The early hours of next Monday morning brings one of biggest dates on the sporting calendar as the New England Patriots take on the Atlanta Falcons at Super Bowl 51.
There are American Football fans aplenty in the UAE and fortunately there are no shortage of venues for those those supporters to watch the action unfold.
Can the Atlanta Falcons win on their third visit to the Super Bowl? Or will Tom Brady lead the Patriots to their fifth title?
Here, Sport360 rounds up the best places to take in Super Bowl 51.
For NFL fanatics in Downtown Dubai, the EAFL has partnered with Claw BBQ for both a Superbowl 51 live watch at 3:30 am (GST) and a re-watch later that evening (8:00 pm GST).
A few breakfast highlights include Waffle Mash – Mashed Potatoes cooked À La Waffle with Bacon and Pepper Jack Cheese topped with a Fried Egg and Scallions – or the Game Day Chilli and Breakfast Quesadillas.
Kick back and enjoy one of the biggest sporting events of the year at Original Wings and Rings. Watch it the American way, with plenty of wings, burgers and drinks – just be prepared to pull an all-nighter!
Throughout the evening three lucky guests will walk away winners as the venue draws from a raffle. Prizes are all dine-in vouchers to the value of 1,500, 1,000 and 500 AED.
PERRY AND BLACKWELDER’S
Where: Madinat Jumeirah
Facebook: Perry and Blackwelder
This American diner takes inspiration from Deep South BBQ heritage, so where better to watch the Super Bowl? From unlimited coffee for AED 30 to a full dose of traditional American breakfast with a linebacker-sized platter of all your favourites for AED 85 per person, to pancakes, waffles or even a breakfast burger – there’s plenty to satisfy hungry fans!
Catch all the live action of the Super Bowl at UBK where the game will be showing across multiple screens with private booth area options. Get warmed up for a night of American football with a themed menu including nachos, chicken wings, burgers along a variety of drink specials.
There will be a great buzz from 9pm on Sunday until game time at 3.30am on the Monday. Super Bowls of the past will be shown during this time from 9pm until 3am and classic American football food including, wings, chips, ribs and any beverage will be served.
No, the NBA will not “stick to sports” and neither should anyone else right now.
The separation of sport and state has been common for far too long, but the NBA, refreshingly, has emphatically put an end to that, even when other leagues have remained content with the status quo, or chosen to promote narrowminded viewpoints.
Those in the world of sport, especially athletes and coaches, have massive platforms on which they can voice their opinions regarding worthwhile topics.
Right now, those topics are very much hitting home and having a direct effect. To go on living in a bubble with the escapist mindset that sports are a safe space is flatout ignoring the harsh realities many across the world are facing at the moment.
The NBA gets many things right and it’s no surprise their collective reaction to United States President Donald Trump and his recent “Muslim ban” has again been right on the money.
There is no appropriate response to Trump’s preposterous executive order other than sadness, anger and disapproval.
Many around the NBA voiced those exact feelings over the past few days as coaches and players have been unafraid to take a stand and pick a side.
Doc Rivers, Stan Van Gundy, Steve Kerr and of course, Gregg Popovich, are some of the coaches who’ve been vocal with their criticisms of Trump, while players like Luol Deng, Jeremy Lin and Kenneth Faried have spoken up.
The comments of Toronto Raptors star guard Kyle Lowry may have been the most representative of the NBA’s general disposition to not mince words.
Lowry, when asked about the immigration ban, replied: “It’s bull****. I think it’s absolute bull****.” Even when asked by a reporter if he wanted to respond again, but this time without curse words, Lowry unapologetically stood pat.
The NBA as a whole, has similarly stood firm. Compare that to the reaction, or often lack thereof, we’ve seen from the NFL and even international football, and it’s abundantly clear the NBA is head and shoulders above every other major league when it comes to not just taking a stand, but standing for what’s right.
Several in the NFL have aligned themselves with Trump in some way or another – Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, John Harbaugh, Rex Ryan – but there have also been many who’ve simply stayed mum due to an overbearing culture of avoiding “distractions”.
