Early last year, some friends and I had an idea to travel to Houston, to experience Superbowl 51. One of the group had done similar last year and flew out to San Francisco to check out the atmosphere around Superbowl 50. A repeat sounded like a good idea. By April 2016 the flights and hotels were booked, we were off to Texas.
February finally rolled around and early on a Thursday morning, three of us set off for Heathrow. By the time we reached Houston, it was 10 pm their time and we had all been awake for almost a day. Night number one was made up of the first (of many) trips to Buffalo Wild Wings and a couple of beers and off to bed. It might be worth mentioning at this point that we tried to save as much money as possible on travel and accommodation, which included a stay at ‘Motel6’. It was certainly clear to see that we had not invested in our digs for the week…
Good Morning Football
Friday morning rolled around and I had to get up after less than 5 hours sleep. I had tickets to a live taping of a TV show I watch called Good Morning Football. By 545am I was stood in the dark and cold outside. There were quite a few other loons who certainly put the word fan into fanatic. The show was live from 7 am until 11 am and was excellent. There was a constant flow of NFL glitterati as guest after guest rolled out. By the end of the show, I had a sore throat from all of the cheering. I’d dropped a tweet over to the show ahead of flying out to let them know I was heading over.
At the end of the show when I was just hanging around and the presenters were still there. I managed to catch the eye of Peter (Schrager) who came over to say hello. When he realised that I was “the UK guy” he called some the rest of the team over who all chatted and stopped for photos, it was surreal but pretty cool!
A lot of the rest of Friday was a tiredness driven blur. Our friend who lives in San Francisco flew in and we all met up again at the hotel before heading to the bar. In the evening we had tickets to see the Houston Rockets and Chicago Bulls in the NBA. Jet lag was having its say and I was struggling to stay awake by the time the game reached the 3rd quarter, fortunately, I found a second wind as with a tie at the end of regulation time, we rolled into overtime. It was gone 10 pm when it was all said and done, the locals went home happy after a Houston win and we went….to the bar.
Superbowl 51: Four Brits invade Houston
The plan for Superbowl Sunday was to hang out in a bar all day. I would have loved to go to the game itself. Ticket prices for the Superbowl are extortionate, you can buy a small car for that money! Ahead of flying to Houston, a person I worked with recommended I check out “Lukes Ice House” suggesting that it might be perfect for our needs. We wanted to be sure so decided to head down on Saturday morning for a pre-Superbowl reconnaissance mission.
We arrived around 11 am and 5 hours later, having consumed several buckets of Lone Star beers (only $12 for 5), Lukes was confirmed as our Superbowl venue. You may see a bit of theme developing when I say that our next trip was into Buffalo Wild Wings, where we spent another 4+ hours drinking beer and watching sport. How else are Saturdays meant to be spent?!
The big day finally arrived. To make the most of the Superbowl Sunday experience we decided to head to downtown and check out Superbowl live. Here we found the fan park containing lots of NFL related activities, as well as places to eat…and drink. Having spent a lot of Saturday drinking beer, the first one took a little work to consume but once it was down, the day began in earnest. By the time we arrived at Lukes it was a little after 1 pm, with the game set to begin at 530pm. We were welcomed back and as the day went on and beers went down (plus a few free shots) everyone seemed to be having a good time and the bar started to fill.
Greatest Superbowl of all time?
Now what I don’t want to do, is go into the in’s and out’s of the game itself. To be honest, I’m surprised I remember any of it at all. Superbowl LI has been hailed one of the greatest Superbowls of all time. An incredible comeback by the eventual champions the New England Patriots, who trailed the Atlanta Falcons at halftime by 28-3. If you’re not familiar with NFL, a touchdown is essentially a goal/try etc and you get 6 points for everyone you score (plus opportunities to score points in other ways). So to provide some context, that’s almost the same as your football team losing 4-0 at halftime and coming back to win.
The bar was biased heavily in favour of Patriot fans to Atlanta fans. Unsurprisingly the place was jumping when the game ended. We had been there for around 8-9 hours and yet it still wasn’t even 10 pm. During our time in the bar, we made friends with a Scottish guy who was over to see his friend. They had been drinking all afternoon to so I’m not quite sure how they understood each other. The afterparty was apparently being hosted by this Scottish chap and his buddies in another bar, so off we went.
My trip to Houston for Superbowl 51 was one of the best trips I have ever made. The atmosphere for Superbowl Sunday was incredible, but the whole trip was a great beer and food loaded laugh. We are still speaking about it now several months on, and, have just booked flights and accommodation for Superbowl 52! The tradition has begun. Look out Minneapolis, we’re coming for you.
Superbowl LI will be held at the new indoor US Bank Stadium. The average temperature there at that time of year is -9c. The average high temperature is -4.5c. We’re going to need a coat.