What You Need To Know About Super Bowl LI
Super Bowl Sunday is always a monumental sporting occasion, even though the majority of us across the pond have no idea what’s actually happening on the pitch.
This year will see the New England Patriots – that's the team Tom Brady plays for – take on the Atlanta Falcons, and it's going to be a belter, apparently. So, if you’re absolutely clueless about the NFL, read on, and come Sunday, you might just find yourself a new favourite sport. And even if you don't, at least you'll know what's going on.
How Do Teams Make It To The Super Bowl?
Unlike actual football, American Football is riddled with complicated rules, leagues, stoppages and even more rules, but here’s the whistle-stop run through of how teams reach the Super Bowl final. Based on where your team is, you’ll either play in the NFC or the AFC, and these are again broken down into North, West, South and East divisions. Each team will then play each other in their division, home and away, with the top two (and wildcard but let's not get into that) qualifying for the play-offs. The winner of those games will reach the Super Bowl. Still with us? If your team is fortunate enough to reach the final you’ll have battled through a total of 18 games since September. Sounds easy enough, right?
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How Did Both Teams Do This Season?
The Falcons have done extremely well to make it to this year’s finals having ended their 18-year Super Bowl drought, but they are yet to have ever lifted the highly coveted trophy. Finishing the season with an 11-5 record, they secured their play-off spot by finishing second. Their attack racked up a remarkable 540 points in the regular season, which is tied with the seventh most in NFL history. Their defensive record, however, left little to be desired as they dropped a staggering 406 points.
For the Patriots, this season followed an all too familiar suit. Ending the season with an impressive 14-2 record, they became the first team to have originated from the American Football League to reach 500 franchise wins. This is a good thing.
Even if you’re not an avid NFL fan, the ‘DeflateGate’ scandal will certainly ring several bells. The NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, was the face of the infamous ball-tampering incident back in 2015, which saw Patriots QB, Tom Brady, face a four game ban for his alleged involvement. As Goodell upheld the suspension, it’s safe to say that handing the trophy to Brady if the Patriots win might be a tad awkward to say the least. This wasn't the first time people have been talking about Brady, though. The much-lauded 39-year-old QB has played 14 seasons a starter for the Patriots, helping them earn seven trips to the Super Bowl — itself a world record — leading on to four Super Bowl wins.
Did You Know?
One significant downside about American Football is having to sit through the colossal amount of stoppages and breaks. Even cricket fans find it tedious. Fortunately, the Super Bowl provides an excellent opportunity for companies to spend millions in order to get their adverts shown on the most watched sporting event in the world. Last year over 160 million people tuned in to see the Denver Broncos thrashCam Newton'sCarolina Panthers. This year is no different and companies will have to fork out an astonishing .2m (£4.7m) for the privilege of showing a 30 second commercial. That’s an extra ,000 compared with last year.
Oh, and Lady Gaga is performing the half-time show. She also wants to sing on the roof.
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