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Why Super Bowl winners are called world champions

Why Super Bowl winners are called world champions

It's a little confusing given only teams in the United States compete

When you think of a 'world champion', you might think Lionel Messi and Argentina, Phil Taylor in the darts, or Max Verstappen in the Formula One.

But it's a term used in the NFL to describe the winners of the league's biggest game, the Super Bowl.

It's a little confusing to some given the only American football teams that compete in the NFL are domestic to the United States of America. While it's a large chunk of the planet, it's still only one country on a planet filled with 195 of them.

But there is solid reason behind the title, and it is rooted in history.

Super Bowl LVIII takes place on Sunday, 11 February and sees the San Fransisco 49ers compete against the Kansas City Chiefs.

It's one of the biggest occasions in the global calendar and as such, get's a lot of attention and cash spent on it. Just look at the adverts.

The inevitable winners of the Super Bowl will be heard chanting 'world champions, baby!' with banners and newspaper front pages saying the same thing scattered in the aftermath and going in to the winners' parade.

A very excited Philadelphia Eagles fan.
Gavin Baker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

"Why do American athletes, and fans alike, claim to be world champions when their side wins the Super Bowl," fans questioned over on Reddit.

"There is something like 200 countries in the world and winning the highest level of sport in one of those countries can't possibly be considered world champions.

"The Super Bowl winners are national champions at best. There is a big, wide world outside America and as an outsider looking in it seems a lot of Americans don't realise this."

The title of 'world champion' goes back to when the NFL as we know it was formed.

The first Super Bowl was played in 1967, between the winners of the National Football League and the American Football League.

They were two competing American football competitions at the time, with a fair bit of heat between the two. A slow-merger between the two leagues had been announced in 1966, with them existing separately up until 1970.

A Kansas City Chiefs world champions face mask worn during the Covid pandemic.
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

An end of season game between the two best teams would be contested at the end of the three seasons until the merge became official.

What we now call the Super Bowl, it was for those three years called the AFL-NFL World Championship Game.

It then became stuck to the big game, partly because it sounds good. Who doesn't want to be called a world champion?

Fans also think the term is justified, as it's not the NFL's fault no other country plays the sport to a similar level.

Over on Reddit, one said: "They winners are world champs because there's no other American football teams out there in the world! There's no other teams that play American football so the claim is justified.

"Also getting worked up over 'world champ' is really ridiculous. It's not really important and nitpicking someone's achievements."

What do you think?

Featured Image Credit: Gavin Baker/Icon Sportswire/Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Topics: Super Bowl, US News, Weird, Sport, World News