American football is the most popular spectator sport in the United States and we have delved into the history books to find the five Super Bowls that attracted the biggest television ratings in the US.
The first Super Bowl came all the way back in January 15th, 1967 when the Green Bay Packers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10 at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in front of 61,946 supporters.
Fast-forward to the last Super Bowl in February 2021 and it was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who got the better of, yet again, the Chiefs.
A total of 91.63million people tuned in to watch Tom Brady land his seventh ring, but that figure still doesn’t make it into our top-five list.
2017 – Super Bowl LI – TV Figures – 111.32million
The New England Patriots pulled off the greatest ever comeback in Super Bowl history when they defeated the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 at the NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas.
Atlanta built a 21-3 half-time lead before that was then extended to 28-3 midway through the third quarter, putting them in a commanding position and with one hand on the Vince Lombardi trophy.
However, New England, led by QB Brady, scored 25 unanswered points to tie the game in the final seconds of regulation time before then scoring a TD in overtime to claim the spoils in dramatic fashion.
2012 – Super Bowl XLVI – TV Figures – 111.35million
The New York Giants will fondly remember Super Bowl XLVI, as they managed to defeat New England 21-17 to clinch their fourth title at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis – the first time that NFL’s showpiece event was played in Indiana.
It was the second time the Giants have overcame the Patriots in the Super Bowl, having also triumphed in February 2008 to end New England’s perfect 2007 campaign, while it was the second and final ring for QB Eli Manning.
2016 – Super Bowl 50 – TV Figures – 111.86million
Super Bowl 50, which marked the ‘golden anniversary’ of the NFL’s showstopper, was contested by the Carolina Panthers, who finished the regular season with a 15-1 record, and the Denver Broncos.
The Panthers, led by quarterback Cam Newton – who was named the NFL Most Valuable Player – were tipped to come out on top due to their fantastic offence, but Denver had other ideas and a brilliant defensive effort shut down Carolina.
The Broncos took an early lead and never trailed from there on, running out 24-10 winners. QB Peyton Manning clinched his second Super Bowl ring, but this would prove to be his final game, as he announced his retirement in March 2016.
2014 – Super Bowl XLVIII – TV Figures – 112.19million
Denver were involved in another Super Bowl two years prior to the 50th anniversary when they went up against the Seattle Seahawks at MetLife Stadium at the Meadowlands Sports Complex in New Jersey – the first Super Bowl played outdoors in a cold-weather city and the first to be played on February 2nd.
It turned out to be a walk in the park for Seattle, who triumphed 43-8, although the game was briefly the most-watched US television broadcast of all time, until it was surpassed by Super Bowl XLIX the following year
2015 – Super Bowl XLIX – TV Figures – 114.44million
The most watched Super Bowl of all-time came in 2015 when the New England Patriots defeated the Seattle Seahawks 28-24 at the University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona.
It was a fantastic contest between the two and the Patriots managed to overcome a 10-point deficit during the fourth quarter to lead 28-24 with 2:02 remaining on the clock. Still plenty of time for the Seahawks to respond.
Having made it to New England’s one-yard line with just seconds left, it seemed Seattle would claim the spoils.
However, the Seahawks made one of the strangest decision in NFL history when they decided to pass instead of hand the ball off to running back Marshawn Lynch, who had been enjoying a terrific game.
Opting to throw, Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler intercepted the pass to ensure New England came out on top.