Houston, Texas, is preparing to host its third Super Bowl this Sunday. The New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons (and thousands of very lucky fans) have descended upon the city for the big game, which will take place at NRG Stadium, home of the Houston Texans.
But why is the event in Houston?
The host city for each Super Bowl is chosen several years ahead of the actual game, and the NFL reportedly has a lengthy list of requirements that stadiums must fulfill to be selected. Among these requirements, according to Sports Illustrated, are the building’s ability to hold at least 70,000 fans, allowing the NFL to install ATMs that favor its preferred cards and, strangely, having at least two “top quality” bowling alleys (and three golf courses) nearby for reservations.
Over 1 million people are expected in Houston this weekend for Super Bowl LI, but not all of them will get in to see the game in person.
In order to host the Super Bowl, a stadium must be able to hold at least 70,000 people. NRG Stadium, which is hosting this Sunday’s big game, can service up to 72,220 fans (though only 71,795 of those fans get seats).
While 72,000 is no small number, Super Bowl LI won’t even come close to cracking the list of the 10 most-attended NFL championships in history.
The New England Patriots are in the Super Bowl. At this point, no one should really be shocked by that anymore.
Super Bowl LI will mark the ninth time the Patriots play in the big game, which is a new NFL record. Seven out of those nine appearances have come under the tutelage of head coach Bill Belichick and were started by his golden quarterback, Tom Brady.
The team suiting up in white this Sunday bears some understandable similarities to the Patriots’ last championship roster, since their most recent Super Bowl victory came just two years ago at Super Bowl XLIX in Arizona. However, these Patriots also bear an uncanny resemblance to a much earlier squad — the Patriots of Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004.