Super Bowl. Of the televisions that were on at the time of the game, 68 percent tuned into the game.
The highest share for a Super Bowl, the percentage of televisions that were on and tuned into the Super Bowl, was set in 1976 with a 78 share to watch the Steelers play the Cowboys in Super Bowl X. That game was televised by CBS.
Super Bowl I was televised by both NBC and CBS. The NBC telecast garnered an 18.5 rating while the CBS telecast received a 22.6 rating.
A record 111,010,000 viewers tuned into Super Bowl XLV to edge Super Bowl XLIV (106,476,000), Super Bowl XLIII (98,732,000), XLII (97,448,000) and XXX (94,076,000).
The longest tenured New York Giants are defensive end Osi Umenyiora and offensive tackle David Diehl. Umenyiora was a second-round pick and Diehl was a fifth-round pick in 2003.
The longest-tenured New England Patriot is running back Kevin Faulk, who has been with the team since 1999 when he was drafted in the second round. Tom Brady was drafted in the sixth round the next season.
Trades are rare in the NFL, but some of the key players who will be involved in Super Bowl XLVI were acquired via trade. The Patriots sent a second and seventh-round draft pick to Miami in 2007 for Wes Welker while the New York Giants pulled off a draft-day trade in 2004 with San Diego for Eli Manning.
The fastest Super Bowl touchdown to start a game was set in 2007 when Devin Hester returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown in 14 seconds.
Tickets to Super Bowl I cost between $6 and $12.
The Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys have both been to a record eight Super Bowls. The Steelers have won the most Super Bowls with six.
The only current NFL franchises to never go to a Super Bowl are Cleveland, Detroit, Jacksonville and Houston.
The Minnesota Vikings and Buffalo Bills are both 0-4 in the Super Bowl.
The San Francisco 49ers are the only team to appear in multiple Super Bowls without losing any; they are 5-0.
Super Bowl XLVI marks the fifth Super Bowl rematch. The Cowboys and Steelers have met in three Super Bowls (X, XIII and XXX). The Dolphins and Redskins met in Super Bowl VII and XVII. The Bengals and 49ers played in Super Bowls XVI and XXIII. And the Bills and Cowboys played in back-to-back Super Bowls (XXVII and XXVIII).
What is the seating capacity for the Super Bowl? Lucas Oil Stadium holds 63,000 people
What time does the Super Bowl start? The Super Bowl is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
How many countries will the Super Bowl air in? The Super Bowl will be distributed to more than 185 countries and broadcast in 30 different languages.
How much does a Super Bowl ad cost? A 30-second commercial during the Super Bowl will cost a record $3.5 million in 2012.
How much does a Super Bowl ticket cost? For the second consecutive season the face value of Super Bowl tickets is between $600 and $1,200.
Sources: NFL.com and Associated Press
Doc Moseman is the owner of Doc's Sports football picks Web site.
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