Super Bowl 51 is now set! One team has become a Super Bowl mainstay while the other has only made one other appearance on professional sports biggest stage. Sunday February 5th the New England Patriots will face the Atlanta Falcons at NRG Stadium for the grandest prize of them all, the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
The Patriots started the season without Tom Brady who was suspended for 4 games in connection with the now infamous "Deflate Gate" but the team never missed a beat going 3-1 in his absence and when the "Great One" returned the team went on an 13-1 run that includes convincing postseason victories over the Houston Texans and Pittsburgh Steelers. The Patriots will be making their 9th franchise Super Bowl appearance and are in search of their 5th Lombardi Trophy, titles that have all been won in the Bill Belichick/Tom Brady era.
Meanwhile, for the Atlanta Falcons it's been a long time since fans were running around
doing the "Dirty Bird" the endzone dance popularized by former Atlanta RB Jamal Anderson during the team's first Super Bowl run in the 1998-1999 season. The names, ownership, and team philosophies have all changed since the Falcons's last appearance on the grandest stage of them all. Since purchasing the Falcons in 2002, Arthur Blank, the team's owner has done everything possible to put a championship team on the field and under his leadership the franchise has made several appearances in the NFC Championship but came up short twice losing to the Eagles 27-10 in 2005 and again to the 49ers 28-24 in 2013. After finishing the 2015-2016 season with a record of 8-8 no one could have predicted that this Falcons team was equipped to win the NFC let alone make it to Super Bowl 51 but they proved everyone wrong on their way to an impressive regular season record of 11-5 and two dominant playoff victories over the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers.
In the coming days sportsnewsandbrews.com will give you up close, in-depth coverage of the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons leading up to Super Bowl 51.