HOUSTON, Texas - Two teams. One game. It all comes down to this.
On Sunday, February 5, the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons will meet in Super Bowl LI (6:30 PM ET) at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.
“It’s an honor to get to go and play in this game,” says Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman, who is the franchise postseason leader in both catches (84) and receiving yards (937). “This is what you fight for. This is what you train for. It’s to get an opportunity to play in this game.”
Super Bowl LI will feature the NFL’s top-scoring team – Atlanta (540 points, 33.8 points per game) – against the club which allowed the fewest points in the league – New England (250 points, 15.6 points per game). It marks the sixth time since the 1970 merger that the Super Bowl showcases the team that led the NFL in scoring against the club that allowed the fewest points.
“This is a really special team,” says Falcons fullback Patrick Di Marco. “We have so many playmakers on offense, defense and special teams. This is a special time for this organization. I am super proud and super excited we are going to be playing in Houston. The ultimate goal is to win the Super Bowl – not just get there – and we still have a game ahead of us. We still have one more game to win.”
New England advanced to its NFL-record ninth Super Bowl by defeating Pittsburgh 36-17. Atlanta defeated Green Bay 44-21 to earn its second ever trip to the Super Bowl.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady will be making their seventh Super Bowl appearance together, the most NFL title games for any head coach and starting quarterback duo in league history. Belichick and Brady have won four Super Bowls together, tied with Pittsburgh head coach Chuck Noll and quarterback Terry Bradshaw for the most by a head coach and starting quarterback combination.
“I’m proud of this team,” says Belichick. “They all deserve this. It’s a good, hard-working group.”
Belichick is tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer Noll for the most Super Bowl victories by a head coach with four. Brady, who is making his NFL-record seventh career Super Bowl start, is tied with Pro Football Hall of Famers Bradshaw and Joe Montana for the most Super Bowl wins by a starting quarterback with four.
“You never know if you’ll get these opportunities in life and fortunately this team has got the opportunity,” says Brady about advancing to the Super Bowl. “Now we’ve got to do something and go try and take advantage of it.”
Brady and Montana are the only players in NFL history to be named Super Bowl MVP three times. Brady, who was the MVP of Super Bowls XXXVI, XXXVIII and XLIX, can become the first player ever to win Super Bowl MVP honors four times.
Atlanta, which led the NFL with 540 points scored, has won six consecutive games and is averaging 39.0 points per game over that span. The Falcons are the first team ever to advance to the Super Bowl by scoring at least 30 points in each of the club’s previous six games.
“I’m happy for everybody in our organization,” says Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. “We’ve worked hard to get to this point but the challenge is still in front of us. What we set out to accomplish is still in front of us. It’s really difficult to get to this point, and we will enjoy the process leading into it, but our ultimate goal is still in front of us.”
Falcons head coach Dan Quinn, who is in his second year with the team, will be making his third Super Bowl appearance in the past four seasons. Quinn was Seattle’s defensive coordinator in Super Bowls XLVIII (2013 season) and XLIX (2014).
“I am excited for the opportunity, but more importantly, I’m excited for these players,” says Quinn. “It’ll be a great challenge.”
Atlanta quarterback Ryan, who led the league with a franchise-record 117.1 passer rating, has continued his stellar play in the postseason with a 132.6 passer rating. Over the team’s six-game winning streak, Ryan has thrown 18 touchdown passes and no interceptions for a 133.3 passer rating.