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Most and least watched Super Bowls in history

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Arnie Papp // Wikimedia Commons

Most and least watched Super Bowls in history

Few events bring this country together quite like the Super Bowl, which is frequently the most watched program on broadcast television. Year after year rivalries are tested, tears are shed, and chicken wings are devoured in front of big screens across the country on football’s most important night. When Super Bowl LIII kicks off on Feb. 3 in Atlanta, viewers will enjoy new technology like ultra-high-definition 8K cameras and live augmented reality graphics.

It wasn’t always this way. Super Bowl I in 1967 was hardly a prominent event and color on television was still a novelty. Tickets went for $10 and there were 30,000 empty seats in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The game wasn’t even the top sporting event that day according to TV Guide, which recommended the Harlem Globetrotters playing a special game on an aircraft carrier.

With a trove of interesting nuggets like these behind every game, Stacker decided to explore the most and least watched Super Bowls in history, using data from Nielsen ratings as of September 2018. The games were ranked by average U.S. viewers during the broadcast. "Average viewers" in this sense mean the average amount of U.S. viewers who were watching the game during the entire broadcast. "Household share" is defined as the average percentage of U.S. households watching the game during the entire broadcast with a television set in use. 

Scroll through to relive all the unforgettable plays, outrageous halftime shows, and standout commercials.

ALSO: How every Super Bowl winner fared the following season

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Jimberg13 // Wikimedia Commons

#52. Super Bowl I

Date: Jan. 15, 1967

Network: CBS and NBC
Average U.S. viewers during broadcast: 26.8 million on CBS; 24.4 million on NBC
Nielsen rating: 22.6 on CBS; 18.5 on NBC
Household share: 43% on CBS; 36% on NBC
Price of 30-second ad: $42,500 on CBS; $37,500 on NBC

The very first Super Bowl, played between the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs, was also the only one to be broadcast on two separate networks. Elijah Pitts ran for two Green Bay touchdowns, propelling a 35-10 rout. Perhaps luckily for Chiefs fans, recording technology was so expensive at the time that both networks taped over their original copies of the game with other popular programs like soap operas.
 

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KenLund // Flickr

#51. Super Bowl II

Date: Jan. 14, 1968
Network: CBS
Average U.S. viewers during broadcast: 39.1 million
Nielsen rating: 36.8
Household share: 68%
Price of 30-second ad: $54,500

After winning five NFL championships and two Super Bowls, coach Vince Lombardi ended his nine-year tenure at the helm of the Green Bay Packers after Super Bowl II; the game's trophy is now named after Lombardi. In Miami's Orange Bowl stadium, the Packers defeated the Oakland Raiders, 33-14, for their second straight Super Bowl championship. Helping call the action was Jack Kemp, who became the first active player to give analysis for the game.

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Networkgod // Wikimedia Commons

#50. Super Bowl III

Date: Jan. 12, 1969
Network: NBC
Average U.S. viewers during broadcast: 41.7 million
Nielsen rating: 36
Household share: 70%
Price of 30-second ad: $55,000

Hall of Famer Joe Namath led the New York Jets to victory over the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III, living up to his guarantee that made national headlines before the game. The heavily favored Colts did not score until late in the fourth quarter, as they fell, 16-7. In becoming the first team from the AFL to win a Super Bowl, the Jets legitimized their league and the game itself, helping to boost ratings in the years to come.

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Hulton Archive // Getty Images

#49. Super Bowl IV

Date: Jan. 11, 1970
Network: CBS
Average U.S. viewers during broadcast: 44.3 million
Nielsen rating: 39.4
Household share: 69%
Price of 30-second ad: $78,200

The Kansas City Chiefs toppled the Minnesota Vikings, 23-7, in a game that was put away when Chiefs quarterback Len Dawson hit Otis Taylor on a 46-yard route late in the fourth quarter. Earlier in the afternoon, Carol Channing became the first celebrity to headline a Super Bowl halftime show; previously the intermission had mostly been a combination of performances by marching bands and dancing groups.

