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Lady Gaga's Super Bowl halftime show to feature lit-up drones

Fans can count on Lady Gaga to add her own unique touch to the Super Bowl halftime show. 

>>For complete coverage of Super Bowl 2017 coverage, click here Hundreds of illuminated drones will be featured during Lady Gaga's performance, according to a CNN report. While Lady Gaga remained coy when pushed for details on her halftime performance during a news conference, the use of drones required Federal Aviation Administration clearance. 

>> Super Bowl 2017: What's trending?

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The FAA has declared the airspace around NRG Stadium a "no-drone zone" on Super Bowl Sunday from 4 p.m. to midnight, according to an FAA news release.A drone was spotted this week during the Falcons practice at Rice University.Lady Gaga's drone-filled performance will be the first time drones have been used during a halftime show, according to CNN.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell: 'We're all about patriotism'

The NFL encourages its players and fans to respect our nation’s flag while respecting the First Amendment rights of people wishing to express themselves politically, Commissioner Roger Goodell said in response to a question from a fan.

“We encourage all our players to respect the flag and all our fans to do the same and everybody in attendance. It’s a very important moment for us and you’re going to see it on Sunday. We celebrate the fact that we bring people together … to us, it’s a very important moment.”

Goodell and players Eli Manning, Larry Fitzgerald and Greg Olsen spent about an hour at a private event with about 100 people at the House of Blues on Friday. Fans, not reporters, got to ask all of the questions, and one fan asked if players would be instructed to “respect the feelings of the veterans and not show disrespect for the flag.”

No names were mentioned, but it seemed like a reference to the movement begun by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick who kneeled during the National Anthem. Goodell did not reference any individual in his answer.

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“We have to respect people’s Constitutional rights, we understand that,” he said. “But for us, we’re all about patriotism.”

Indeed, the Super Bowl and events leading up to it have been draped in patriotic sentiment. Georgia’s Luke Bryan will sing the national anthem before the game on Sunday, and in a press conference this week he described his performance as a way to serve.

Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn has received with the 2016 “Salute to Service Award presented by USAA” from the league’s Official Military Appreciation Sponsor.

“The award was created to acknowledge the exceptional efforts by members of the NFL community to honor and support members of the military community,” a release from the NFL read.

Quinn is to be recognized Saturday night at NFL Honors. USAA, which provides insurance and other services to U.S. military members, veterans and their families, will contribute $25,000 in Quinn’s honor to the official aid societies representing all five military branches, the release said.“Coach Quinn truly embodies the spirit of our Salute to Service Award. Though he has no direct ties to the military, he’s made it his personal charge to show appreciation for their service and sacrifice,” Vice Admiral (Ret.) John Bird, USAA’s senior vice president of military affairs, said in a statement. “Coach Quinn is a very deserving recipient of this year’s award, and we wish him luck in Super Bowl LI, knowing that he has already made the NFL and the military community very proud.”

Falcons season ticket holder for 51 years headed to Super Bowl

The anticipation is almost over for Atlanta Falcons fans ready for Super Bowl Sunday.

One woman has been waiting 51 years for the Falcons to win a championship.

Linda Lee Tourgler bleeds red and black. She has had season tickets 51 years, since the team's inception.

Her husband of 13 years says he prayed to find a woman who loved football. 

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"And all of a sudden who knows why the Lord blessed me so much that the woman he gave me had season tickets to the Falcons," Chuck Tourgler said.

Linda Lee Tourgler says her father's best friend gave them four season tickets 51 years ago.

She's kept them through some lean times.

"I can remember when I wore a bag over my head in F.C. stadium. But I am proud of them," Linda Tourgler said.

She won the ticket lottery and she and her husband are going to the Super Bowl.

"They call it the brotherhood but I think it's just the unity of the team," Linda Tourgler said when asked what helped get the team over the hump this year.

They moved to Florida, so they drive seven hours to home games.

