While defense might win championships, most fans don’t want to see a defensive struggle. A high-scoring game might not be a coach’s dream, but it’s exciting to watch; there’s nothing like watching two dynamic offenses marching up and down the field. That’s especially true in the Super Bowl when the evening is as much about the overall spectacle as the action on the field.
This season’s Super Bowl will be the 54th in NFL history. While there have been a few notable duds, there have been plenty of high-scoring championship games.
The evolution of the Super Bowl
These days, Super Bowl Sunday is essentially an American national holiday. The game itself, however, is just over 50 years old.
When the NFL began, there weren’t even playoffs; at the end of each season, the club with the best winning percentage took home the title. In 1932, however, the season ended with a tie. A one-off championship was organized to determine the overall winner. The Chicago Bears came out on top, and the game proved to be so popular that the NFL ended each subsequent season a championship game.
In 1966, however, everything changed. The NFL and the upstart American Football League (AFL) worked out a deal to join forces; the merger, however, wouldn’t go into effect until 1970. For the next four seasons, the top team from each league met in the AFL-NFL World Championship Game. Lamar Hunt suggested giving the game a catchier name, like “the Super Bowl,” and the rest is history.
Even though the NFL and AFL merged, the Super Bowl remained; each team simply started representing a conference, rather than a league. The scale of the event swelled, though; today, the Super Bowl is a social and cultural event, rather than a simple football game.
What was the highest-scoring Super Bowl?
While defensive purists might not appreciate a high-scoring game, there have been plenty of shoot-outs in Super Bowl history.
In 2018, the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots combined to put up 74 points. Tom Brady threw for over 500 yards and three touchdowns; Nick Foles threw for three scores of his own and reeled in one historic touchdown reception. That game, however, fell one point short of NFL history.
The highest-scoring championship game, however, was Super Bowl XXIX when the San Francisco 49ers and the San Diego Chargers combined for 75 total points. The 49ers put up 49 of them; Steve Young piled up an eye-popping six touchdowns, and Jerry Rice pulled in 10 receptions for 149 yards and three scores. The Chargers simply couldn’t keep pace.
Could this year’s game make history?
Upon first glance, this year’s Super Bowl seems like a battle between an explosive offense and a stifling defense. In reality, though, both the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs are capable of piling up points.
As of now, oddsmakers have the over/under set at 54.5 points. While that’s more than three touchdowns short of history, it’s still a relatively high mark; Vegas clearly believes these two clubs are capable of scoring. The 49ers have a well-balanced attack, capable of hurting the Chiefs on the ground or through the air. Patrick Mahomes’ offensive prowess needs no introduction; he should still be capable of magic, even against San Francisco’s stout defense.
Even if this year’s Super Bowl doesn’t break the 75-point plateau, it should still be a good one. The defensive coordinators, however, might want to look away.