Whether it’s the result of such a relatively short season or a regimented approach, NFL teams are obsessed with keeping as low of a profile in the media as possible.
In football, you don’t often see or hear players speaking out with anything other than boring platitudes. It’s somewhat surprising considering the sport is such a global game and rich in diversity, but you can make a case that a lack of higher education from players being thrown into the academy system at such a young age is at least partly to blame.
It isn’t just a racial issue when it comes to the American leagues, but it’s hard to ignore that the NBA has a higher percentage of African Americans than the NFL, while being far more diverse – openingday rosters featured a record 113 international players from 41 countries and territories.
Whatever the reason, how the NBA has handled itself in the face of heavy social issues is admirable and puts other leagues to shame. Stick to sports? Not anymore.
The floodgates are open in Las Vegas.
With NHL fans excitedly buying tickets ahead of the debut season of the new ice hockey team next year, Sin City is happily bracing itself for a sports explosion.
In years gone by, fears over mob rule, gambling and corruption had seen franchises run for the hills. Today’s Vegas, however, is a continually sprawling metropolis which brings in millions each year as tourists flock in to see the sights.
And with the Oakland Raiders looking nailed on to move into the desert and a sparkling new $1 billion stadium lodged on the world-famous Strip, boxing’s mecca will soon have many more strings to its sporting bow.
Soccer fans in the UK moan about the authorities not looking after supporters interest. Well, try being an NFL follower.
Once Oakland’s move is ratified – there is a meeting in March where it should be confirmed and it will be three years until the Las Vegas Raiders actually start up – it will mean 10 per cent of the league’s 32 cities would have moved in the last 12 months.
Are people upset? Of course. Yet you won’t hear any moans from the suits in the front office.
Moving to Vegas is a cash cow which will just keep on producing. There’s no new stadium being built in Oakland. Owner Mark Davis knows it. Why go through all that bother when moving to Sin City can guarantee a huge windfall and something completely fresh?
Most NFL owners – around 75 per cent – still have to give the thumbs up. But with everyone’s pockets set to be lined, the outcome is obvious.
I spent last week in the city covering Carl Frampton’s title fight with Leo Santa Cruz. Over 5,000 Northern Irish fight fans flew over and emptied their pockets all week in the bars and casinos. They spent a small fortune.
Las Vegas was buzzing with excitement. So just imagine the commercial opportunities if the NFL monster comes to town. The NHL experiment will give everyone a serious taste of what’s to come.
The new stadium, set to be built near the Mandalay Bay hotel, will be right in the heart of all the glitz, glamour and madness.
Nevada State officials have already given the green light for a $750 million investment footed by public funding from a hotel tax increase which, understandably, didn’t go down well with everyone.
But with billionaire hotelier Sheldon Adelson stumping up around $650 million, it’s felt here, certainly among the key decision makers, that the arrival of one of the world’s most lucrative sporting leagues can only be a good thing.
“Las Vegas has grown and is one of the fastest growing metropolitan cities in the US,” boxing promoter Richard Schaefer told Sport360. “It’s changed so much in the last 10 years – flying in from LA you see houses stretching for miles.
“It’s really mushroomed and so now with that growth of population and people coming here from all over the world, there are fight fans, sports fans, NFL fans, so there is a consumer base where it’s no longer just about casinos. Las Vegas has become a resort destination.”
“Gaming used to be the most important factor but it’s not anymore. Conventions, great food, hotels are high end. A lot has changed.”
“Is Las Vegas ready for the NFL? Absolutely.”
“People talk about corruption and worries about that kind of stuff but things have changed. Las Vegas isn’t run by the mob anymore. The rules and regulations have been tightened to the point where I really don’t think it’s an issue.”
Commissioner Roger Goodell is playing his cards close to his chest, insisting the NFL’s strict gambling policy will not be altered. While NBA boss Adam Silver remains very open-minded about embracing the sports betting culture, Goodell remains on the backfoot.
The league are scared stiff of player corruption and with Vegas such a huge gambling epicenter, the fears are understandable, if slightly dated. With over $130 million set to be wagered in Las Vegas on the Super Bowl, however, the numbers just keep adding up and are impossible to ignore.