By Taylor Lee
HAMPTON, Virginia -- The Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots go head to head Sunday at
Super Bowl LI in Houston, at 6:30 p.m. EST on Fox.
At Hampton University here, a contingent of Atlanta-area students said they are thrilled that their NFC champion Falcons will play for the ultimate prize.
"It's really a great feeling to see the Falcons finally going to the Super Bowl in my lifetime," said Carlton Griffin, a journalism major/cinema studies minor from Ellenwood, Georgia. "I've been a fan since I was born and it's been a tough ride being a Falcons fan.
"My birthday is Sunday, so a Super Bowl win would be the best present I could ask for."
Fans such as Kaelyn Lowe, a sophomore journalism major/leadership studies minor from Stone Mountain, Georgia, have pre game rituals when cheering on their favorite teams and specific ways they enjoy watching football games.
"I can't believe I forgot my Falcons jersey at home," she said. "I wear it every game.
"I still think my Falcons will go all the way!"
"It's really a great feeling to see the Falcons finally going to the Super Bowl in my lifetime," said Jeffrey Lowe, an electrical engineering major from Stone Mountain, Georgia. "I've been a fan since I was born and it's been a tough ride being a Falcons fan. It always seems like they'd get your hopes up and then find some way to disappoint you. A win in the Super Bowl would mean so much for the city and the real fans.
"I'll be watching with some friends. Anybody who has the Patriots winning might just lose their money."
This is Super Bowl specifically monumental for the Falcons and their fans because it has been almost 15 years since the team went to the big game. Atlanta Mayor Kassim Reed Friday signed an order that allows bars in the city to stay open until 3 a.m. Sunday night through Monday before dawn.
As for the Patriots, New England has gone to the Super Bowl eight times and have been victorious four times. Bill Belichick is a highly respected coach in the National Football League.
Hampton students from the East Coast who are Patriots fans said they were confident.
"I mean come on, Tom Brady is the No. 1 quarterback in the NFL right now there is no way we aren't going to Disney,' said Marshall Gordon, a freshman business management major from Reston, Virginia. "I don't think it will be a blowout for the Falcons or Patriots, but the Patriots have the upper hand with our amazing offense."
Zachary Bragg (photo right), a sophomore journalism major/sports management minor From Roselle, New Jersey, said "I'm going to watch the game in my dorm room.
"That way when I comment and talk trash on every play, I won't disturb anyone."
This game will be watched by millions of people all around the world, and only one team will become champions.
Whether you are a Falcons fan, Patriots fan, or just there for the food, drink and commercials, the Super Bowl is a big deal.
For those who have nowhere to go but just want to be around other students, the Hampton U. Student Government Association is hosting a Super Bowl watch party inside the Student Center Ballroom at 6 p.m.
The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.