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Super Bowl security: From protests to prostitution, authorities are ready

Fans headed to the Super Bowl should expect to see strict security measures and a flood of law enforcement personnel, but the measures they don’t see are just as important.

>> Read more trending stories 

“We hope you don’t see us this week,” Perrye K. Turner, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Houston division, said during a joint news conference with local and federal officials. “But have no doubt we are there. Protecting our city is a partnership.”

More than 40 agencies are coordinating on security, and officials from various agencies repeated that there’s “no known credible threat” looming as the game nears.

“All eyes around the world will be on this event, so we’ve got to make sure we’re prepared,” said Chip Fulghum, the Department of Homeland Security’s acting undersecretary for management. “We’re prepared. As Vince Lombardi said, if we work together, we will win, and that’s what we’re doing.”

>> For complete coverage of Super Bowl LI, click here   

Fans won’t be able to tailgate outside the stadium before the Super Bowl and should expect security measures that are probably familiar to those who attend NFL games. No book bags, briefcases, coolers or large purses will be allowed. Women can bring in small clutch bags about the size of a hand. Prepare to go through a metal detector and a security pat-down.

“Security is always our top priority. We look to balance that with minimal inconvenience to fans,” Fulghum said. “We have visible security and behind-the-scenes security as well.”

The Houston Police Department serves as the lead agency in coordinating security efforts. Chief Art Acevedo said he gives security preparation an A-minus, only because there’s always room for improvement. There have already have been some Super Bowl-related arrests: some petty theft cases, pickpocket, a case of public intoxication and a man who tried to get in without proper ticketing, which turned out to be a mental health issue.

“We’ve made six trademark counterfeiting arrests ... that led to the seizure of 10,000 items with a retail value of $500,00,” he said. “We’re not going to let people steal intellectual properties.”

His department is focused on the issue of human trafficking. Arrests made for solicitation have already freed three women who said they were forced into prostitution, he said.

The police department, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office and federal authorities also are mindful of the large protests that have sprung up around the country in opposition to President Donald Trump’s recent executive order on immigration and refugee resettlement. With all eyes on Houston on Sunday, it’s a good bet that demonstrators might seek to capitalize on the prominent event to elevate their message.

Acevedo said his department has a good relationship with local activists and is used to handling large protest uprisings. He warned people bent on destruction who might seek to infiltrate community protests that they will be outnumbered by activists, who don’t want their message hijacked by a few rogue elements with mayhem in mind.

Former Washington, D.C., Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier, who is now head of security for the National Football League, reminded fans to be vigilant, report anything suspicious and not to trust ticket scalpers.

“Buyer beware,” she said. “If you’re buying from a third party, you don’t know what you’re getting. Every year we have some very heartbroken fans.”

How much do Americans eat on Super Bowl Sunday?

Falcons and Patriots fans around the country are hoping their team will devour the other on Sunday, and at the same time, they'll be devouring a lot of food as they cheer them on.

>> Read more trending stories  

Beer will flow and chicken wings and pizza slices will be consumed in large amounts in the city and around the country, as fans hope for their team's championship win. You could say eating a lot of food is something of a sacred ritual during the big game.

>>For complete coverage of Super Bowl LI, click here   

Americans eat tons of food during the big game. In a 2015 study, researchers from Cornell University found that Americans purchased the highest calorie food the week before the Super Bowl, at a whopping 6,000 calories per serving.

Americans will eat more than 1.3 billion chicken wings at Super Bowl LI

A projected 1.33 billion chickens wings will be consumed on game day, according to data from the National Chicken Council. That's an average of four wings per American. That amount of chicken also weighs about 338 times more than the combined weight of all 32 NFL teams.

Nearly 30 million slices of pizza from Pizza Hut and Domino's alone

Americans will eat more than 28 million pizza slices from just two of the country's biggest pizza chains, according to data from the National Restaurant Association. Add in all the local mom and pop joints as well as other national chains ... and you can try and do the math.

More than 325 million gallons of beer

That's more than a gallon of beer for every single American citizen, according to a 2014 study from the Stevens Institute of Technology. 

9,200 tons of chips 

The Snack Food Association has estimated that Americans eat some 11.2 million pounds of potato chips and 8.2 million pounds of tortilla chips, totaling nearly 20 million pounds. That's about the same weight as 3,400 large SUVs or trucks.

3 million pounds of nuts

That's 1,500 tons or enough to make around a million 12-ounce jars of peanut butter.

So, as you're consuming your calories during the big game, be conscious, but also know that you're definitely not the only one.

Super Bowl 2017: 6 stats from Falcons-Patriots matchup

The Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots will play in Super Bowl LI, which Vegas oddsmakers are already predicting to be among the highest scoring on record.

