The Super Bowl’s Carolina Connections

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Photo by Es sarawuth/Shutterstock

OK, so the Panthers aren’t playing this year, but the Super Bowl is still a must-see for football fans across North Carolina and around the country. When the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs faced off for the first one in 1967 it wasn’t even called the Super Bowl, but today it’s become more than just a football game — it’s a cultural tradition and unofficial national holiday for millions of Americans.

So while you’re watching the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons this Sunday in Super Bowl 51, chew on these big game fun facts:

  • N.C.’s favorite Super Bowl snack food: buffalo chicken wings. According to Google, it’s the most-searched game day recipe among North Carolinians. For a Carolina twist, try this Strawberry Chipotle Chicken Wings recipe from the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Fun fact: more than one billion chicken wings will be consumed during the game.
  • Number of microbreweries in N.C.: 180. Looking to enjoy some North Carolina-brewed beverages during the game? According to the North Carolina Craft Brewers Guild, you can choose from 180 local breweries, with more in development.
  • Number of times the Carolina Panthers have been to the Super Bowl: two. The first time was Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004, when the Panthers lost to the New England Patriots, 29 to 32. (This was also the Super Bowl that gave us Janet Jackson’s infamous halftime “wardrobe malfunction.”) The Panthers returned to the 2016 Super Bowl 50 against the Denver Broncos, but lost 24-10.
  • New England Patriots players from N.C. universities: Jacoby Brissette and Joe Thuney (both from NCSU).
  • Atlanta Falcons players from N.C. universities: Justin Hardy (ECU) and Deji Olatoye (NC A&T).
  • Number of players from North Carolina universities that have played in the Super Bowl (including this year’s game): UNC – 36; NCSU – 28; ECU – 19; Duke – 14; Wake Forest – 16; NC A&T – 4; ASU – 2; NCCU – 2; ECSU – 2; St. Augustine – 1.
  • North Carolinians in the Pro Football Hall of Fame: Bobby Bell, Shelby; Carl Eller, Winston-Salem; Joe Gibbs, Mocksville; Chris Hanburger, Fort Bragg; Sonny Jurgensen, Wilmington; Bruce Matthews, Raleigh; Charlie Sanders, Richlands; Dwight Stephenson, Murfreesboro.
  • Players in the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame who have played in the Super Bowl (team in parentheses): Sonny Jurgenson, Wilmington (Washington); Jefro Pugh, Windsor (Dallas); Carl Eller, Winston-Salem (Minnesota); Dwight Clark, Kinston (San Francisco); Bob Matheson, Boone (Miami);  Jim Ritcher, Berea, Ohio (Buffalo); Jim Clack, Rocky Mount (Pittsburgh); Ken Huff, Coronada, Calif. (Washington); Ricky Proehl, Bronx, N.Y. (Buffalo); Kelvin Bryant, Tarboro (Washington); Jeff Bostic, Greensboro, (Washington); Jerry Richardson (owner, Carolina Panthers).
  • First musical act to perform at halftime: Up With People at Super Bowl 10. Originally, halftime shows consisted mainly of local marching bands. The trend of having big-name stars perform, such as this year’s headliner Lady Gaga, started in the early 1990s in an effort to keep viewers from changing the channel during halftime.
  • Cost of a 30-second advertisement: $5 million. After all, some of us only watch for the commercials. 

Source: N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources


Categories: From the Editor