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Getty Images

#48. Super Bowl V

Date: Jan. 17, 1971
Network: NBC
Average U.S. viewers during broadcast: 46 million
Nielsen rating: 39.9
Household share: 75%
Price of 30-second ad: $72,500

1971 marked the first Super Bowl played on artificial turf. The Baltimore Colts beat the Dallas Cowboys, 16-13, after rookie kicker Jim O'Brien nailed a game-winning 32-yard field goal with five seconds left in the game. The 1:50 p.m. start time on the East Coast was the earliest kickoff for a Super Bowl.

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PeteSouza // ObamaWhitehouseArchives

#47. Super Bowl VIII

Date: Jan. 13, 1974
Network: CBS
Average U.S. viewers during broadcast: 51.7 million
Nielsen rating: 41.6
Household share: 73%
Price of 30-second ad: $103,500

The Miami Dolphins played their third straight Super Bowl in 1974, and defeated the Minnesota Vikings, 24-7. Larry Csonka, who later became a voice on “American Gladiators,” rushed 33 times for 145 yards—both Super Bowl records at the time. The University of Texas band headlined the halftime show, with a special appearance from Miss Texas 1973 playing a violin.

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TakStolen // YT

#46. Super Bowl VII

Date: Jan. 14, 1973
Network: NBC
Average U.S. viewers during broadcast: 53.3 million
Nielsen rating: 42.7
Household share: 72%
Price of 30-second ad: $88,100

After making NFL history by becoming the first team to complete a perfect regular season, the Miami Dolphins placed the cherry on top of their 1972–'73 run by overcoming the Washington Redskins, 14-7, in Super Bowl VII. Miami safety Jake Scott had two interceptions and was aptly named the game's most valuable player. Many viewers remember this contest for a commercial featuring Farrah Fawcett and Super Bowl III hero Joe Namath.

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St.PetersburgTimes,13January1975 // WikiCommons

#45. Super Bowl IX

Date: Jan. 12, 1975
Network: NBC
Average U.S. viewers during broadcast: 56.1 million
Nielsen rating: 42.4
Household share: 72%
Price of 30-second ad: $107,000

The Pittsburgh Steelers made their Super Bowl debut in 1975 against the Minnesota Vikings, beating them 16-6. Franco Harris ran for nine times as many yards as the entire Vikings offense produced on the ground (158 to 17), earning him the MVP award. The game was originally supposed to be held in the Superdome, but construction delays pushed it to Tulane Stadium in New Orleans.

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InfrogmationofNewOrleans'sPhotostream // Flickr

#44. Super Bowl VI

Date: Jan. 16, 1972
Network: CBS
Average U.S. viewers during broadcast: 56.6 million
Nielsen rating: 44.2
Household share: 74%
Price of 30-second ad: $86,100

Super Bowl VI featured the Dallas Cowboys going up against the Miami Dolphins. The Cowboys, coached by Tom Landry, did not allow a touchdown, cruising to a 24-3 win. For the halftime show, an all-star lineup of Ella Fitzgerald, Carol Channing, Al Hirt, and 13-year-old trumpeter Leroy Jones performed a salute to Louis Armstrong, who had passed away the previous year.  

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Lynn Swann, 2014 // Justin K. Aller // Getty Images

#43. Super Bowl X

Date: Jan. 18, 1976
Network: CBS
Average U.S. viewers during broadcast: 57.7 million
Nielsen rating: 42.3
Household share: 78%
Price of 30-second ad: $110,000

In Super Bowl X, the Pittsburgh Steelers claimed back-to-back titles, holding off the Dallas Cowboys, 21-17. The Steelers were led by quarterback Terry Bradshaw, who threw a 64-yard touchdown pass to Lynn Swann—part of a record-setting 161 receiving yard day for the current athletic director at University of Southern California and former sports broadcaster. The halftime show, fittingly, featured a tribute to America's bicentennial.

