Football Super Bowl Rules

The Super Bowl in football is the championship game for the National Football League (NFL). It represents the culmination of a season and is the last professional game played until the next season. The champions of the American Football Conference (AFC) and National Football Conference (NFC) play each other in a neutral-site, winner-take-all game.

These conference champions are decided by the NFL Playoffs, which consists of six teams from each conference. You can learn more about the NFL Playoffs in Football NFL Playoffs.

The Super Bowl has been played once every year since 1967. The winner receives the Vince Lombardi Trophy, named after coach Vince Lombardi, who won the first two Super Bowls.

Two teams are tied for the most Super Bowl victories: the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers have both won six Super Bowls. There are only four NFL teams that have never been to a Super Bowl: the Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, and the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Since 2004, the Super Bowl has taken place on the first Sunday in February, exactly five months after the first game of the regular season. The game is played at a neutral site that is chosen prior to the beginning of the season.

Super Bowl Rules

For the most part the NFL Super Bowl has the same rules as during the regular season. There are just several small differences which we'll talk about here.

The game is not played at the stadium of the home team, but at a set location chosen at the beginning of the season. However, there is a home and away team, which is alternated between conferences every year. Being home or away only affects the color of the jerseys that can be worn.

There are also differences in how the game is broadcasted, stretching the game out to allow for various entertainment pieces.

Commercial Breaks

During the Super Bowl commercials run longer than in the NFL regular season. That is to allow companies to pay large sums of money to have their advertisements run on the large stage the Super Bowl provides.

Halftime Show

Just like commercials the Super Bowl halftime is longer than the regular season's. The standard 13 minute halftime is doubled to be 30 minutes long, which allows for a live performance by a music group.


Overtime rules also vary slightly from the regular season. In the regular season ties are a possibility if after one overtime period the teams are still level. However, teams may not tie in the Super Bowl and the game must end with a winning team. In response, the NFL added an overtime rule stating that there would be unlimited overtime periods. The rest of the overtime rules are kept, the only difference is the game goes until a team scores.

How to Make it to the Super Bowl

In order to make it to the Super Bowl a team must win its conference. Each conference (AFC and NFC) sends one representative that wins their playoff bracket to the Super Bowl. To be the winner, a team must first qualify for the playoffs. Each division winner, and two more teams with the best record (wild cards) enter the conference bracket. There are three rounds a team must advance through to win the conference and make it to the Super Bowl.