"She goes, 'There's one thing I'm not going to give up: my season tickets, so you're gonna have to drive up,'" Chuck Tourgler said.

It will make it all worth it when the Falcons win the Super Bowl, they say.

Linda Tourgler says she doesn't foresee giving up her tickets soon. The couple already has season tickets in the new Mercedes Benz Stadium.

"I just love it. I love it. It's in my blood," she said.

Falcons owner Arthur Blank had no idea his dance moves would go viral

Falcons owner Arthur Blank didn't think he’d become such an internet star for his dance moves.

"It looks more like chicken flapping to me," he demurred during a pre-Super Bowl meeting with reporters.

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

Atlanta Falcons cornerback Robert Alford captured his slick moves on Instagram during a Jan. 14 locker-room celebration.

Wait for it..! A video posted by Robert Alford (@robertalford) on Jan 14, 2017 at 5:04pm PST

On Friday, Blank was asked if he had worked out a potential dance routine to celebrate a win on Sunday. Blank chuckled and said his previous reverie had been quite spontaneous, and if the Falcons triumph on Sunday, whatever moves he breaks out will be as well.

"It’ll be the dance of the emotion of the moment," Blank said. "If I had to prescribe what a dance would look like, it wouldn’t look good.

"I never thought my dance moves would get the kind of exposure they have, but people have been very patient with that."

As for other game-day prep, Blank said he’ll stick close to his usual routine: arrive at the stadium hours ahead of time, spend time with coaches and players, patrol the sidelines for a while and convene with his club in the locker room right before game time.

He expects a competitive, high-scoring match-up.

"I’m not nervous at all," he said. "I’m anxious for Sunday to be here."

Zac Brown Band to headline pre-Super Bowl concert

Grammy-winning group Zac Brown Band will headline a pre-game concert at NRG Stadium prior to kickoff, the NFL announced Friday.

The Atlanta country rockers will will perform “My Old Man” from their upcoming new album “Welcome Home.”

>> Read more trending stories 

The group will be accompanied by indie-pop group Fitz and the Tantrums on stage before the championship game.

Both performances will air during the Fox NFL pregame show.

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

Zac Brown Band and country singer Luke Bryan, who will sing the National Anthem, both have roots in Georgia.

Lady Gaga will perform at halftime.

>> Lady Gaga ups anticipation of Super Bowl on social media 

Other performers who will appear during Sunday's festivities include, "Hamilton" stars Phillipa Soo, Renee Elise Goldsberry and Jasmine Cephas Jones, who will sing "America the Beautiful," according to Billboard.

Falcons fans stranded after thinking they booked trip to Super Bowl

Some Atlanta Falcons fans are upset after they paid money for a bus trip to Houston, but the bus never showed up. Fans were even more upset when the woman who organized the trip showed up in Houston.

>> Read more trending stories  

Carolyn Freeman is known as the Bird Lady. She is the unofficial mascot of the Falcons.

>> For complete coverage of Super Bowl LI, click here    She said she is not the bad person people are making her out to be.

"I know I'm a good person. People love me. Even though people try and turn on me and be mad right now," Freeman told WSB-TV.

Falcons fans are upset with her because many of them believe she turned on them. Freeman organized a bus trip from Atlanta to Houston for Falcons fans.

Some people signed up for packages that included event tickets and hotel rooms. When fans showed up Wednesday to head to Houston, there was no bus, no tickets and no hotel rooms.  Freeman said it wasn't her fault.

"I got lied to, and I got scammed," she said, near tears.

Freeman said a friend told her about a man who wanted her to be the face of the bus trip. Her face is on the flyer.

But she said fans paid him for the trip through his website, and she had nothing to do with the money.

Freeman said that now, he won't return her calls.

WSB-TV tried to call him, but got no answer. The station didn't name the man because he hasn't been charged.

Fans became incensed when they saw video of Freeman on a plane to Houston.

She knew that didn't sit well.

"I said, 'Watch and see. As soon as somebody sees me on this plane, they're going to turn on me.' Everybody loved me before I got on that plane, but when I got on that plane, everybody hated me," she said.

