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WorkbookEdition 6 the first super bowl

READTHEORY

Passage and Questions

Name________________
Date________________

• Reading Comprehension Assessment
Directions: Read the passage. Then answer the questions below.

The First Super Bowl
The Super Bowl is a huge part of American culture
today. Nearly 1 in 3 Americans watches the annual football
championship game on TV. But this was not always the
case. Until 1967, there was no Super Bowl. Before 1960,
there was not even a reason to have one. Prior to 1960, the
National Football League’s fortieth season, there was no
other league worthy of competition. But in 1960, the
American Football League came into existence.
Football Fights
The NFL had competed against rival leagues

before. But the other leagues had always fizzled or flopped.
Because the NFL was able to attract the best athletes, the
other leagues were only able to sign lesser-quality NFL rejects. But the AFL became a hit because it
managed to find some really good players who the NFL had made the mistake of passing on. The AFL
also attracted great players by paying them more. The college star Billy Cannon, for instance, chose to
sign with the Houston Oilers instead of the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams because the AFL team paid him
twice as much as the Rams would have.
For years afterward, the NFL and AFL teams got into bidding wars for star players. Still, there
was an unspoken agreement to not sign players from one league to the other. That broke down when an
AFL kicker signed with an NFL team. Afterward, the AFL struck back by signing eight of the better
quarterbacks the NFL had to offer. Suddenly, the leagues were both successful. And both were fielding
several excellent teams. The NFL worried it might not be able to survive the AFL’s challenge.
After six years of strong competition, the NFL decided it had no choice but to negotiate with the
AFL. In June of 1966, the two leagues agreed to merge by 1969. After 1969, the two leagues would both
exist as the National Football League with two conferences: the American Football Conference and the
National Football Conference. The two leagues would share a draft to find new players from the college
ranks. Additionally, the two leagues decided that there should be a championship game at the end of the
season, just as baseball’s two professional leagues had long played a World Series at the end of the
season.
The First Championship
Both leagues had their own championship games played on January 1, 1967. The Kansas City
Chiefs beat the Buffalo Bills in the AFL’s game. Shortly after, the Green Bay Packers beat the Dallas
Cowboys. A week later, the Chiefs would face off with the Packers in Los Angeles in the first Super Bowl.
Interestingly, no one called the first Super Bowl by that name. Instead, it was just called the “AFLNFL World Championship Game.” Some sportswriters called it the “Supergame,” but the term Super Bowl
was not used until the third championship game, in 1969. The term was then used in reference to the
longstanding tradition of ending college football seasons with bowl games such as the Rose Bowl and the
Cotton Bowl.
The first Super Bowl was not a close game. Green Bay beat Kansas City by 25 points. Still, a new
tradition was born, and the games would get better each year.


READTHEORY

Questions

1) According to paragraph 1, in what decade did the National Football League play its first season?
A.
B.
C.
D.



1910s
1920s
1950s
1960s

2) As used in paragraph 2, the word rival most nearly means
A.
B.
C.
D.

opposing
conquering
distrustful
merging

3) Information in the passage suggests that the American Football League was different from previous
leagues in that the AFL
A.
B.
C.
D.

was able to attract NFL-quality players
existed in the age of television
asked the NFL to play a championship game
had the best quarterbacks in the country

4) According to the passage, the NFL decided to merge with the AFL because
A.
B.
C.
D.

the AFL had stolen the best college players from the NFL
the AFL became more profitable than the NFL
the NFL wanted to create a championship game
the NFL feared its ability to compete with the AFL

5) As a result of the NFL-AFL merger, each of the following occurred EXCEPT
A.
B.
C.
D.

the new league was split into two conferences
a championship game was created
the two leagues kept their separate names forever
a shared college draft was created

6) According to the passage, which team did NOT play in a league-championship game in 1967?
A.
B.
C.
D.

