For Super Bowl LI, the New England Patriots faced off with the Atlanta Falcons in Houston, the largest city in Texas. Lady Gaga provided the halftime entertainment. The last time Houston hosted a Super Bowl was 13 years ago. Since 2004, Houston has grown its population upwards of one million people and has built more hotel rooms and restaurants in preparation.
Since fans pay thousands of dollars to travel to and attend the event, the question is raised – why? What is it about this treasured event that makes sports fans cough up thousands for the experience? I had the opportunity to walk around the city — and talk to some fans about why they trekked from far and wide to Houston.
This couple, natives of Atlanta, Georgia, (and natural-born Falcons fans) have traveled cross-country to 10 different Super Bowls over the years. Although they were not attending the actual game, they were excited to be in town for the celebratory experience. If you watch closely, you might be able to see their backpack, which has patches from every Super Bowl game up until last year, Super Bowl 50.
CJ and Callie traveled to Houston this year to see their beloved Falcons (hopefully) win Super Bowl 51. When asked about the score, they said, “As long as we get the W.” With Matt Ryan, Falcons quarterback, recently named the National Football League’s MVP, they were confident that their Falcons would take home the Lombardi trophy.
This father and son duo, Craig and Craig Jr., have been supporting the Patriots because of quarterback Tom Brady’s alma mater, the University of Michigan. Even after moving to Houston, they continue to support the Patriots and expect a close match between the two teams, but an overall victory for the Pats.
Jack and Will flew all the way from Rochester, New York and were not rooting for the same team. Having been to four Super Bowls prior to this one, Jack (pictured on the left) the thought that Houston was doing a good job living up to the prior games he had been to. They did agree on one thing: that the Patriots would come out on top.
After speaking with many football fans, it was obvious that both teams had an enormous amount of support from their fans. Most of the fans I spoke to were predicting a close game between the two teams. Unexpectedly, the Falcons led the Patriots throughout the game only to have the Patriots tie the game up in the last minute of the fourth quarter, sending the game into overtime. In the end — the first overtime game in Super Bowl history —- resulted in a Patriots win over the Falcons, 34-28. Brady became the first quarterback to win five Super Bowls in the history of the sport. This game will go down in history as either the greatest comeback in NFL history, or the greatest choke.