The NFL: 16 ways the game has changed in the Super Bowl era

Forty-seven years after the first Super Bowl was played in Los Angeles before a less-than-capacity crowd, let’s look back at some of the ways the NFL has changed.

2. Passing has proliferated

In Super Bowl I, Green Bay quarterback Bart Starr was named the game’s MVP for completing 16 of 23 passes, while Len Dawson, his counterpart with the Kansas City Chiefs, was 16 of 27. That’s 50 total passes, compared with the combined 81 thrown in last year’s Super Bowl by Eli Manning of the champion New York Giants and Tom Brady of the New England Patriots. The adoption of rules to open up the passing game have played a role in this trend.

The league’s trickle-down influence is felt at all levels of the game, with top college quarterbacks requiring no break-in period to successfully guide pro passing attacks (note the success of Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson, and Robert Griffin III this season).

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