Super Bowl LI is supposed to take place tonight and early projections say it will likely be a game in Houston between the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots. Who wins the coin toss, scores the first touchdown, or throws the first pie at Lady Gaga is at the mercy of your prop bet board. What time does the game start? Well, that’s up to the television gods (it’s 6:30pm ET). What you really care about is remembering Len Dawson blowing up balloons in Super Bowl I and avoiding the same old Tom Brady slash Donald fucking Trump headlines endlessly hoisting themselves into our line of sight ahead of this year’s big game. We’ve pulled out the least overused storylines ahead of Super Bowl 51.
Super Bowl LI Storylines
First up on the quest for normalcy is Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, who was pretty quietly among the top 50 in player sales (No. 30) from March through November of 2016. More notably, however, Luck was snubbed for the Pro Bowl despite 31 touchdowns with 4,240 yards – for 15-touchdown, average-as-shit signal caller Alex Smith. Huh? Blame it on Indy’s pedestrian 8-8 record or the luck of the Amish.
Kirk Cousins Is A Dick
Everyone seems to know this dude’s competitiveness at this point, just listen to him say “DO YOU LIKE THAT?” But Kirk Cousins’ actions at a charity flag football game against Doug Flutie went just a wee bit far. Deadspin naturally gave us beautiful coverage and the victim’s quote.
I’m the official that Cousins shoved. He was fired up because he was losing and running out of time. Then the other team knocked the ball away while I was trying to set it for play. He wanted me to flag him for swatting it, but what he doesn’t know is that we were enforcing another penalty and it was going to give him another down. He never apologized or even showed any kind of regret. That’s ok though … everyone else gets to see how he is.
— Screaming Eagles (@SLScreamEagles) February 5, 2017
Rob and Rex Ryan Back To The Bar
Recently fired by the Buffalo Bills, the Ryan brothers can comfortably escape back to the Big Lebowski confines of Los Angeles bowling alleys with Steve Buscemi.
Now, here are some notable Super Bowl 51 numbers courtesy of NPR.
The number of Super Bowls the Atlanta Falcons have won in the more than 50 years the organization has been around. In fact, it has been nearly two decades since the Falcons even made an appearance in the championship. Back in 1999, Denver Broncos great John Elway was still playing — though he would retire after beating the Falcons for his second, and final, championship ring as a player.
For context, ABC News also helpfully reminds us that the last time the Falcons were in the Super Bowl, fears of Y2K were still a thing.
When coach Bill Belichick and co. step onto the field Sunday night, their organization will be breaking a record: New England has appeared in nine Super Bowls, the most for a single team in NFL history.
They’ve still got a little ways to go before they match the record for most Super Bowls won, however. The Pittsburgh Steelers own those heights, with six wins all-time. Belichick and his future Hall of Fame quarterback, Tom Brady, have appeared in a breathtaking seven Super Bowls together since 2002, so perhaps they’re not as far off as it appears.
But there’s a downside to all of those appearances: If they lose on Sunday, they’ll be tied with the Broncos for most losses in Super Bowl history, at five.
That’s the over/under set by SpotsLine on how many points both teams will score, combined. CBS Sports points out that number is the highest ever for a Super Bowl.
Ladies and gentlemen, strap in: This means we may very well be in for a shootout.
This is a weird one, dredged up by ESPN Stats & Information. It’s the number of games that Patriots running back Dion Lewis has played with the team in the past two seasons. They didn’t lose any of them.
OK, this one may be cheating — but it’s still worth noting.
As you may recall, the NFL had a little fling with good old-fashioned Arabic numerals at the big game last year, dubbing it Super Bowl 50. It was the first time since the NFL began using Roman numerals in 1971 that the league decided to dabble in Arabic digits.
But why, exactly?
Turns out the league wasn’t all that comfortable leaving that L all alone — and they realized that discomfort 10 years earlier.
“When we developed the Super Bowl XL logo, that was the first time we looked at the letter ‘L,’ ” Jaime Weston, the leagues vice president of brand and creative, told ESPN last year. “Up until that point, we had only worked with X’s, V’s and I’s. And, at that moment, that’s when we started to wonder what will happen when we get to 50?”
Add an I, though, and all is well once more with Roman numerals.