A Newbie’s Guide to Super Bowl LI


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The Super Bowl has to be one of the biggest annual sporting events in the world, millions and millions, if not billions watch the culmination of a four-month NFL season, as the league puts on an unrivalled show for the coveted Vince Lombardi trophy. But what if the only American Football, as it’s commonly known as in the UK, you experience every year is the end-of-season finale? Well get comfortable and read on read on to get the lowdown on Super Bowl 51…

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So, this year, the Super Bowl, which rotates venues across the United States every year, is taking place in Houston, Texas, at the home of the (you guessed it), Houston Texans. With a capacity of 72,220, NRG Stadium is typical of the mega-domes that make up the stadiums that are dotted about in franchise cities with 32 teams in the league. Over here, in the UK, the game will kick-off at 23.30pm, more than likely finishing around 3.30am…I hope you’re off work on Monday!

But only two can make the Super Bowl, and this year those two are: the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots. Let’s kick-off by taking a look at the Falcons. A team chocked full of young talent across the board, with an emphasis on offense, the Falcons have wowed fans this season, by dominating teams with real gusto, led by their quarterback, Matt Ryan. Ryan, has been seen as a nearly man for a number of seasons, often showing strong leadership and a deft touch when it comes to throwing the ball, but never managing to do it when the big games come along.

Not in 2017, however, blasting away teams single-handedly to reach almost 5,000 total yards in passing (4,944, for the record), a whopping 38 touchdowns and just seven interceptions across the season. It resulted in him being awarded the Most Valuable Player award (MVP) ahead of his Super Bowl rival, the New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

The Falcons, then, have half a chance in this game, their offense is brilliant, with weapons including wide receiver Julio Jones (not just a brilliant name, but arguably the best player in the league in his position) and running back Devonta Freeman. Where they may struggle is with their defence facing the imperious Patriots, who always find a way to run over the opposition with pure brute force. Experience, too, may play a part, as the vast majority of the Falcons humongous team find themselves in a Super Bowl for the first time of their careers.

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The other team of this match-up are the New England Patriots. A team coached by Bill Belichick, and quarterbacked by  Tom Brady, the Patriots are one of the most successful NFL teams of all-time. Period. The duo’s pairing has been compared to that of Sir Alex Ferguson and Ryan Giggs, two men that know how to win, and how to prepare a team to do anything to reach that goal. While the Falcons as a franchise have never won the Super Bowl in their history, and have only reached the Super Bowl twice, the Patriots in this millennium alone, have won FOUR titles, with Brady looking to make it five on Sunday night.

But it’s not all about Brady. The Patriots defence is unstoppable, and is ranked the best in the league for the 2017 season, not something the team were known for before this year. Players to look out for include tight end Martellus Bennett, running back LeGarrette Blount and wide receiver Julian Edelmen (if you’re unsure the NFL is for you at this point, at least admire the names!).

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Another highlight of the annual event is the booking of a superstar from the music world. Everyone who is anyone has played the famed Super Bowl half-time show, from Prince, to Madonna, to the King of Pop himself, Michael Jackson. Pop culture and memes have come out of the shows too, like Janet Jackson’s infamous wardrobe malfunction and Katy Perry’s ‘left shark’ incident. This year,  Lady Gaga will hit the stage, famously for no appearance fee as the exposure artists get by playing the show far exceeds any money, with a medley of hits, special guests and fireworks always likely.

So, that’s the lowdown on this year’s Super Bowl, from the teams on the pitch, to the talents behind the half-time show! If you’re tempted, grab a bowl of chicken wings, crank up the TV and enjoy this year’s game.

Who do you think will win Super Bowl 51? Let me know in the comments below!

 


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