By Greg Mitchell, USNH Yokosuka Public Affairs
YOKOSUKA, Japan – Faculty and staff were given the opportunity to watch Super Bowl 50 in the command auditorium, Feb. 8. Super Bowl 50, a contest between the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Carolina Panthers and the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Denver Broncos, was held at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California. The Broncos won 24-10.
Sponsored by USNH Yokosuka Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR), staff members were treated to pizza, chicken wings, chips and drinks.
“These events are special because they enable us to show our staff that we truly appreciate their day-to-day efforts,” said USNH Yokosuka MWR Chairman and Pharmacy Department Head, Lt. Cdr. Linh Quach. “The main goal is for us to keep morale up in the command because we are a family here.”
First played in 1967 in anticipation of the 1970 merger of the American Football League (AFL) and the National Football League (NFL), the league emphasized the “golden anniversary” of the game throughout the 2015 season with various gold-themed initiatives (including the adoption of gold-tinted logos across all NFL properties), as well as temporarily suspending the tradition of naming each Super Bowl game with Roman numerals (under which the game would have been known as “Super Bowl L”), so that the logo could prominently feature the Arabic numerals of 50.
The Super Bowl event itself has come a long way from its initial evolution, and no one envisioned its popularity to be to the capacity that it is today. Former owner of the then-American Football League (AFL) Kansas City Chiefs, Lamar Hunt, coined the game ‘Super Bowl’ after watching his children as they played with a then-popular toy called the ‘Super Ball’. In a July 25, 1966 letter to then-National Football League (NFL) commissioner Pete Rozelle, Hunt wrote, “I have kiddingly called it the ‘Super Bowl,’ which obviously can be improved upon.”
At first, league owners decided on the name “AFL-NFL Championship Game,” which was predominately used for the first two Super Bowls, the media immediately picked up on Hunt’s “Super Bowl” name, which would become official beginning with the third annual game, a contest between the New York Jets and the Baltimore Colts which the Jets won, 16-7, ironically establishing the credibility of the then upstart AFL, which up to that point was viewed as inferior to the already established NFL.
Super Bowl 50 opened as an honorary event, having 47 of the 49 Most Valuable Players (MVP) of the previous 49 games stand before those in attendance prior to kick-off. In addition to becoming champions and winning the coveted Vince Lombardi Trophy, the Broncos also received a special 18-karat gold-plated “50” trophy.
“All I could think about was, like, wow, I made it to see number 50,” said Hospitalman Thomas Davis. “I thought, man this is amazing. As a lifetime football fan, you got to kind of take a step back and realize that this game that you grew up watching, with all the legends and such, has been played for 50 years now. Then it downed on me that at my age, I actually could still be alive once Super Bowl 100 happens.”
Davis went on to say that he was surprised at how well pop singer Lady Gaga sung the national anthem, as well as praising the halftime performances of British poprock group Coldplay, and pop singers Beyonce and Bruno Mars.
“Today’s event was a total success and the turnout was overly exceptional,” said USNH Yokosuka MWR Assistant Co-Chairman, Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Kemen Horne. “This year for USNH MWR is going to be really special. As we look forward to our next big event, our committee is truly focused and motivated to make the hospital a fun place to be.”