Super Bowl 51

Darlena York, Guest Writer

The biggest Sunday is sports is finally here! It’s Super Bowl Sunday which means there will be tailgates, drinking, salty snacks, and the infamous commercials. The two teams in the game were unexpectedly matched.  The New England Patriots, with their 6th Super Bowl appearance, weren’t expected to do as well as they did.  In the beginning of the season, Tom Brady was suspended for the first four games of the season.  To surprise, the second string quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, carried the team a 3-1 record before the star QB stepped back into the limelight.  The Patriots would go on to only lose one more game and move on to Super Bowl 51.

The Atlanta Falcons, on the other hand, were not initially picked to be as successful as they were.  Analysts doubted QB Matt Ryan, who won league MVP for the 2016-17 regular season. The Falcons put on a spectacular end-of-the-season run with a six game winning streak.

There are mixed emotions about the victor for the biggest stage in sports.  Analyst Jeffri Chadiha predicts that the Patriots will win 31-27.  The question is why? Why underestimate the league MVP and his team?  Chadiha says “That explosiveness and New England’s experience on this stage will be problematic for the Falcons”.  The Patriots certainly have the upper hand with experience under the big lights, but the Falcons have something the Patriots don’t.  Shaun O’Hara disagrees with Chadiha saying a bold statement.  He believes the Falcons will prevail 27-24 because they won’t turn the ball over.  To do so, Tevin Campbell will have to play an almost perfect game to avoid disappointment.  Dan Hanzus says predicts that Tom Brady and Matt Ryan will set records for combined passing yards, but Matt Ryan will surpass Brady in a 34-30 victory.  For the most part, the majority of the football community believes the Patriots will prevail.

The NFC Championship game was a huge confidence builder for the Falcons.  They faced the hottest team in the NFL at the time – Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.  Aaron Rodgers was putting up career numbers with unbelievable throws.  Many thought the Falcons would fall short again, but it was the complete opposite.  Ryan had 392 yards, 4 touchdowns, and no interceptions to dominate the Packers.  Was this game a preface for the showdown on Sunday? Will Ryan perform the same or will he have stage fright like Cam Newton and Panthers? Only time will tell.

The Patriots also had a dominating game for their AFC Championship game. With 374 passing yards, Brady led the team to a 36-17 blowout win.  Patriots always put up a show under the big lights.  Their last Super Bowl appearance was against the Seattle Seahawks and they certainly left a little to be desired.

If you’re not a football fan and you’re one of the people that sit on the couch asking “What just happened?” then you can look forward to ever so funny commercials.  The base line for a primetime spot is $4.5 million, so you can imagine that the company would want the most memorable commercial.  Among the most popular would be the Doritos commercials, Go Daddy, and the child who thought he could control a car because he thought he was Darth Vader.  It’s always interesting to see what new and creative things companies come up with to sell their brand.  You’ll always see a “Best and Worst” commercial comparison the day after the big game.

Another huge aspect for people who aren’t that into the actual game is the Pepsi Halftime Show.  In the past, Beyoncé and Bruno Mars headlined the show, and they certainly delivered.  Beyoncé performed her popular song “Formation” and announced her record breaking world tour.  Then, Bruno Mars sang his popular collaboration “Uptown Funk.”  Both artists had performed under the lights as solo artists in the past.  They were such a hit, that they were brought back and they definitely brought the stadium to its feet.  This year’s performer is someone who is edgy and pushes the envelope.  Her unique flare is expected to bring something new and innovative; as well as a musical tribute to Prince.  I expect big things from Lady Gaga on Sunday.

So if you’re a football fanatic, then the greatest sports championship stage is set for primetime.  Will it be the Falcons or the Patriots? And if you’re not a fan, then you always have the witty commercials and the mind blowing halftime show.