>> Read more trending stories  

Fueling those predictions are the results of Sunday’s 44-21 NFC Championship win by the Falcons over the Green Bay Packers at the Georgia Dome and the Patriots’ 36-17 win over Pittsburgh in the AFC Championship.

Here are six amazing feats to emerge from those outcomes:

NFC South is king

The Falcons' berth in Super Bowl LI means every team from the NFC South has reached a Super Bowl, becoming the only division - since the league realigned in 2002 - to do so. The New Orleans Saints (2010) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2002) were crowned champs. The Carolina Panthers reached the Super Bowl in the 2015 season.

The #Falcons are going to Super Bowl 51! pic.twitter.com/Oz0mK9JPFl— NFL Stats (@NFL_Stats) January 22, 2017

Tom Brady is a ‘Super’ guy

New England's Tom Brady will extend his NFL record for Super Bowl starts by a quarterback to seven. As a starter for 16 seasons, Brady has reached the Super Bowl 47 percent of the time.

Tom Brady. Wow. pic.twitter.com/avds305Ooj— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 23, 2017

Ryan just scored again

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan will be making his first Super Bowl in his ninth season. He is the first NFL quarterback to throw at least three touchdown passes in four straight postseason (2012 and 2016) games.

On the big stage, @M_Ryan02 had poise.And he lifted the @AtlantaFalcons to #SB51: https://t.co/xUG9M5NnRX (Via @MikeSilver) pic.twitter.com/W38eBkpeLN— NFL (@NFL) January 23, 2017

Power couple

Entering their seventh Super Bowl together, coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady have won 24 postseason games together - an NFL record.

Tom Brady and Bill Belichick head to their seventh Super Bowl, something no coach or player has ever done https://t.co/z4EqiA6kZR— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) January 23, 2017

The unsung hero

Chris Hogan set a record for receiving yards by an undrafted player in a playoff game - 180 yards against the Pittsburgh Steelers. In one game he surpassed his entire production at Monmouth, where he played one season catching 12 passes for 147 yards.

Chris Hogan played 3 years of lacrosse at Penn St, 1 year of football at Monmouth, undrafted. Story never gets old. pic.twitter.com/DTPxkzHmLn— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) January 23, 2017

Julio, the jet

Julio Jones finished the game NFC Championship Game against the Green Bay Packers two yards shy of his own franchise postseason record of 182 yards, set in 2012 against the San Francisco 49ers. Jones, however, becomes the first player in the Super Bowl era with two games of 150 yards and two touchdowns in conference title games.

Furthermore, Jones is now one of three players with multiple postseason games of 180 receiving yards. Hall of Famers Fred Biletnikoff and Jerry Rice are the other.

#JetJoneshas taken off!GB 0 | ATL 31#GBvsATL https://t.co/dfp4NT656c— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) January 22, 2017

Super Bowl 2017: What time, what channel, live stream; Lady Gaga at halftime

Everything about it is super – the teams, the atmosphere, the price for tickets.

This Super Bowl – officially Super Bowl LI (51) – features a veteran championship team and a rising star team, a new set of viral commercials and a halftime performance by a pop icon.

As for all the other details, here’s what you need to know about this year’s game.   

>>Complete Super Bowl LI content

AJC Super Bowl coverage | WSBTV.com Super Bowl coverage | Fox25Boston.com Super Bowl coverage | Statesman Super Bowl coverage

Who is playing?

The New England Patriots, the AFC champions, will take on the Atlanta Falcons the NFC champions.

Where is Super Bowl LI being played?

Super Bowl LI will be played at the NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.

When is the game?

Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017

What time does the game start?

The game is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. ET.

 What about the pre-game show?

It is set to start at 11 a.m. ET on Fox. The coverage will include a sit-down interview with President Donald Trump. Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly will conduct the interview, and, according to Fox, it should air around 4 p.m. ET. 

What channel is it on; is there a live stream?

The game will be broadcast on Fox. To watch it online, go to Fox Sports Go.

Who are the announcers:

Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews and Chris Myers  

What’s the line?

New England opened as a 3-point favorite over Atlanta.

How much do the ads cost?

A 30-second commercial for Super Bowl LI costs $5 million, according to Variety, $166,666 per second. A 30-second ad for the first Super Bowl in 1967 cost $42,000, or $1,400 per second.

How much do tickets cost?

The least expensive ticket on Ticketmaster is $5,000. That ticket is for an end-zone seat – one end-zone seat. The most expensive ticket is $11,994. That’s a sideline seat.

Who is staring in the halftime show?

