Super Bowl LIII is now in the books, with the New England Patriots having earned their sixth title in nine trips to the ultimate game. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady continued to write and rewrite the record books, with Brady establishing himself as the only player to have six rings, and Belichick tying two all-time greats in George “Papa Bear” Halas and Earl “Curly” Lambeau with six titles as head coach.
Being a native and resident of Atlanta, I was in the midst of the fray as football fans from all walks of life converged upon the city to enjoy the game, and the various events leading up to it. From concerts to the NFL Experience, the options were varied and plentiful, giving one the opportunity to do any number of things. I myself was able to take advantage of an event hosted by DirecTV, which enabled me to meet some of the best the NFL has to offer.
Appearing at this event were wide receiver Calvin Ridley of the Atlanta Falcons, tight end Eric Ebron of the Indianapolis Colts, Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith, and wide receiver Sterling Shepard and safety Landon Collins of the New York Giants. This was a mere fraction of the players both past and present that descended upon Atlanta to take in the festivities preceding the game, as well as the game itself.
While the contest between the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots turned out to be a snoozefest with a final score of 13-3, the events of the past two weeks as build up to the game left visitors and residents alike with quite a magnificent impression. The previous two Super Bowls held here were defined by horrible weather, gridlocked traffic, and tragedy (the murders of two young men after an altercation with Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis and his entourage), thus leaving memories that left a lot to be desired.
In spite of the putrid play, Atlanta put itself on the football map as a destination for the ages for future Super Bowls. The weather was picture perfect, the flow of traffic was masterfully handled by authorities and thanks to the unprecedented police presence, there wasn’t the slightest hint any improprieties to put a damper on things.
Of course, nothing in life is perfect, and Super Bowl LIII was no exception. The cloud of controversy regarding the Colin Kaepernick saga was preeminent. There were protests by many from the music world as the NFL had many artists decline the offer to perform at the halftime show before Maroon 5, Travis Scott and rap artist/Atlantan, Big Boi of Outkast agreed to appear. Gladys Knight, another native Atlantan, faced backlash after she agreed to perform the national anthem. While this didn’t bring things to a halt, it definitely was noticeable and made an impact.
Now that Super Bowl LIII is in the books, the 2018 season has come to a close, with a familiar ending . . . the New England Patriots celebrating yet another championship victory. The 2019 season will be upon us before you know it, as OTA’s are right around the corner, as they commence on tax day, April 15. With that, we bid this past season adieu.
Congratulations to the New England Patriots, to the victor goes the spoils.