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TedEytan // Wikimedia Commons

#42. Super Bowl XI

Date: Jan. 9, 1977
Network: NBC
Average U.S. viewers during broadcast: 62.1 million
Nielsen rating: 44.4
Household share: 73%
Price of 30-second ad: $125,000

Super Bowl XI made history when the halftime show became the first to feature the crowd holding colored placards (along with an appearance by members of "The Mickey Mouse Club"). As for the game, the Oakland Raiders beat the Minnesota Vikings, 32-14, and Raiders cornerback Willie Brown set a Super Bowl record with a 75-yard interception return for a touchdown.

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YouTube

#41. Super Bowl XV

Date: Jan. 25, 1981
Network: NBC
Average U.S. viewers during broadcast: 68.3 million
Nielsen rating: 44.4
Household share: 63%
Price of 30-second ad: $275,000

The halftime show at the Louisiana Superdome was predictably Mardi Gras infused, and the Oakland Raiders had much to celebrate after defeating the Philadelphia Eagles, 27-10. Raiders quarterback Jim Plunkett set a Super Bowl record with an 80-yard pass to Kenny King, a memento that the wide receiver still possesses to this day.

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CarlosCousin // YT

#40. Super Bowl XXIV

Date: Jan. 28, 1990
Network: CBS
Average U.S. viewers during broadcast: 73.9 million
Nielsen rating: 39
Household share: 67%
Price of 30-second ad: $700,400

The San Francisco 49ers smoked the AFC champions, the Denver Broncos, 55-10, in Super Bowl XXIV. Joe Montana picked up the MVP award after completing 22 of 29 passes for 297 yards, five touchdowns (a record at the time) and no interceptions. The halftime show, "Salute to New Orleans," celebrated the 40th Anniversary of the Peanuts characters.

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Terry Bradshaw, Super Bowl XIII MVP — Jim Greenhill // Flickr

#39. Super Bowl XIII

Date: Jan. 21, 1979
Network: NBC
Average U.S. viewers during broadcast: 74.7 million
Nielsen rating: 47.1
Household share: 74%
Price of 30-second ad: $185,000

The Pittsburgh Steelers triumphed over the Dallas Cowboys, 35-31, thanks to Terry Bradshaw throwing a record-setting four touchdowns, and the Steelers became the first team to secure three Super Bowl championships. In the booth, Curt Gowdy called his seventh and last Super Bowl.


 

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TedEytan // WikiCommons

#38. Super Bowl XIV

Date: Jan. 20, 1980
Network: CBS
Average U.S. viewers during broadcast: 76.2 million
Nielsen rating: 46.3
Household share: 67%
Price of 30-second ad: $222,000

The Los Angeles Rams lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 31-19, despite collecting three interceptions. Even with the miscues, Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw threw for 309 yards and set two passing records during the game—for most career passing yards and touchdowns in Super Bowl history. The game, played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., featured a “Salute to The Big Band Era” halftime show.

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YouTube

#37. Super Bowl XVIII

Date: Jan. 22, 1984
Network: CBS
Average U.S. viewers during broadcast: 77.6 million
Nielsen rating: 46.4
Household share: 71%
Price of 30-second ad: $368,200

The Los Angeles Raiders dominated the Washington Redskins, 38-9, at Tampa Stadium in Super Bowl XVIII. While the game itself was not that memorable, in one of the most iconic Super Bowl commercials ever, Apple debuted the Macintosh computer in an advertisement directed by Ridley Scott that was influenced by George Orwell's “1984.”

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YouTube

#36. Super Bowl XII

Date: Jan. 15, 1978
Network: CBS
Average U.S. viewers during broadcast: 78.9 million
Nielsen rating: 47.2
Household share: 67%
Price of 30-second ad: $162,300

The Dallas Cowboys overcame the Denver Broncos, 27-10, in front of a sold out Louisiana Superdome crowd at Super Bowl XII. As would become a branding trend in years to come, McDonald's advertised a commemorative official Super Bowl poster in a commercial televised during the game.

