The man behind America’s biggest sporting event was born and raised in the Natural State.
In 1959, Lamar Hunt grew frustrated in his repeated attempts to gain a franchise in the National Football League. He decided to form a new professional football league to rival the NFL.
Hunt – born in El Dorado, Ark. – spearheaded the birth of the American Football League. He was the founder and owner of the now Kansas City Chiefs, one of the league’s eight original members.
“I helped organize a new league that competed with the National Football League and ultimately merged with it, and I think the strength of our league helped bring more interest to the game,” said Hunt before his death in 2006.
Initially the game was to be called the AFL-NFL Championship, but it was Hunt who coined the match-up the “Super Bowl.”
To this day, the Lamar Hunt Trophy is awarded to the team that wins the AFC Championship game.
On Jan. 15, 1967, the first Super Bowl was played between the Chief and the NFL’s Green Bay Packers in Los Angeles. More than 60,000 fans watched the Packers win the game 35-10.
In 2013, more than 108 million people tuned in to watch the Super Bowl, the biggest spectacle in professional sports.