Buffalo Bills
Los Angeles Rams
Dallas Cowboys
Green Bay Packers

7) Information in paragraph 6 mostly is used to
A.
B.
C.
D.

provide a transition to the next topic
define a term not known to the reader
describe the reasons the first Super Bowl was played
clarify the use of a previously used term

8) This passage is best described as
A.
B.
C.
D.

a description of the effects of the first Super Bowl
an overview of the history of the NFL
a history of the first Super Bowl
a summary of the first Super Bowl game


READTHEORY

Questions

9) Based on the information in the passage, explain the main differences between the original versions
of the AFL and the NFL.
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10) Who do you think is the target audience for this passage? What is the average reader’s age? What
are his or her interests? Where do you think this passage would be published? Explain your
inferences below.
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READTHEORY

Questions

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11) Imagine that a brand new football league were to be established today. What do you think would
happen to this new league? What challenges would the league face? How would its story be different
from the history of the NFL and AFL?
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READTHEORY

Answers and Explanations

1) D
Question Type: Detail
In the first paragraph, the passage states that “prior to 1960, the NFL’s fortieth season, there was no other league.” Since 1960 was
the NFL’s fortieth season, the first season must have taken place in 1921. This means the NFL played its first season in the 1920s.
It also means choice (B) is correct. The passage never discusses the 1910s nor suggests that the first NFL season was played in
that decade. Because of this, choice (A) is not correct. The passage does not suggest that the NFL played its first season in the
1950s. It does suggest the NFL existed during the 1950s, though. This question asks about the first season alone, so choice (C) is
not correct. The passage states that the AFL played its first season in the 1960s. But this question asks about the NFL. Because of
this, choice (D) is not correct.
2) A
Question Type: Vocabulary
rival (adjective): a person or thing competing with another for the same goal.
In paragraph 2, the author refers to the other “rival leagues” the NFL “had competed against” before the AFL was created. It then
refers to the “other leagues” failing. These sentences suggest that rival leagues are in competition with each other. This would
suggest that rival is closest in meaning to opposing. Because of this, choice (A) is correct. The second paragraph makes it clear that
the NFL had actually conquered or defeated the other “rival leagues” before. This would suggest that rival does not mean
conquering, since rival is used to describe the leagues the NFL beat, not the NFL itself. The NFL was the conquering league.
Because of this, choice (B) is not correct. The second paragraph suggests that rival is used to describe something in competition
with something else. While two opposite sides might be distrustful of each other, there is nothing in the passage to suggest that rival
outright means distrustful. Choice (C) is not correct as a result. The second paragraph refers to “rival leagues” and suggests that the
AFL was one such league. Though the AFL did eventually merge with the NFL, this is not described in paragraph 2. Because of this,
there is no reason to believe that rival and merging have the same meaning. Choice (D) is not correct because of this.
3) A
Question Type: Inference
In the second paragraph, the passage describes the differences between the AFL and “rival leagues” to the NFL before. It states
that most leagues “were only able to sign lesser-quality NFL rejects” as players. But “the AFL became a hit because it managed to
find some really good players,” including those that would have gone to the NFL. This suggests that, unlike previous rival leagues,
the AFL was able to attract NFL-quality players. Because of this, choice (A) is correct. The passage does discuss television a bit,
but it does not describe television in the context of the AFL’s success. Because of this, choice (B) is not correct. The passage goes
on to state that the AFL and NFL agreed to play a championship game. But this is only after the AFL had proven successful. This
question mostly asks about what made the AFL successful, not what the result of that success was. Because of this, choice (C) is
not correct. The fourth paragraph states that the AFL eventually did sign “eight of the better quarterbacks the NFL had to offer.” But
it does not state that the league “had the best quarterbacks in the country.” Having some of the better and having the very best are
two different things. Because of this, choice (D) is not correct.
4) D
Question Type: Detail
In paragraphs 3 and 4, the passage describes the reasons for the AFL-NFL merger in 1966. At the end of paragraph 3, the author
writes that “the NFL worried it might not be able to survive the AFL’s challenge.” This is the last thing mentioned before paragraph 4,
in which the author describes the NFL’s merger with the AFL. This means that that the NFL merged with the AFL because the NFL
feared its ability to compete with the AFL. As a result, choice (D) is correct. The passage states that the AFL had stolen at least one
college star—Billy Cannon—from the NFL, but it does not state that it routinely stole the best college players. Because of this,
choice (A) is not correct. The passage states that the AFL had become very successful, but it does not state that it was making
more money than the NFL was. Choice (B) is not correct because the passage does not provide enough evidence to support that
claim. The passage states that the NFL and AFL decided to create a championship game after the merger. But it does not suggest
that the championship game was the reason for the merger. Because of this, choice (C) is not correct.
5) C
Question Type: Detail
To answer this detail question, look for the part of the passage that describes the NFL-AFL merger. The results of the AFL-NFL
merger are listed in paragraph 4. There, the author states that, “After the two leagues would both exist as the National Football
League with two conferences: the American Football Conference and the National Football Conference.” This makes it clear that the
two leagues did not keep their separate names. Rather, they would both operate under the name of the National Football League,
with the two leagues renamed as conferences. This question asks for the event that did NOT occur, so choice (C) is correct. The
results of the AFL-NFL merger are listed in paragraph 4. There, the author states that, “After the two leagues would both exist as the
National Football League with two conferences: the American Football Conference and the National Football Conference.” This
makes it clear that the two leagues became one and that the new league was divided into two conferences. This question asks for
the event that did NOT occur, so choice (A) is not correct. The results of the AFL-NFL merger are listed in paragraph 4. There, the
author states that the “two leagues decided that there should be a championship game.” This question asks for the event that did
NOT occur, so choice (B) is not correct. The results of the AFL-NFL merger are listed in paragraph 4. There, the author states that
the “two leagues would share a draft to find new players from the college ranks.” This question asks for the event that did NOT
occur, so choice (D) is not correct.
6) B
Question Type: Detail
To answer this detail question, look for the part of the passage that describes the league championships of 1967. This occurs in
paragraph 5. There, the author states that “both leagues had their own championship games played on January 1, 1967.” He or she
states that “the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Buffalo Bills in the AFL’s game” and that “the Green Bay Packers beat the Dallas