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YouTube

#35. Super Bowl XXV

Date: Jan. 27, 1991
Network: ABC
Average U.S. viewers during broadcast: 79.5 million
Nielsen rating: 41.9
Household share: 63%
Price of 30-second ad: $800,000

The New York Giants narrowly held off the Buffalo Bills, 20-19, after Bills kicker Scott Norwood slightly missed a 47-yard field goal that all but would have secured his team the championship. This was the second Super Bowl win in five years for the Giants. During the broadcast, Hulk Hogan made an appearance in a Right Guard commercial, and MC Hammer showed off his famous pants while hawking Pepsi, but few celeb spots were as iconic as Whitney Houston's rousing rendition of the national anthem before kickoff.

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JonLevy / AFP // GettyImages

#34. Super Bowl XXVI

Date: Jan. 26, 1992
Network: CBS
Average U.S. viewers during broadcast: 79.6 million
Nielsen rating: 40.3
Household share: 61%
Price of 30-second ad: $850,000

Preceding the 1996 release of “Space Jam” was the Super Bowl XXVI commercial with Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny to promote the Air Jordan sneaker. In the game, the Washington Redskins dunked all over the Buffalo Bills, 37-24, making Joe Gibbs the third coach to win three Super Bowls.  

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YouTube

#33. Super Bowl XXII

Date: Jan. 31, 1988
Network: ABC
Average U.S. viewers during broadcast: 80.1 million
Nielsen rating: 41.9
Household share: 62%
Price of a 30-second ad: $645,000

Super Bowl XXII was a game full of memories for the Washington Redskins, who walloped the Denver Broncos, 42-10. The team scored the final six unanswered touchdowns to close the game and gained 620 yards. Perhaps most notably though, quarterback Doug Williams threw for 340 yards, four touchdowns, and became the first African-American to start a Super Bowl behind center.

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YouTube

#32. Super Bowl XXIII

Date: Jan. 22, 1989
Network: NBC
Average U.S. viewers during broadcast: 81.6 million
Nielsen rating: 43.5
Household share: 68%
Price of 30-second ad: $675,000

After being tied at halftime, Joe Montana led the 49ers to a 20-16 win against the Bengals in Super Bowl XXIII. Equally as memorable for some fans was the unique halftime show fronted by 1950s themed magician/Elvis impersonator Elvis Presto.

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Allsport // GettyImages

#31. Super Bowl XVII

Date: Jan. 30, 1983
Network: NBC
Average U.S. viewers during broadcast: 81.8 million
Nielsen rating: 48.6
Household share: 69%
Price of 30-second ad: $400,000

The Washington Redskins held off the Miami Dolphins, 27-17, thanks largely in part to Redskins fullback John Riggins' record-setting 166 yards rushing on 38 carries. While Riggins' style of running was very much blue collar, the unique “Kaleido Superscope” halftime show displayed a kaleidoscope of color and sound.

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RickStewart // GettyImages

#30. Super Bowl XXIX

Date: Jan. 29, 1995
Network: ABC
Average U.S. viewers during broadcast: 83.4 million
Nielsen rating: 41.3
Household share: 62%
Price of 30-second ad: $1.2 million

This Super Bowl featured the debut of the famous Budweiser frogs (“bud-wei-ser”), designed by the same studio responsible for the “Jurassic Park” dinosaurs. Meanwhile, the San Francisco 49ers topped the San Diego Chargers, 49-26, making them the first team to win five Super Bowls.

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YouTube

#29. Super Bowl XXXIII

Date: Jan. 31, 1999
Network: Fox
Average U.S. viewers during broadcast: 83.7 million
Nielsen rating: 40.2
Household share: 61%
Price of 30-second ad: $1.6 million

M&M's made waves casting Halle Berry to seduce some of their new candy products and Budweiser was at it again in 1999, when their infamous “wassup” commercial made its debut during Super Bowl XXXIII. While that ad started a new fad, John Elway played in his last game, helping his Broncos win, 34-19, over the Atlanta Falcons. Elway passed for 336 yards and ran for a touchdown earning him MVP honors.  