 Lady Gaga will star in the halftime show.

Cool things

Fox will offer a "Be the Player" feature, Intel technology that allows viewers "to get inside the helmet of any player on the field.” Thirty-eight Ultra High Definition cameras will be placed around the perimeter of the field to allow producers to replicate a player’s perspective for the home viewing audience.

Fox will use a total of 70 cameras during the game, including 24 cameras installed in the end-zone pylons.

Arthur Blank to send all Falcons employees to Super Bowl

Atlanta Falcons franchise owner Arthur Blank plans to take all of the team's employees to Houston for the Super Bowl. The team employs about 500 people.

>> Read more trending stories  

No further details of Blank's plans were available on Monday, the day after the Falcons beat the Packers for the NFC championship. The Falcons will play the AFC champion New England Patriots in the Super Bowl on Feb. 5.

Blank would not be the first NFL franchise owner to take all of his employees to the Super Bowl along with the team.

The owners of both the Panthers and the Broncos paid for all of their employees to go to the 2016 Super Bowl in Santa Clara, California.

Lady Gaga teases Super Bowl performance with behind the scenes video

On Feb. 5, Lady Gaga will take the stage during the Super Bowl Halftime Show.

Less than three weeks before the championship game, Pepsi, who is sponsoring the halftime show, released a teaser video of the pop superstar as she prepares for her performance.  

>> Read more trending stories  

In the behind the scenes video, Gaga can be seen at other appearances, and clips show dancers preparing choreography for the big event. "Bad Romance" is one song fans might expect from Gaga during the show, according to the video.

"This is, obviously, a humongous platform. This is, probably, like, the greatest 12 minutes of our lives," said choreographer Richy Jackson, who has worked with Lady Gaga for at least 10 years. "We're just going to see a humble, appreciative yet showmanship side of Gaga. And we haven't seen her like this because we haven't been on a stage like this. It'll be a new face, a different kind of energy."

"It will be special because I've been planning this since I was 4," Gaga said in the preview. "So I know exactly what I'm going to do." 

Hold on to your hats! Your first look#BTS of #PepsiHalftime as @RICHYSQUIRREL gets @LadyGaga's dancers ready to make us Feb 5th! pic.twitter.com/NlteGrS7Wa— Pepsi(@pepsi) January 18, 2017

Gaga, who recently performed at the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, has teased photos of her Super Bowl preparations on Instagram and said that she and her dancers built a tent in her backyard with a dance floor to practice.

"The thing is, it's such a big world stage in terms of how many people see it," Gaga said in the Pepsi behind the scenes video. "It's been done so many times (that) I think the challenge is to look at it and say, you know, 'What can I do differently? How can I elevate certain little things here and there?"

Last year, Lady Gaga sang the national anthem before the start of the Super Bowl game. She released her fifth studio album, "Joanne," in October.

<iframe src="//storify.com/cmgnationalnews/lady-gaga-super-bowl-teaser/embed?header=none&amp;border=false" width="100%" height="750" frameborder="no" allowtransparency="true"></iframe> <script src="//storify.com/cmgnationalnews/lady-gaga-super-bowl-teaser.js?header=none&amp;border=false"></script> [View the story "Lady Gaga Super Bowl teasers" on Storify]

College Football Playoff Championship 2017: What time, what channel, who is playing

The College Football Playoff National Championship game is set for Monday night with No. 1-ranked Alabama taking on No. 3-ranked Clemson in what looks to be an exciting match-up.

It will be a rematch of last year’s championship game. Alabama goes into the game undefeated – the same as Clemson did last year. Alabama won last year’s game by five points, 45-40.

Here’s what you need to know about tonight’s game.

Who is playing?

The University of Alabama from the Southeastern Conference plays Clemson University from the Atlantic Coast Conference.

What time does the game start?

Kickoff is at 8 p.m. ET Monday.

Where is it being played?

Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla.

What channel is it on?

ESPN will broadcast the game.

Can you watch it online?

Of course. You can catch it on WatchESPN.

Who are the coaches?

Nick Saban coaches Alabama, and Dabo Swinney coaches Clemson.

Who is favored to win?

Alabama is favored to win by 6 points.

Have these colleges ever won a National Championship?

Alabama has won 16 of them – Saban has four championships at Alabama; Clemson won one championship in 1981.

How much are tickets going for?

As of Monday morning, tickets on the ticket-selling website Stubhub were listed from $1,750 to $18,691. The $18,000 tickets are for lower-level sideline tickets. 

Fun facts:

  • Clemson’s coach’s name is pronounced Dab-o Swee-nee. He is a graduate of the University of Alabama.
  • According to The Weather Channel, at game time in Tampa the high will be 67 degrees, the low 50. There is a zero percent chance of rain. Winds will be northeast at 5-10 miles per hour.

