Super Bowl LI is set.
It’ll be New England vs. Atlanta at NRG Stadium in Houston on Feb. 5. Kickoff is 5:30 p.m.
The Patriots wiped out Pittsburgh 36-17 and will be making their ninth Super Bowl appearance. New England has won four Super Bowl titles.
Atlanta whipped Green Bay 44-21. The Falcons will be making their second Super Bowl appearance. Atlanta lost in its previous appearance against Denver in Super Bowl XXXIII.
It’s the third time Houston has hosted a Super Bowl. The city hosted Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004 and Super Bowl VIII in 1974.
Super Bowl Opening Night Fueled by Gatorade will feature performances by rock band X Ambassadors and an appearance by Pro Football Hall of Famer and former Houston Oilers great Warren Moon on Jan. 30 at Minute Maid Park
Super Bowl Opening Night, which debuted at Super Bowl 50 in the San Francisco Bay Area, will be the first time the players and coaches meet with the media in Houston. The event will begin at 7 p.m., with interviews 7:15-8:15 p.m. and 9-10 p.m.
Fans will be able to sit in the stadium stands and watch thousands of media members interview the players.
Super Bowl Opening Night in Houston will be televised live on NFL Network, ESPN2, and FS1.
Tickets can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com.
The Super Bowl winner receives the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
It weighs 7 pounds and is 22 inches tall.
But there were two other trophy presentations for the participants, AFC champion and NFC champion, that don’t get much recognition.
There’s no love for semifinal trophies.
New England, the AFC champion, received the Lamar Hunt Trophy.
Hunt, the late founder of the Kansas City Chiefs and the American Football League, helped professional football attain its stature as America’s No. 1 sport. In the 10-year history of the AFL, his team posted the most wins (87) and earned berths in two of the first four Super Bowls, including a victory in Super Bowl IV. In 1972, Hunt became the first person from the AFL to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Atlanta, the NFC champion, received the George Halas Trophy.
Halas, the late owner of the Chicago Bears, is the second-winningest coach in history (324-151-31) behind Don Shula (347-173-6). He won six NFL championships with the Bears and is a charter enshrinee of the Pro Football Hall of Fame (1963).
And what about this Lombardi guy?
Lombardi won five NFL championships, including Super Bowls I and II, as coach of the Green Bay Packers. He died in 1970 and was posthumously inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971
In his honor, the NFL renamed “The Super Bowl Trophy” to the “Vince Lombardi Super Bowl Trophy” in 1971.
Who’s got it next?
When you get a new stadium, you’re nearly always guaranteed to get a Super Bowl.
Next up will be Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings, in Minneapolis, Minn. on Feb. 4, 2018.
The 66,200-seat, multipurpose stadium, which is expandable to 70,000 for the Super Bowl, has 137,000 square feet on the stadium floor and six club spaces. The stadium has 131 suites of seven types, including 23 turf suites located directly on the field. The stadium cost $1.129 billion.
The stadium boasts the closest seats and suites to the game action in any NFL venue, just 41 and 25 feet from the sidelines, respectively.
U.S. Bank Stadium opened July 22, 2016, and has been chosen as the site of the Summer X Games (2017 and 2018) and NCAA Men’s Final Four (2019).
After Minnesota, here are the next Super Bowl sites and tentative dates:
▪ Super Bowl LIII, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Feb. 3, 2019
▪ Super Bowl LIV, New Miami Stadium, South Florida, Feb. 2, 2020
▪ Super Bowl LV, New Los Angeles Stadium, Los Angeles, Feb. 7, 2021
Last season, the NFL went with the Arabic numeral “50” in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Super Bowl.
The league will return to branding the game with Roman numerals, as in Super Bowl LI.
Atlanta is the NFC champion and will be the home team and have its choice of jerseys.
Lady Gaga, a six-time Grammy winner and one of the world’s most colorful entertainers, will headline the Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl LI halftime show on Fox.
This will be Lady Gaga’s second time performing on the Super Bowl stage, after having sung the national anthem at Super Bowl 50 last February.
Country music superstar Luke Bryan will sing the national anthem in his first appearance on the Super Bowl stage.
Bryan is a two-time Academy of Country Music and Country Music Association entertainer of the year. Since the debut of his first album in 2007, he has placed 17 singles at No.1 and sold nearly 8 million albums. His fifth studio album, Kill the Lights, is certified platinum and has sold 3.5 million tracks with over 400 million streams.
In addition, on behalf of the National Association of the Deaf (NAD), actor Kriston Lee Pumphrey will perform in American Sign Language both the national anthem and America the Beautiful.
NFL Experience Driven by Genesis — Super Bowl LI’s interactive theme park — offers interactive games, youth football clinics, merchandise from the NFL Shop presented by Visa, player autograph sessions, photos with the Vince Lombardi Trophy and more.
The NFL Experience, which will be held at the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston, will be open to the public Jan. 28-29 and Feb. 1-5.
Here are the hours of operation, with times subject to change:
Jan. 28: 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
Jan. 29: 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
Feb. 1: 3 p.m.-10 p.m.
Feb. 2: 3 p.m.-10 p.m.
Feb. 3: 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
Feb. 4: 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
Feb. 5: 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Religion and football
The Super Bowl Gospel Celebration will be Feb. 3 at Lakewood Church in Houston.
The concert will be hosted by David and Tamela Mann of Mansfield, stars of the hit television show It’s a Mann’s World.
Tickets are $25 and can be purchased on Ticketmaster.
Black Entertainment Television (BET) will be taping live.
Time in between
There’s a two-week gap between the championship games and the Super Bowl.
Smack dab in the middle is the Pro Bowl.
The coaching staffs of the Dallas Cowboys and Kansas City Chiefs will lead the all-stars at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla., at 7 p.m. Jan. 29.
Each conference will be led by two Legends Captains. Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Jerome Bettis and two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year and Super Bowl XXXV MVP Ray Lewis will lead the AFC. All-Pro tight end Tony Gonzalez and former NFL Defensive Player of the Year and All-Pro defensive back Charles Woodson will lead the NFC.
The Cowboys have seven players in the game: quarterback Dak Prescott, running back Ezekiel Elliott, wide receiver Dez Bryant, offensive linemen Tyron Smith, Zack Martin and Travis Frederick, and linebacker Sean Lee.
Keegan-Michael Key, an Emmy-winning actor, writer and creator, host the NFL Honors on Feb. 4 at the Wortham Theater Center in Houston.
The two-hour prime-time awards special, which recognizes the NFL’s best players, performances and plays from the 2016 season, will air nationally at 7 p.m. on FOX.