 

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GettyImages

#28. Super Bowl XXXV

Date: Jan. 28, 2001
Network: CBS
Average U.S. viewers during broadcast: 84.3 million
Nielsen rating: 40.4
Household share: 61%
Price of 30-second ad: $2.2 million

A catchy Britney Spears Pepsi commercial aired for the first time during Super Bowl XXXV. The pop star also performed during the halftime show along with NSYNC, Aerosmith, and Mary J. Blige. In a less star-studded affair, during the game, the Baltimore Ravens beat the New York Giants, 34-7.

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Joe Montana, Super Bowl XVI MVP— Phil Hull // Flickr

#27. Super Bowl XVI

Date: Jan. 24, 1982
Network: CBS
Average U.S. viewers during broadcast: 85.2 million
Nielsen rating: 49.1
Household share: 73%
Price of 30-second ad: $324,300

The San Francisco 49ers won their first Super Bowl trophy in 1982, by defeating the Cincinnati Bengals, 26-21. The Pontiac Silverdome outside of Detroit naturally displayed a halftime show saluting the 1960s and Motown.

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YouTube

#26. Super Bowl XIX

Date: Jan. 20, 1985
Network: ABC
Average U.S. viewers during broadcast: 85.5 million
Nielsen rating: 46.4
Household share: 63%
Price of 30-second ad: $525,000

Fans of the Miami Dolphins were likely not laughing at the 38-16 rout their team suffered at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers in this 1985 matchup. Apple customers were also generally not amused by the company's 1985 “Lemmings” commercial that aired during Super Bowl XIX.

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AlBello // GettyImages

#25. Super Bowl XXXIX

Date: Feb. 6, 2005
Network: Fox
Average U.S. viewers during broadcast: 86.1 million
Nielsen rating: 41.1
Household share: 62%
Price of 30-second ad: $2.4 million

Tom Brady led the New England Patriots to their third Super Bowl title in four seasons against the Philadelphia Eagles. Another great success was the halftime performance by Sir Paul McCartney at Super Bowl XXXIX, and Pepsi's ad featuring Cindy Crawford.

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Jed Jacobsohn // Getty Images

#24. Super Bowl XXXVI

Date: Feb. 3, 2002
Network: Fox
Average U.S. viewers during broadcast: 86.8 million
Nielsen rating: 40.4
Household share: 61%
Price of 30-second ad: $2.2 million

In tribute to the September 11th attacks, Budweiser aired a commercial featuring the famous Budweiser Clydesdale horses bowing to the Manhattan skyline. The commercial was shown only once during this Super Bowl and never aired again. But numerous replays have been shown (particularly around Boston) of the New England Patriots and Tom Brady narrowly winning their first Super Bowl in 2002, beating the favored St. Louis Rams, 20-17, thanks to an Adam Vinatieri field goal as time expired.

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Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum // White House // Getty Images

#23. Super Bowl XXI

Date: Jan. 25, 1987
Network: CBS
Average U.S. viewers during broadcast: 87.2 million
Nielsen rating: 45.8
Household share: 66%
Price of 30-second ad: $600,000

The New York Giants won their first Super Bowl title against the Denver Broncos, 39-20. MVP Phil Simms set records for both his 10 consecutive completions and completion percentage of 88% (22 for 25). Another star was born this Sunday evening when Spuds MacKenzie made his debut in Budweiser's “Party Animal” commercial.

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YouTube

#22. Super Bowl XXXI

Date: Jan. 26, 1997
Network: Fox
Average U.S. viewers during broadcast: 87.9 million
Nielsen rating: 43.3
Household share: 65%
Price of 30-second ad: $1.2 million

The Green Bay Packers hadn't won a Super Bowl in 29 years when they beat the New England Patriots, 35-21, in 1997. Desmond Howard became the first special teams player to be named Super Bowl MVP. Less aesthetically pleasing was watching pigeons attack in the messiest way possible in a Nissan commercial. Nike also made their mark with their Lil' Penny ads, banking on the popularity of NBA star Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway.

