When Super Bowl Comes to Town

Houston will host Super Bowl LI on February 5, 2017. Here’s what Houston families need to know to make the most of the event.

By Sylvia Ney

It’s a new year, with a whole new ball game heading your way–Super Bowl LI will be held at NRG Stadium on February 5, 2017. It can also be viewed on FOX. While it’s exciting to play host to one of the nation’s favorite pastimes, it can also leave a city in confusion and desperation. Make your preparations now to make this year’s ‘Super Bowl an enjoyable and safe time for the whole family.


SB of the Future in the City of the Future

NRG stadium has around 72,000 seats, but thousands more are expected to crowd in, and millions will be watching from home. The game isn’t the only event pulling fans into town. Lady Gaga will be performing the halftime show.

The big event is more than just a few hours of playing on a field, or even a day of tailgating. Months of preparation lead up to a whole week of celebration. As part of the 100 days leading up to the game, you may have noticed METRO busses decked out with advertisements for the big event.

“The world will be coming to Houston,” Houston City Councilman Dwight Boykins told the crowd at the unveiling. “And when they come they will ride METRO.”

The Houston Super Bowl Host Committee has announced a “WOW” factor that starts January 28. “Future Flight” features a virtual reality experience of flying to Mars and beyond. There will also be numerous hands-on exhibits all located at Super Bowl LIVE. The free event will be held in and around Discovery Green in downtown Houston and will feature music, games and other attractions.

“The Host Committee has declared Super Bowl LI as the Super Bowl of the future in the City of the Future,” said Sallie Sargent, president and CEO of the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee. “Nothing says future more than deep space travel. The Host Committee is thrilled to partner with NASA and the leading space industry companies to create the Future Flight Experience for people to enjoy during Super Bowl LIVE.”


Events Around Town

If you’re not able to attend the Super Bowl–or if you just want to milk the most out of the event’s taking place in your hometown–Houston city officials have lots in store for you. There are two more stops in the “Touchdown Tour.” These free events were designed to bring the excitement of the Super Bowl to areas around town and will feature: interactive games, a Houston Texans mobile locker room, special photo booths, giveaways, music and more. Food and beverage will be available for purchase.

“Not everyone will be able to be in the seats at NRG Stadium on game day, but that should not mean they don’t get to experience the fun.” said Mayor Sylvester Turner.

The two “Touchdown Tour” stops this month include January 7 at Burnett Bayland Park and January 14 at Alief Community Park. Both events are scheduled to be open 10 am to 2 pm.

Houston and surrounding areas intend to meet the demands placed on a host city. Parties, concerts, museum exhibits, kids interactive displays, celebrity flag football games, and food festivals all connected and leading up to SB51 are being planned. To learn more about them, you can check https://www.visithoustontexas.com/ and listen to local news.


Preparing for the Big Game

Whether you’re tuning into the game or sitting in the stands, a little prep goes a long way when Super Bowl comes to town. Any good weather man will tell you a weather report more than a week away is not very reliable. So keep watching as the time draws near and adjust your plans accordingly.

Stock up on canned food, water, toiletries, first aid kit, flashlight, etc. Make sure you have enough provisions to make it for at least 72 hours. While this may sound like disaster readiness, the congestion caused by playing host to a Super Bowl can amount to the same thing. It’s not unheard of for streets to be closed down for safety so stay tuned to local news stations.

If you’re hosting a group of friends at your home, shop ahead of time for food with a variety of snacks, goodies, and more substantial dishes. You’d be surprised how quickly grocery stores run out of popular munchies.

Be sure you have access to at least one electronic device. We’ve all heard the horror stories of the tv that fumbles mid game. Whether you’re hosting or attending a SB party, or even just watching at home, you can tune into almost any device to watch the game, including Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, Xbox One, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, iPads, and Android tablets.


SB Challenges for Kids

Consider having the kids exercise their minds while they’re watching the players exercise their bodies. These interactive games are a fun way to keep the family engaged on game day while reinforcing educational concepts:

Geography: Where do the two teams call home? Ask your child to find these places on a map. Take this activity up a notch by asking them to find the distance between the two cities and the distance each team must travel to get to Houston.

Literacy: Encourage your child to come up with ways to describe the game by turning off the sound for 5 minutes. Then you and your child can take over as commentators and keep the “viewers” informed about what’s happening on the field.

History: The first Super Bowl was played January 15, 1967. Ask your child to research other important events that took place in 1967. Who was President? Who won Super Bowl I?

Math: While you’re watching the big game, one way to challenge your children is to ask questions about the various ways each team can win the game. Your kids probably won’t even realize they are doing algebra (until you tell them). Here’s an example:

  • It’s the 4th Quarter.
  • Team A has 30 points (3 touchdowns with extra points & 3 field goals).
  • Team B has 23 points (2 touchdowns with extra points & 3 field goals).
  • What are the various ways Team B can come back and take the lead in the game?

Science: Science plays a big role in every sport, and football is no exception. Take some time today or over the weekends leading up to the game to watch one or more of “The Science of the NFL” videos as a family to learn how physics, nutrition, and Newton’s 3 Laws of Motion make the Super Bowl possible.

For more information on Super Bowl LI in Houston, visit www.housuperbowl.com.