The Super Bowl brings in millions of viewers each year, including many first time viewers in the UK, with the 51st instalment set to be the biggest yet.
Super Bowl LI kicks off at 11.30pm UK-time on Sunday (February 5) with the coveted NFL season finale featuring potent offenses, the potential to break multiple records and a Lady Gaga halftime show.
With a number of sold-out games in London every year and a growing fanbase across the UK, NFL across the pond has never been more popular.
A quick guide to everything you need to know about Super Bowl LI
When: 11:30pm on Sunday January 5
Who: Atlanta Falcons v New England Patriots
Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas
How to watch on TV: BBC and Sky Sports
Halftime show: Lady Gaga
For many, the Super Bowl may be the first NFL game they’ve ever seen. Even if it isn’t, American football can be a complicated game so here’s a rundown of some of the basics.
While American football is often compared to rugby, the style of play and ways of moving the ball are very different.
When a team has the ball on offense, they have four plays to gain ten yards. These are called ‘downs.’ Between each play, the ball is replaced towards the middle of the field.
If a team gains ten yards or more, a new set of ‘downs’ begins so the team gets four attempts again.
If you don’t gain ten yards in four plays, the other team gets the ball at that location. Because of this, it’s common practice to reserve fourth downs for kicking the ball either to the other team or trying to kick it through the goal posts for three points.
Teams can advance the ball by passing, usually thrown by the quarterback, or running the ball. Only one player can pass it forward during any individual play.
This Sunday’s game features two of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, Tom Brady and Matt Ryan.
Teams can score by either kicking the ball through goal posts for three points or scoring a touchdown for six.
A touchdown is similar to a try in rugby where a team can then kick in an extra point for a total of seven points.
Generally, teams drive down the field on a series of plays but many drives don’t end in points. Both offenses on Sunday are near the top of the league so there should be plenty of points scored.
Timing of the game
A game of American football is split into four, fifteen minute quarters. These take much longer than fifteen minutes though because the clock stops after passes that hit the ground, and if a player with the ball goes out of bounds.
American football can be very stop and start. Between plays, players speak with coaches and teammates to coordinate their plays. A benefit of this is teams having better strategies but it can be jarring to fans used to rugby or football.
The Super Bowl draws in millions of viewers every year so the commercial breaks and half time show are longer. This year the half time show features Lady Gaga.
Who is playing?
The game features the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots.
While the Patriots have been in seven Super Bowls since 2002, the Falcons haven’t been in one since 1998.
The Patriots are a perennial contender, having been to eleven AFC Championship (NFL semi-final) games and winning four Super Bowl titles in the past 14 years.
They are led by head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady, both of whom are considered by many to be future Hall of Famers of the sport.
Statistically, they feature a top ten quarterback in Brady and a top ten running back in LeGarrette Blount.
Blount led the NFL with 18 rushing touchdowns in the regular season.
In the playoffs, the Patriots receiver Chris Hogan has averaged a playoff best 137.5 receiving yards per game.
Viewers can expect to see a high scoring match between two of the league’s best offenses because as high as the Patriots are ranked offensively, the Falcons are ranked even higher.
The Falcons offense leads the league with 540 points, 71 more points than their closest competition and 99 more points than the Patriots.
Atlanta’s offense is led by quarterback Matt Ryan who had 38 passing touchdowns in the season, good for second best in the league.
They also have a top tier receiver in Julio Jones who was second in the league in yards as well as running back Devonta Freeman who is a threat both running the ball and catching the ball out of the backfield.
On the defensive side of the ball, both teams will have to be opportunistic and make big plays. Chances are that neither defense will shut down their opponent completely but a forced turnover or a timely series of stops could decide the game.
This matchups looks to be a solid Super Bowl that will be entertaining to both new and old fans of the game.
Where to watch the game in Nottingham
For fans in Nottingham, multiple venues are staying open late for the big event.
The game is played in America and with that comes an American viewer friendly kickoff time, 6:30pm EST (11:30 GMT).
If viewers in the UK want to watch the game in a bar or pub, they’ll have to find a location that not only has the game on but is going to be open until around 4am. Here are a few places that are showing the Super Bowl around Nottingham.
Das Kino has an offer that lets you watch the game and have unlimited wings for £20.
Annie’s Burger Shack has four screens showing the game. The Nottingham Caesars, a local senior ball American football team, watch the game at Annie’s so there are many fans who know and love the game there. They also have a Super Bowl burger topped with tortilla chips, chili, jalepenos nacho cheese sauce. With tables already booked, expect standing room only.
Rescue Rooms has an event with American themed food and drinks, raffles and competitions, and deals on pitchers of drinks. Entry is free for bar viewing. VIP tickets are for sale which include a table, two pitchers of drinks, and Fireball whiskey.
Hooters is packed with viewers of the Super Bowl every year but tables are booked full for this weekend’s game. Tables were fully booked by October, three months before the event.
The University of Nottingham American Football Club has an event based at the Marcus Garvey Centre in Lenton. There’s a large screen to view the game as well as food and drink.
The Nottingham Trent University Student Union is hosting an event with food and drink to watch the big game as well.
Yates is staying open through the game as well so fans can go there to watch the game.
How to watch on TV
If you prefer to watch the game at home or to have a Super Bowl party, the game is broadcast in the UK on both Sky Sports and BBC One.