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Brian Bahr // GettyImages

#21. Super Bowl XXXIV

Date: Jan. 30, 2000
Network: ABC
Average U.S. viewers during broadcast: 88.5 million
Nielsen rating: 43.3
Household share: 63%
Price of 30-second ad: $2.1 million

Dick Vermeil's St. Louis Rams were up 23-16 against the Tennessee Titans with five seconds on the clock, and one amazing stop left Tennessee's Kevin Dyson one yard short of the goal line. The halftime show scored a touchdown though, with a star-studded lineup featuring Phil Collins, Christina Aguilera, Enrique Iglesias, and Toni Braxton.

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Donald Miralle // GettyImages

#20. Super Bowl XXXVII

Date: Jan. 26, 2003
Network: ABC
Average U.S. viewers during broadcast: 88.6 million
Nielsen rating: 40.7
Household share: 61%
Price of 30-second ad: $2.2 million

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers dominated the Oakland Raiders, 48-21, in Super Bowl XXXVII. Dexter Jackson, a free safety for Tampa Bay, was named MVP of the game after intercepting two passes during the first half. Also, Monster.com debuted an entertaining commercial with a semi-truck missing a driver.

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AndyLyons // GettyImages

#19. Super Bowl XXXVIII

Date: Feb. 1, 2004
Network: CBS
Average U.S. viewers during broadcast: 89.8 million
Nielsen rating: 41.4
Household share: 63%
Price of 30-second ad: $2.3 million

Everyone remembers the Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake apparent “wardrobe malfunction” during this Super Bowl's halftime show. That famous snafu is maybe even more well known than the fact that Tom Brady led the New England Patriots to their second Super Bowl win in three seasons against the Carolina Panthers.

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Intersofia // Wikimedia Commons

#18. Super Bowl XXXII

Date: Jan. 25, 1998
Network: NBC
Average U.S. viewers during broadcast: 90 million
Nielsen rating: 44.5
Household share: 67%
Price of 30-second ad: $1.3 million

The Denver Broncos bested the Green Bay Packers, 31-24, in Super Bowl XXXII. Running back Terrell Davis rushed for 137 yards and scored three touchdowns, earning him the game's MVP title, but the game is also remembered as the first Super Bowl win for John Elway (after losing three earlier appearances). In a tribute to Motown, the halftime show included Boyz II Men, Smokey Robinson, Queen Latifah, Martha Reeves, and The Temptations.

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Stephen Dunn // Getty Images

#17. Super Bowl XXVIII

Date: Jan. 30, 1994
Network: NBC
Average U.S. viewers during broadcast: 90 million
Nielsen rating: 45.5
Household share: 66%
Price of 30-second ad: $900,000

The Dallas Cowboys beat the Buffalo Bills, 30-13, in Super Bowl XXVII, played at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta in front of a crowd of 72,817. Inspired by its Georgia location, the NFL put on a country-themed halftime show featuring The Judds, Travis Tritt, Tanya Tucker, and Clint Black.

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Jonathan Ferrey // GettyImages

#16. Super Bowl XL

Date: Feb. 5, 2006
Network: ABC
Average U.S. viewers during broadcast: 90.7 million
Nielsen rating: 41.6
Household share: 62%
Price of 30-second ad: $2.5 million

Ben Roethlisberger, who became the youngest quarterback to win the Super Bowl at just under 24 years old, led the Pittsburgh Steelers to victory against the Seattle Seahawks, 21-10, in Super Bowl XL. During a halftime show starring the Rolling Stones, the NFL chose to censor some of their lyrics because of explicit content.

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Tim Clary / AFP // GettyImages

#15. Super Bowl XXVII

Date: Jan. 31, 1993
Network: NBC
Average U.S. viewers during the broadcast: 91 million
Nielsen rating: 45.1
Household share: 66%
Price of 30-second ad: $850,000

The Dallas Cowboys stomped the Buffalo Bills, 52-17, marking the team's third Super Bowl win in a then-record six appearances. Quarterback Troy Aikman, the game's MVP, completed 22 of 30 passes for 273 yards, with four touchdowns and no interceptions. This was also the year Michael Jackson performed “Heal the World” during the halftime show. 

