Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Jan 28 17:14:02 UTC 2003

At 10:37 AM -0600 1/28/03, Gerald Cohen wrote:
>     So, with football announcers talking up the Superbowl (or was it
>"the Super Bowl?) and with fans able to refer to it by no other term,
>this term was about as official as one could get whether or not a
>committee specifically authorized
>it.  But football announcers don't go off on their own in talking up
>a new term/product/etc.  They clearly had their marching orders.
>Those marching orders clearly came from above--from the highest
>authorities in football, whoever they were. It's therefore hard to
>imagine the term not being official
>right from the beginning.
>Gerald Cohen

I'm not sure what determines officialness, but at the time it was
often stated that the game was officially the NFC-AFC Championship
Game and that the moniker "Super Bowl" was an unofficial sobriquet
that everyone used illicitly, including (as I mentioned) the N. Y.
Times columnists.  Eventually the league (post-merger) gave way on
that.  I'm not sure why columnists, announcers, and ordinary folks
couldn't use a term without the "marching orders" you mention, or why
their use of such term entails that it was official at that time.
League materials in the first couple of years consistently referred
to it as the Championship Game, not as the Super Bowl.  A parallel is
in baseball, where the 7 game series between the National League and
American League champions to determine the World Series participants,
and more recently also the series leading up to those series, have
been universally called the playoffs since they began in 1969 (when
there was just the one pre-World Series series).  But this has never
been official usage, which only sanctions NLCS, ALCS, and (now)
Divisional Series.  Yes, these terms are popularly used as well, but
alongside the unsanctioned "playoffs".

Back to football:  In the Times book, all the columnists spelled it
"Super Bowl", on the model of "Rose Bowl", "Orange Bowl", etc.


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