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Houston on elite list of only 15 cities that have hosted the Super Bowl

Houston, Texas, is preparing to host its third Super Bowl this Sunday. The New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons (and thousands of very lucky fans) have descended upon the city for the big game, which will take place at NRG Stadium, home of the Houston Texans.

But why is the event in Houston?

SEE ALSO: The 10 most-attended Super Bowls of all time

The host city for each Super Bowl is chosen several years ahead of the actual game, and the NFL reportedly has a lengthy list of requirements that stadiums must fulfill to be selected. Among these requirements, according to Sports Illustrated, are the building's ability to hold at least 70,000 fans, allowing the NFL to install ATMs that favor its preferred cards and, strangely, having at least two "top quality" bowling alleys (and three golf courses) nearby for reservations.

Houston has met these requirements with two different stadiums. The previous Houston games, Super Bowls VIII and XXXVIII, were held in Rice Stadium and Reliant Stadium, respectively. Reliant Stadium was renamed to NRG Stadium in 2014.

While hosting three Super Bowls may seem like a pretty big undertaking, Houston only ranks No. 7 on the list of 15 cities that have hosted the big game:

16 PHOTOS
Cities that have hosted the most Super Bowls
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Cities that have hosted the most Super Bowls

Miami and Miami Gardens, Florida: Hosted Super Bowls II, III, V, X, XIII, XXIII, XXIX, XXXIII, XLI and XLIV (10 total) and will host Super Bowl LIV in 2020

Five of these games were hosted at the Miami Orange Bowl (pictured), while the others were hosted at Sun Life Stadium (previously Dolphin Stadium, Pro Player Stadium and Joe Robbie Stadium). 

(Photo by Scott B Smith Photography via Getty Images)

Indianapolis, Indiana: Hosted Super Bowl XLVI

The game was held at Lucas Oil Stadium. 

(Photo via Getty Images)

East Rutherford, New Jersey: Hosted Super Bowl XLVIII

The game was held at MetLife Stadium. 

(Photo via REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz)

Jacksonville, Florida: Hosted Super Bowl XXXIX

The game was held at ALLTEL Stadium. 

(Photo via REUTERS/Marc Serota MS)

Minneapolis, Minnesota: Hosted Super Bowl XXVI and will host Super Bowl LII in 2018

Super Bowl XXVI was held at the Metrodome, while the next game will take place at U.S. Bank Stadium. 

(Photo by Matthew Hintz/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Santa Clara/Stanford, California: Hosted Super Bowl XIX and Super Bowl 50

The first of these games was held at Stanford Stadium, while last year's game was at Levi's Stadium. 

(Photo via Getty Images)

Detroit/Pontiac, Michigan: Hosted Super Bowls XVI and XL

The first of these games was held at Pontiac Silverdome while the second was at Ford Field. 

(Photo via REUTERS/Brent Smith)

Atlanta, Georgia: Hosted Super Bowls XXVIII and XXXIV and will host Super Bowl LIII in 2019

The two games were held at the Georgia Dome. 

(Photo by Nik Wheeler via Getty Images)

Houston, Texas: Hosted Super Bowls VIII and XXXVIII and is hosting this year's Super Bowl LI

The first of these games was held at Rice Stadium, while the second was at Reliant Stadium (now NRG Stadium, where Super Bowl LI will take place). 

(Photo via REUTERS/Mike Blake MB/JDP)

Tempe/Glendale, Arizona: Hosted Super Bowls XXX, XLII and XLIX

The first of these games was held at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, while the latter two were held at University of Phoenix Stadium. 

(Photo via Getty Images)

San Diego, California: Hosted Super Bowls XXII, XXXII and XXXVII

All three of these games were held at Qualcomm Stadium (formerly Jack Murphy Stadium). 

(Photo by Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports via Reuters)

Tampa, Florida: Hosted Super Bowls XVIII, XXV, XXXV and XLIII

The first two of these games were held at Tampa Stadium, while the other two were held at Raymond James Stadium. 

(Photo via REUTERS/Mike Carlson)

Los Angeles/Pasadena/Inglewood, California: Hosted Super Bowls I, VII, XI, XIV, XVII, XI and XXVII (7 total)

Five of these games were held at the Rose Bowl, while the first two were held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. 

Super Bowl LV in 2010 will be held in Inglewood at City of Champions Stadium. 

(Photo by Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Arlington, Texas: Hosted Super Bowl XLV

The game was held at Cowboys Stadium. 

(Photo via REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

New Orleans, Louisiana: Hosted Super Bowls IV, VI, IX, XII, XV, XX, XXIV, XXI, XXXVI and XLVII (10 total)

Six of these games were held at the Louisiana Superdome, while three were at Tulane Stadium and one at the new Mercedes-Benz Superdome. 

(Photo by Richard Ross via Getty Images)

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Within the 15 host cities, a total of 26 different stadiums have been or will be utilized.

Sites for future Super Bowls have already been decided through 2021, with Minneapolis notably hosting the 2018 game in its new U.S. Bank Stadium -- which, of course, has a roof to keep the chilly February air at bay.

This year's AFC Champion New England Patriots were also a part of Houston's last Super Bowl -- they defeated the Carolina Panthers 32-29 in Super Bowl XXXVIII. It remains to be seen if the site will be lucky for the team a second time.

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