The Super Bowl is the annual championship game of the National Football League typically played annually between the champion of the National Football Conference and the American Football Conference . The game is the culmination of a regular season that begins in the late summer of the previous year. Normally, Roman numerals are used to identify each Super Bowl, rather than the year in which it is held. For example, Super Bowl I was played on January 15, 1967, following the 1966 regular season. The sole exception to this naming convention tradition occurred with Super Bowl 50, which was played on February 7, 2016, following the 2015 regular season, and the following year, the nomenclature returned to Roman numerals for Super Bowl LI, following the 2016 regular season.
The game was created as a part of the merger agreement between the NFL and its then-rival, the American Football League . It was agreed that the two's champion teams would play in the AFL–NFL World Championship Game until the merger was to officially begin in 1970. After the merger, each league was re-designated as a "conference", and the game has since been played between the conference champions to determine the NFL's league champion. Currently, the National Football Conference leads the league with 27 wins to 26 wins for the American Football Conference. The Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots have the most Super Bowl championship titles, with six. The New England Patriots have the most Super Bowl appearances, with eleven.
The Super Bowl is the second-largest day for U.S. food consumption, after Thanksgiving Day.
In addition, the Super Bowl has frequently been the most-watched American television broadcast of the year; the seven most-watched broadcasts in U.S. television history are Super Bowls. In 2015, Super Bowl XLIX became the most-watched American television program in history with an average audience of 114.4 million viewers, the fifth time in six years the game had set a record, starting with Super Bowl XLIV, which itself had taken over the number-one spot held for 27 years by the final episode of M*A*S*H. The Super Bowl is also among the most-watched sporting events in the world, almost all audiences being North American, and is second to the UEFA Champions League final as the most watched annual sporting event worldwide.
The NFL restricts the use of its "Super Bowl" trademark; it is frequently called the Big Game or other generic terms by non-sponsoring corporations. Because of the high viewership, commercial airtime during the Super Bowl broadcast is the most expensive of the year, leading to companies regularly developing their most expensive advertisements for this broadcast. As a result, watching and discussing the broadcast's commercials has become a significant aspect of the event. [, Florida Today] In addition, popular singers and musicians have performed during the event's pre-game and halftime ceremonies.