During 1916, the Roses Association decided to sponsor a football tournament between WSU (then called The State College of Washington) and Brown. This game was held at Tournament Park in Pasadena, as were subsequent annual matches.
Fast-forward five years and they needed a larger stadium to play
the game as attendance outgrew that venue. Myron Hunt was
commissioned to design a stadium for this purpose which was named
Rose Bowl. The Rose Bowl was modeled after the design of Yale’s
stadium, Yale Bowl, which resembled a bowl. This tournament
sponsored by the Roses Association then was named the “Rose Bowl,”
after the stadium.
As other universities with football teams saw the money making
opportunities and promotional value of these tournament games,
they began creating their own 'bowl' games, even though many of
these games were not played in bowl shaped stadiums.
The NFL borrowed this terminology when it created the Pro Bowl in
1951. In 1970, the AFL and NFL merged and they created a
championship game called the AFL-NFL World Championship Game. Once
the merger was completed two years later, the championship game
was re-branded the Super Bowl, using the college naming
convention. The third match-up, was named Super Bowl III and also
set the tradition of using Roman numerals for the Super Bowl.