On Feb. 5, the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons face off for the title of Super Bowl LI Champion. More than just a game, the winning team gets the coveted Lombardi Trophy and the satisfaction of being the best NFL team for the 2016-17 season.
Since this trip marks the Patriots' record-breaking ninth Super Bowl appearance, they're the three-point favorite to win the game, according to both 5 Dimes and the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook. The Falcons lost their one and only Super Bowl stint to the Denver Broncos in 1999, so the team is long overdue for a big win.
Whether you're heading to Houston for the big game or watching from home, get acquainted with the two teams and the superstar quarterbacks hitting the gridiron at NRG Stadium.
10 Fun Financial Atlanta Falcons Stats
1. The Atlanta Falcons are worth an estimated $2.13 billion, according to a September 2016 Forbes estimate.
2. Quarterback Matt Ryan has spent his entire nine-year NFL career with the Falcons, and he's being handsomely rewarded for it. He's in the midst of a five-year $103.8 million contract that pays an average annual salary of $20.8 million, according to Spotrac. That makes him the highest-paid NFL player on his team.
3. Owner Arthur Blank paid $545 million for the team in 2002.
4. Arthur Blank's net worth is $3.3 billion — much of which he earned from co-founding The Home Depot in 1978.
5. Next season, the Falcons are getting a brand new home — Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which has an estimated price tag of $1.5 billion.
Coach Ken Niumatalolo has been at Navy since 2007. He made a cool $2 million for 2016. Navy finished 9-3 in the regular season, then went on to lose 48-45 to Louisiana Tech in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl.
Matt Rhule has been Temple head coach since 2013, starting out as an assistant coach and then moving up to head coach in 2015. His take-home base salary for 2016 was a little more than $1 million. Temple went 10-3 this season, then lost to Wake Forest in the Military Bowl, 34-26.
Pat Narduzzi will cash out with a nice $2 million base salary for 2016, his second year as a head coach there. Pitt went 8-4 for the season, followed by a 31-24 loss to Northwestern in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl.
It was Justin Fuente’s first year as head coach of the Hokies, and he did pretty well for himself, with a $3.2 million base salary. VA Tech went 9-4 on the year and beat Arkansas 35-24 in the Belk Bowl.
Butch Jones just finished his fourth year as head coach at Tennessee, where he earned a base salary of $4.1 million. The Volunteers were 8-4 in the regular season and beat Nebraska 38-24 in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl.
Les Miles, the coach since 2005 at Louisiana State University, was making a $4.3 million base salary when he was fired four games into the 2016 season. His replacement, Ed Orgeron, signed on for a little less: a reported $3 million to $4 million. LSU went 7-4 on the year before beating Louisville in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl, 29-9.
Kyle Whittingham has spent his entire head coaching career at Utah. Ten years ago he was making $672,000; for 2016 he earned a base salary of $3.65 million. Utah went 8-4 on the season before beating Indiana 26-24 in the Foster Farms Bowl.
David Shaw has been coaching at Stanford since he started coaching, first as an assistant and then as head coach, just finishing up his sixth year. He nearly doubled his salary from 2015 to 2016, making more than $4 million this past year. Stanford went 9-3 for 2016, then beat North Carolina in the Hyundai Sun Bowl, 25-23.
The Gators have had their fair share of coaches. Finishing up his second year, Jim McElwain pulled in a base salary of more than $4.2 million. The team went 8-4 on the 2016 season, then beat Iowa 30-3 in the Outback Bowl.
Dana Holgorsen has been at West Virginia for six years now, and he made nearly $3 million base salary for 2016. The school had a 10-2 record for the regular season, then lost to Miami in the Russell Athletic Bowl, 31-14.
Hats off to P.J. Fleck, who led the Broncos to a perfect 13-0 season in 2016. Unfortunately, post-season wasn’t as good to the team, as Western Michigan lost to Wisconsin, 24-16, in the Cotton Bowl Classic. Fleck earned a little more than $820,000 this past season, far less than coaches of teams that lost a few games.