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MiguelDiscart // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Super Bowl XX

Date: Jan. 26, 1986
Network: NBC
Average U.S. viewers during broadcast: 92.6 million
Nielsen rating: 48.3
Household share: 70%
Price of 30-second ad: $550,000

The Chicago Bears, led by coach Mike Ditka, set a Super Bowl record for most points scored in their 46-10 victory over the New England Patriots. The group “Up with People” headlined their fourth halftime show in 1986, but ultimately it would be down with people thereafter; Super Bowl XX was their last performance at the big game.


 

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Jonathan Daniel // Getty Images

#13. Super Bowl XLI

Date: Feb. 4, 2007
Network: CBS
Average U.S. viewers during the broadcast: 93.2 million
Nielsen rating: 42.6
Household share: 64%
Price of 30-second ad: $2.4 million

Chicago Bears return man Devin Hester opened this game with a 92-yard return for a touchdown—a Super Bowl first. But Peyton Manning passed for 247 yards, helping the Indianapolis Colts franchise win their first Super Bowl in 36 years. Despite a pouring rain (unfortunately not purple), Prince still gave a spectacular halftime performance.

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YouTube

#12. Super Bowl XXX

Date: Jan. 28, 1996
Network: NBC
Average U.S. viewers during broadcast: 94.1 million
Nielsen rating: 46
Household share: 68%
Price of 30-second ad: $1.1 million

When the Dallas Cowboys rolled to a 27-17 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, it marked the 12th straight time an NFC team won the Super Bowl. Diana Ross had an equally notable performance during halftime, ending the show with a helicopter exit finale.

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Lecka // Getty Images

#11. Super Bowl XLII

Date: Feb. 3, 2008
Network: Fox
Average U.S. viewers during broadcast: 97.4 million
Nielsen rating: 43.1
Household share: 65%
Price of a 30-second ad: $2.7 million

Despite being undefeated during the regular season, the New England Patriots lost to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII after Eli Manning threw a 13-yard touchdown pass with 39 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, breaking the heart of Tom Brady. During halftime, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers performed at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.

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Jamie Squire // Getty Images

#10. Super Bowl XLIII

Date: Feb. 1, 2009
Network: NBC
Average U.S. viewers during broadcast: 98.7 million
Nielsen rating: 42
Household share: 64%
Price of 30-second ad: $3 million

The Pittsburgh Steelers narrowly escaped with a win against the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII. Steelers linebacker James Harrison scored on a 100-yard interception return for a touchdown in the second quarter, setting a record for the longest play in Super Bowl history. Among the journalists covering the game was Larry Fitzgerald Sr., the father of Cardinals star wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.

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Rob Carr // Getty Images

#9. Super Bowl LII

Date: Feb. 4, 2018
Network: NBC
Average U.S. viewers during broadcast: 103.4 million
Nielsen rating: 43.1
Household share: 68%
Price of 30-second ad: $5 million

The New England Patriots could not overcome a high-powered Philadelphia Eagles offense and they narrowly missed out on winning their sixth Super Bowl, losing 41-33. Justin Timberlake returned to the halftime show with less risqué material, making his way into the crowd for his big finale this time.

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Jed Jacobsohn // Getty Images

#8. Super Bowl XLIV

Date: Feb. 7, 2010
Network: CBS
Average U.S. viewers during broadcast: 106.5 million
Nielsen rating: 45
Household share: 68%
Price of 30-second ad: $2.8 million

The New Orlean Saints and quarterback Drew Brees were victorious in their comeback against Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV, winning 31-17. On the commercial side, the 2010 Super Bowl debuted the first Snickers “You're Not You When You're Hungry” ad, featuring Betty White.

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Christopher Polk // Getty Images

#7. Super Bowl XLVII

Date: Feb. 3, 2013
Network: CBS
Average U.S. viewers during broadcast: 108.7 million
Nielsen rating: 46.3
Household share: 69%
Price of 30-second ad: $4 million

In a close game between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers, the Edgar Allan Poe namesakes took home their second Super Bowl title. This was also the first loss for the 49ers in their six Super Bowl appearances, in a game notable for both head coaches being brothers (John and Jim Harbaugh) and a power failure that paused play for more than 30 minutes. There was more than enough electricity when Beyonce headlined the halftime show, and she was joined by former Destiny's Child co-stars Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland.

