Five reasons why Super Bowl LI could be greatest

NFL fans (and casual commercial observers) have witnessed some brilliant Super Bowls over the past decade after an era that was populated by blowouts. Broncos-Panthers in Super Bowl 50 last February didn’t feel close but Carolina trailed by only 6 late in the game. Patriots-Seahawks in XLIX was an highest classic, there was the Ravens-49ers “Blackout Bowl” spectacle in XLVII, the Steelers-Cardinals thriller in XLIII and of course both Giants-Patriots battles.

1. POINTS, POINTS, POINTS

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady throws a touchdown pass.

If you like a defensive slog and punting, this isn’t your Super Bowl. If you prefer big plays, completions and drives up and down the field, you will probably be quite pleased with this game. Per Vegas sports books, the over/under is currently hovering around 58.5 and should close right about there, which would make it the highest total in Super Bowl history.

2. PATRIOTS KEEP IT CLOSE IN SUPER BOWLS

The Patriots have kept it close.

The collective margin of victory (with the Patriots as winners or losers) in the previous six New England Super Bowls in the Brady-Bill Belichick era is just 20 — combined. The first four were decided by exactly three apiece and the most recent two saw them fall by four then win by four. The spread for this game is Patriots by 3. History and Atlanta’s ability to rack up points tells us the game should come down to the wire.

3. LACK OF R-E-S-P-E-C-T

New England Patriots players take a selfie during a walk through at NRG Stadium.

New England Patriots players take a selfie during a walk through at NRG Stadium.Source:AP

Like late, great comedian Rodney Dangerfield, the Falcons are getting somewhere between no respect and little respect. Longtime Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy wrote a column titled “It’s hard to get pumped up about a Super Bowl against … Atlanta.”

As if New England’s fans deserve a more exciting adversary, because being in the Super Bowl is not reward enough. “When it comes to Atlanta and its sports fans, we feel nothing” he writes. “Maybe a little pity.”

Atlanta has heard from many sides that it’s a bad sports town. Meanwhile FOX Sports’ own Skip Bayless argued that the Super Bowl would be better with Dallas in it. “The truth is, the Atlanta Falcons are pretty boring as a football team” he said. “All told, they’re boring. They’re not Jerry Jones and the Cowboys.

4. BRADY AND BELICHICK CAN PLANT THEIR FLAGS AS BEST

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, left, celebrates with head coach Bill Belichick.

Joe Montana also has four wins as a starting QB (different coaches) and Charles Haley has the most rings as a player (two with San Francisco, three with Dallas), meanwhile Belichick actually has six rings total thanks to the pair he won with the Giants as a defensive co-ordinator in XXI and XXV). But with a win, Brady-Belichick tandem`will stand alone as the winningest QB-coach combo of all time.

5. LADY GAGA AT HALFTIME

Lady Gaga headlines the halftime show.

Love or hate her — and there’s a lot in both camps — the queen of the meat dress has some incredible pipes and will put on a good show. Can she crack the list of greatest halftime show performances of all time with Michael Jackson, Prince and Katy Perry’s “Left Shark?” I wouldn’t bet against it.

 

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