National Academic Super Bowl
The National Academic Super Bowl was a competition run by Duval County Public Schools that lasted from 1976 to around 1988. It involved six-person high school quizbowl teams answering speed tossups such as "Name the longest river in Europe" on the football field at Sandalwood High School in Jacksonville.
An event that would eventually become the National Academic Super Bowl was created by Duval County (Jacksonville Area) assistant superintendent Fazil Dean in 1976 for district schools. No records publicly exist from this time.
In 1981 the event invited teams from across the nation and billed itself as a national tournament, even though the majority of the field comprised of teams from the southeast. It was televised on at least a local basis on Jacksonville PBS affiliate WJCT that year.
Freeman (as Henrico County) won the competition in 1981 over Sandalwood (as the Duval all-stars) after a controversy over whether the game-deciding final tossup, asking for who said, "Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute," had the correct answer on the page or not.
The Duval all-stars won in 1983 over East Baton Rouge of Louisiana, 196-52, answering questions such as "Who was the poet whose most important work was 'Andrea del Sarto'?" Incumbent Secretary of Education Terrel Bell attended this tournament as a spectator and was inspired to create the National Academic League.
In 1984 over four thousand "fans" filled the stands to watch the finals, during which marching bands, cheerleaders, and television crews were present. The 1983 Super Bowl involved 18 teams from 8 states and was sponsored by the Duval County School Board under the direction of superintendent Herb A. Sang. The Duval County public schools all-star team won the tournament in 1984 over the Birmingham, AL all-stars.
By 1987, the format had changed such that all the non-Duval teams played a regular invitational tournament, whose winner faced the Duval County all-stars in the Super Bowl. In both 1987 and 1988, the tournament had eighteen teams, and Duval's opponent was the Fayette County all-stars from Kentucky. The 1987 Super Bowl was nationally televised on The Learning Channel (now known as TLC).
Some accounts of the tournament refer to individual schools participating, and others to all-star teams representing countywide public school systems. It is possible that the rules changed from year to year.
It is unknown how long the Super Bowl lasted after 1988 or who else won it. Fazil Dean retired from her position as assistant superintendent in 1989, possibly contributing to the Super Bowl's downfall. It was apparently supplanted by the Panasonic Academic Challenge (PAC), the first iteration of which was held the last known year the Super Bowl was held. The Panasonic Academic Challenge, now known as the National Tournament of Academic Excellence (NTAE) is an annual national championship run by Florida state education administrators.
|1981||Freeman (as Henrico County)||Sandalwood|
|1983||Duval All-Stars||East Baton Rouge All-Stars|
|1984||Duval All-Stars||Birmingham All-Stars|
|1987||Duval All-Stars||Fayette All-Stars|
|1988||Duval All-Stars||Fayette All-Stars|
- National Tournament of Academic Excellence/Panasonic Academic Challenge
- Commissioner's Academic Challenge