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Al Bello // Getty Images

#6. Super Bowl XLV

Date: Feb. 6, 2011
Network: Fox
Average U.S. viewers during broadcast: 111 million
Nielsen rating: 46
Household share: 69%
Price of 30-second ad: $3.1 million

The Green Bay Packers held back the Pittsburgh Steelers, 31-25, in Cowboy Stadium (or Jerry World) at Super Bowl XLV. The Black Eyed Peas, Usher, and Slash headlined the halftime show, and MVP Aaron Rodgers passed for 304 yards and three touchdowns. The win gave Green Bay their fourth Super Bowl title in franchise history. GoDaddy, a company notorious for their racy commercials featuring scantily clad women, flipped the script by having Joan Rivers appear in their 2011 ad.

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Christopher Polk // Getty Images

#5. Super Bowl LI

Date: Feb. 5, 2017
Network: Fox
Average U.S. viewers during broadcast: 111.3 million
Nielsen rating: 45.3
Household share: 73%
Price of 30-second ad: $5 million

The New England Patriots managed the largest comeback in Super Bowl history in 2017, beating the Atlanta Falcons, 34-28. Tom Brady and the Patriots were down 25 points in the third quarter, but forced the game into overtime, won the coin toss, and drove down the field for the game-winning touchdown. Lady Gaga gave an entertaining performance during the halftime show, complete with a (pre-recorded) stunt where she jumped off the roof of the stadium.

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Christopher Polk // Getty Images

#4. Super Bowl XLVI

Date: Feb. 5, 2012
Network: NBC
Average U.S. viewers during broadcast: 111.3 million
Nielsen rating: 47
Household share: 71%
Price of 30-second ad: $3.5 million

Super Bowl XLVI saw the New York Giants triumph over the New England Patriots, 21-17, after Eli Manning and his team finished an 88-yard drive with a touchdown run by Ahmad Bradshaw. Singer M.I.A. sparked controversy when she flipped the middle finger during the halftime show while performing with Madonna, which led to her being sued by the NFL for more than $16 million.

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Ezra Shaw // Getty Images

#3. Super Bowl 50

Date: Feb. 7, 2016
Network: CBS
Average U.S. viewers during broadcast: 111.9 million
Nielsen rating: 46.6
Household share: 72%
Price of 30-second ad: $5 million

Most valuable player Von Miller's two forced fumbles and 2.5 sacks led to two Denver Broncos touchdowns, helping his squad defeat the Carolina Panthers, 24-10, in the final game for quarterback Peyton Manning. The halftime show consisted of a power-packed lineup of Coldplay, Beyonce, Bruno Mars, and Mark Ronson.

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Elsa // Getty Images

#2. Super Bowl XLVIII

Date: Feb. 2, 2014
Network: Fox
Average U.S. viewers during broadcast: 112.2 million
Nielsen rating: 46.7
Household share: 69%
Price of 30-second ad: $4 million

In the largest margin of victory in a Super Bowl in 21 years, the Seattle Seahawks beat down the Denver Broncos, 43-8, in 2014. This was the first world championship for the Pacific Northwest franchise and the first Super Bowl held outdoors on the East Coast. Budweiser again had an ad that had people talking, but so did Cheerios and Hyundai.

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Christopher Polk // Getty Images

#1. Super Bowl XLIX

Date: Feb. 1, 2015
Network: NBC
Average U.S. viewers during broadcast: 114.4 million
Nielsen rating: 47.5
Household share: 71%
Price of 30-second ad: $4.5 million

The New England Patriots neutralized the Seattle Seahawks after Malcolm Butler intercepted a pass at the goal line with 20 seconds left to play. In a famous commercial that addressed domestic violence and sexual assault, the “No More” campaign featured a real 911 call.

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