READTHEORY

Answers and Explanations

Cowboys” in the NFL championship. The only team listed that did not play in a championship game in 1967, then, was the Los
Angeles Rams. This question asks for the team that did NOT play in a league-championship game in 1967, so choice (B) is correct.
Choices (A), (C), and (D) are each correct because paragraph 5 states that “the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Buffalo Bills in the
AFL’s game” and that “the Green Bay Packers beat the Dallas Cowboys” in the NFL championship. This question asks for the team
that did NOT play in a league-championship game in 1967, not teams that did play in the championship games.
7) D
Question Type: Inference
In paragraph 6, the author strays from the main flow of the passage a bit. Rather than describing the Super Bowl after listing the
teams that would play in it, he or she clarifies what the first Super Bowl was actually called, as “no one called the fist Super Bowl by
that name.” The term “Super Bowl” is used throughout the passage, so the author is attempting to clarify the use of a previously
used term in paragraph 6. He or she makes it clear that the “First Super Bowl” is only a name given to the event after the fact.
Because of this, choice (D) is correct. The author never transitions to a new topic in paragraph 6. Instead, he or she actually brings
up a different path of discussion in paragraph 6 before returning to the original topic in paragraph 8. This means he or she does not
transition into the next topic in paragraph 6 but instead transitions away from the main topic. Because of this, choice (A) is not
correct. The author does not actually define any terms in paragraph 6. Instead, he or she only makes it clear that the term he or she
uses (the first Super Bowl) is a term that was not used in 1967. No defining is done, though, so choice (B) is not correct. The fourth
paragraph explains the reasons the first Super Bowl was played. This question asks about paragraph 6, though, so choice (C) is not
correct.
8) C
Question Type: Global
The entire passage is about the first Super Bowl. It is divided into three sections. In the first, the author introduces the topic. In the
second (the section labeled “Football Fights”), the author describes the background of the AFL-NFL merger, the event that brought
about the first Super Bowl. In the third (the section labeled “The First Championship”), the author describes who played in the game,
what it was called, and the results. This means the passage mostly provides a history of the first Super Bowl. Because of this,
choice (C) is correct. The passage never describes the effects of the first Super Bowl. Instead, it describes the effects of the AFLNFL merger and the causes of the first Super Bowl. Because of this, choice (A) is not correct. The passage does not provide an
overview of the entire history of the NFL. Instead, it only discusses the NFL in the 1960s and mostly focuses on the Super Bowl
itself. This means choice (B) is not correct. The passage is about the first Super Bowl game, but it does not summarize the game
itself. Instead, it provides background on the game but never goes into much detail about the actual event. Choice (D) is not correct
as a result.



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