  • Alabama quarterback, Jalen Hurts, is a freshman at the school.

  • Clemson’s quarterback, Deshaun Watson, has played in three bowl games, including last year’s championship game, and was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy.

  • Monday’s game marks the first time two teams will met for a rematch of a Division 1 College Football Championship since the title game was introduced at the start of the BCS (Bowl Championship Series) era in 1998.

Bud Light giving away Super Bowl tickets for life

As part of a sweepstakes promotion, Anheuser-Busch, Bud Light's parent company, is offering beer-loving football fans a chance to win Super Bowl tickets for life.  

>> Read more trending stories  

"All season long, Bud Light has celebrated the most passionate and dedicated fans that the NFL has to offer, and as the playoffs approach, we want to see fandom turned up another notch," Anna Rogers, director of NFL partnerships and strategy at Anheuser-Busch, said in a statement. "Most NFL fans likely won't see one Super Bowl in their lifetime, so we figured what better way to reward one of the NFL's biggest fans than by giving him or her tickets to the big game for the rest of their life?"

Bud Light will place 37,000 gold cans in select 18-, 24- and 30-packs of 12-ounce Bud Light through Jan. 13. The packages will be sold across the country in all states except California.

Those who find a gold can can enter the contest by uploading a photo of it and using the hashtags #SBTix4Life and #Sweeps.

Six weekly winners will be selected to win a pair of season tickets to their favorite NFL team.

One grand prize winner will receive a pair of Super Bowl tickets for life, up to 51 years.

The grand prize winner will be selected the week of Jan. 16.

Read more at Anheuser-Busch.

Super Bowl Champions are remembered forever. But your memory will be better than most. Find a Bud Light Gold Super Bowl LI Can and upload a photo with #SBTIX4LIFE #SWEEPS and you could win Super Bowl tickets for life. Go to www.budlight.com to see more rules. A photo posted by Bud Light (@budlight) on Nov 25, 2016 at 7:45am PST

Seahawks’ Baldwin calls for change after shootings

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin is calling for a review of training policies for law enforcement across the country, saying the message NFL players are trying to send with their actions during the national anthem now needs some follow-through.

>> Read more trending stories  

Baldwin gave a prepared statement on Thursday, similar to what teammate Richard Sherman did Wednesday. Baldwin said the situation has reached a point where action is needed. Baldwin said he has consulted with his father, a police officer, to gather information. "The situation that's upon us right now, what's going on in our country, it's devastating. ... We cannot tolerate this," Baldwin said.

Doug Baldwin begins his news conference reading from the US Constitution & calls for accountability. — Cale Ramaker (@CaleKIRO7) September 22, 2016 Doug Baldwin: demanding all 50 state Attorneys General review police training & emphasize deescalation over order. — Cale Ramaker (@CaleKIRO7) September 22, 2016

>> Related: Richard Sherman says anthem protests message getting lost

#Seahawks WR Doug Baldwin opened his availability today with a statement similar to teammate Richard Sherman pic.twitter.com/pcz1UUBYMT — Tim Booth (@ByTimBooth) September 22, 2016

Washington’s attorney general reached out to Baldwin on Twitter after the news conference.

.@DougBaldwinJr Watched your press conference today with interest. I’ll be reaching out soon to see if you'd like to sit down and chat. -BF — WA Attorney General (@AGOWA) September 22, 2016

Baldwin and Sherman's statements came in the wake of a pair of police shootings this week, one in Charlotte, North Carolina; and another in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Panthers’ Olsen: Sunday’s game must go on

More than 70,000 fans are expected in Charlotte this weekend to watch the Carolina Panthers vs. the Minnesota Vikings.

For now, the game will go on as scheduled at 1 p.m. Sunday at Bank of America Stadium.

>> Read more trending stories  

The Panthers have tried to keep it business as usual on the field despite the chaos that’s unfolded the past two nights, but safety is never far from their minds.

Panthers’ tight end Greg Olsen said his family normally tailgates on game days, but this week they will likely head right to the stadium, not because he fears for their safety, but just in case.

Olsen said the game must go on. He said sport can heal at a time like this and as silly as it sounds, this game matters.

“Is the game itself as important as the issues at hand? No. But is the game itself a big piece of healing and bringing people together and letting people put their differences aside and just start that process of inclusion and being less divisive? I do,” Olsen said.

Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said he was a coach with the San Diego Chargers when San Diego was struck by wildfires.

“While the circumstances now are obviously different, playing again was an important step in that community's healing process,” Rivera said. 

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