After receiving a new seven-year contract with Louisville in 2016, Bobby Petrino took home a nearly $4 million base salary as the head coach of the Cardinals. He led his team to a 9-3 season before falling to LSU, 29-9, in the Citrus Bowl.
Jimbo Fisher is the fifth-highest-paid NCAA head coach, pulling in $5.25 million for the 2016 season. The Seminoles went 9-3 this past year before beating Michigan, 33-32, in the Capital One Orange Bowl.
Clay Helton has been at Southern California for a few years, but last year was his first full season as head coach. As a private school, USC is not required to disclose salary information. Some sites report a $3.6 million payout for last year, but it hasn’t been confirmed. USC went 9-3 this past season and went on to beat Penn State, 52-49, in the Rose Bowl.
Paul Chryst wrapped his second year as head coach of the Badgers with a 10-3 performance from his team. Wisconsin then won 24-16 in the Cotton Bowl over Western Michigan, and Chryst made $2.7 million for the year.
No NCAA head coach makes more money than Jim Harbaugh. The Wolverines’ coach pulled in $9 million during the 2016 season as his team went 10-2 on the year, then followed up with a 33-32 loss to Florida State in the Capital One Orange Bowl.
With a $3.6 million paycheck for the year, Chris Petersen is the 25th-highest-paid head coach. His team, the Washington Huskies, went 12-1 in the regular season this year before losing to Alabama in the Peach Bowl College Football Playoffs semifinal, 24-7.
As the third-highest-paid head coach in college football, Urban Meyer pulled in $6 million this past year. The Buckeyes went 11-1 in the regular season before losing to Clemson, 31-0, in the Fiesta Bowl College Football Playoffs semifinals.
Dabo Swinney, head coach at Clemson since 2008, pulled in more than $4.4 million for 2016 as the Tigers went 12-1 for the regular season, making them one of the best teams in college football. Clemson upset top-ranked Alabama in the National Championship Game, 35-31.
The Crimson Tide went 13-0 in the regular season but lost to Clemson in the National Championship Game, 35-31. Longtime head coach Nick Saban is one of the most successful college football coaches in history, and his salary reflects that. He ends his season with a base salary of nearly $7 million, making him the second-highest-paid college football coach.
1. The New England Patriots are worth an estimated $3.4 billion, according to a September 2016 Forbes estimate.
2. The second-most valuable team in the NFL, Robert Kraft bought the Patriots for $172 million in 1994. Kraft also owns the New England Revolution MLS team.
3. Owner Robert Kraft's net worth is $5.2 billion. The self-made billionaire earned his fortune from The Kraft Group, a privately-owned company with interests in a variety of areas, including real estate development, paper manufacturing and sports management.
4. After 17 seasons with the New England Patriots, the name Tom Brady is synonymous with the team. Consequently, it should be no surprise the longtime quarterback earns the highest average annual salary on the team at $20.5 million per year, according to Spotrac. His two-year contract is worth a total of $41 million.
5. In 2015, quarterback Tom Brady received $170,000 for an hour-long speaking engagement at Salem State University. Instead of pocketing the funds, Brady — just one of many philanthropic stars — donated $50,000 to Best Buddies and the rest to other charitable organizations.
6. The average ticket price for a Patriots game is $130, according to Forbes.
7. Headquartered in South Burlington, Vt., Ben & Jerry's is located in Patriots country. The company was purchased by Unilever for $326 million in 2000 but has maintained its lovable quirk and delicious ice cream.
8. The cost of living in Boston is 39.7 percent higher than the national average, according to Boston Magazine.
9. Patriots' tight end Rob Gronkowski has a party bus company. His Yo Soy Fiesta bus can be rented for approximately $69 per hour, plus a $300 deposit.
10. Opened in 2002, the Patriot's Gillette Stadium cost $325 million to build and seats 68,000 fans.