Milestones: 27 Years Ago In TIME

After 37 years, Americans are accustomed to the spectacle that the SUPER BOWL has become. In 1977, though, when TIME featured the big game on its cover, the event inspired something close to awe.

Super Bowl. It is the Great American Time Out, a three-hour pause on a Sunday afternoon in January that is--as sheer, unadorned spectacle--an interval unique. For 70 million Americans, life compresses to the diagonally measured size of a cathode ray tube. Work goes undone, play ceases too; telephones stop ringing, romance is delayed and, in all the land, there is just one traffic jam worthy of the...

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