When it comes to sporting occasions in the USA, it seems to me (note: a young lad from Reading, England) none seem to achieve the spectacle that appears to accompany the AFC-NFC World Championship Game, also known as The Super Bowl. This is no disrespect to other leagues; it's just that the Super Bowl seems to epitomize all the grandeur, pomp and ceremony that is part and parcel of the USA's celebration of sporting achievement. Indeed, I remember in my university days some of us staying up to watch Super Bowl XXIII when we did our best to match the festive spirit by making hot dogs, eating popcorn and drinking Buds. As much as we winced when it was referred to as the World Championship, we could not doubt the importance and fascination this one single game has held since 1967 when under legendary coach Vince Lombardi the Green Bay Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10 to claim Super Bowl I.
And it is with this mindset that we turn our attention to Sunday February 3, 2013 when Super Bowl XLVII will be played at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana as the San Francisco 49ers (11-4-1) take on the Baltimore Ravens (10-6). As with all similar encounters, it is a game filled with trivia; from being the first Super Bowl pitting brother against brother (John v Jim Harbaugh) to being the last game of Ravens legendary linebacker Ray Lewis, from the 49ers aiming for their sixth Super Bowl win in team history (tying the Pittsburgh Steelers for most Super Bowl wins) to this also being the first Super Bowl in which both of the teams have appeared in, but not yet lost, a previous Super Bowl. When it comes to weighty, historical games the 'Harbaugh Bowl' seems loaded with both.
And what about the record books? The 49ers certainly have the advantage here although the Ravens hold their own in terms of superlatives. As with all record keeping, at Guinness World Records we make sure we are as comprehensive as possible but rather than list all, here are a few of my personal Super Bowl favorites from our own weighty and historical database:
Super Bowl XIV holds the record for the largest stadium attendance at 103,985 played on January 20, 1980 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California played between the Los Angeles Rams and Pittsburgh Stealers (the Stealers won 31-19).
The most watched broadcast Super Bowl was XLVI between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots, viewed by 111.3 million viewers (the Giants won 21-17).
The fastest score is 14 seconds by Devin Hester who returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown at the beginning of Super Bowl XLI playing for the Chicago Bears against the Indianapolis Colts (the Colts won 29-17).
The oldest player was kicker Matt Stover who was 42 years and 11 days old when he took the field for the Indianapolis Colts during Super Bowl XLIV.
The youngest player was running back Jamal Lewis for the Baltimore Ravens who was 21 years 155 days old when he played during Super Bowl XXXV (the Ravens beat the New York Giants 34-7).
The longest field goal made was 54 yards by Steve Christie for the Buffalo Bills during Super Bowl XXVIII (the Bills went on to lose 30-13 to the Dallas Cowboys).
The highest aggregate score in a Super Bowl is 75 when the San Francisco 49ers beat the San Diego Chargers 49-26 during in 1995.
The highest team score and record victory margin in a Super Bowl occurred when the San Francisco 49ers beat the Denver Broncos 55-10 in 1990.
The most field goals scored in a single Super Bowl is four by Ray Wersching for the San Francisco 49ers in 1982 and Don Chandler of the Green Bay Packers in 1968.
The most career receptions is 33 by Jerry Rice playing for the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XXIII, XXIV and XXIX and for the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII.
In true Guinness World Records fashion however it would be wildly remiss of me not to include a few other perhaps less well-known football-related factoids which we believe are just as noteworthy in honor of the special occasion:
The fastest marathon in a football uniform is 3 hr 45 min 30 sec, achieved by Paul Statchuk (Canada) at the Mississauga Marathon in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on 6 May 2012.
The highest insured hair is that of professional footballer Troy Polamalu (USA) of the Pittsburgh Steelers (USA), whose trademark locks were insured for $1 million (£622,713) with Lloyd's of London by Procter and Gamble shampoo brand Head & Shoulders on 30 August 2010.
The greatest number of cheerleaders simultaneously performing a cheer at a single venue is 1,278 and was achieved by Science Cheerleaders & Pop Warner (both USA) at the Sun National Bank Arena in Trenton, New Jersey, USA, on 12 November 2011.
The longest claimed kick is one of 78 yards, barefooted, by Ching Do Kim at Honolulu Stadium, USA on 23 November 1944.
The longest paper football field goal is 23 feet (7.01 meters), achieved by Kelley Parker (USA), in College Station, Texas, USA, on 10 June 2012.
The most goals successfully kicked in 24 hours is 1,000 and was achieved by Craig Pinto (USA) at Theodore Roosevelt Park, Oyster Bay, New York, USA, on 09 October 2011.
The most people to make a field goal in six hours was 181 by Tostitos Fiesta in the Square in Times Square, New York, New York, USA on 16 December 2011.
The oldest football player is Paul L. Morton (USA, b. 12 January 1941), who was 67 years old when he played a regular season for semi-professional team, Stateline Miners, in 2008.
We hope all of these wonderful accomplishments go some ways to answering the major sporting questions of the day such as will Reading FC stay in the Premiership and will she or won't she lip sync?
But what we also hope they do is allow us to celebrate one of the major dates in the USA sporting calendar and so we wish both teams and their fans all the best of luck on Sunday when we will all find out if Ray Lewis and his Ravens can stop San Francisco from adding to their Super Bowl superlatives!