Now, Freeman is in Houston trying to find a way to get fans here. She said she has two buses and is trying to find hotels.

WSB-TV asked her what has she learned.

"Check the facts. You got to check everybody because everybody is not an honest person," she said.

Freeman said she doesn't have a hotel to stay in because the one promised to her was never booked.

Super Bowl 2017: Columnist says plenty of reasons to root against 'Trump's team'

Sports fans hoping to escape the divisive political atmosphere on Sunday by watching the Super Bowl may be out of luck.Ed Kilgore is a Democratic commentator and New York Magazine columnist with deep roots in Georgia.In New York magazine, Kilgore suggests that Sunday’s Super Bowl match between the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots may be the billboard – but the subtext is a match between President Donald Trump and Georgia Congressman John Lewis and his maligned fifth district, which is home to the Falcons.

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Twas Trump's expressed contempt for Atlanta & its civil-rights-icon congressman that really politicized Super Bowl. https://t.co/hHKNgyAcAR— Ed Kilgore (@ed_kilgore) February 3, 2017

Just before the presidential inauguration, Trump and Lewis engaged in a bitter feud, with Lewis vowing not to attend the inauguration because he didn't view the Trump presidency as legitimate, and Trump firing back on Twitter, saying Lewis should spend his time fixing the broken community he represents. It was noted by Atlanta media and residents of the fifth district that the area contains some of Atlanta's wealthiest communities."The Pats have an unholy trinity of conspicuous associations with the 45th president of the United States," Kilgore writes.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft, coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady are known to be on friendly terms with Trump. Along with citing the dustup with Lewis, Kilgore points to a recent survey from Public Policy Polling that shows the Pats are even more disliked nationally than Trump. Kilgore concludes that most Trump voters will likely be rooting for the Falcons Sunday night, not the Patriots.As for Kilgore, he says that while he's from Georgia, he's more of a college football fan.

Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

Super Bowl: Why not move NFL's big game to Saturday?

As the Super Bowl kicks off Sunday night, we know what some fans are thinking: Since many already consider game day as sacred as a national holiday, why not play just the game on a Saturday night? Sounds smart, right? Turns out, there are some facts to back that up.

After all, moving the game to Saturday could potentially drive up TV ratings, make it easier for people to go to Super Bowl parties, and, the biggest perk of all, let fans stay up later and down some beers without worrying about the alarm clock the next day.

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

A 2008 survey found 1.5 million people were expected to call in sick the Monday after the game. Another prominent study said the day after the game is a “productivity killer for employers,” with companies losing almost $300 million in wages for every 10 minutes workers spend talking about the game or watching highlights. (Not that you know any fans who do that, right?)

Recently, Kraft Heinz took a step toward making fans’ dreams come true, giving its workers a day off Monday and calling for the entire country to do the same. The company’s online petition had more than 50,000 signatures. 

>> Read more trending stories

Fans have taken to Facebook in recent years, hoping move the game, and some have tried to do the same on change.org. Others have gone as far as to push for moving Presidents Day to the day after the Super Bowl.

With all this support, you’d think the NFL would have made the move by now.

Well, it’s not quite that simple. 

In 2011, league spokesman Brian McCarthy told SI.com, “We hear this each year,” before adding that “fans expect to see the Super Bowl on a Sunday,” when a vast majority of the league’s games are played.

Fair enough, though when it comes to big business -- and make no mistake, the Super Bowl is -- money talks, and that’s where the idea of a Saturday Super Bowl hits a rocky road.

Moving the game a day earlier likely would take a big bite from the money spent in host cities every year, from shorter hotel stays to less money spent on meals and entertainment, including a long list of flashy pre-game parties and events. After all, if you are shelling out hundreds of bucks (or more) to head to the game, who wants to stick around the day after?

So what, you say? It’s all about watching the game on TV, right? 

Maybe so, though prime-time TV ratings on Saturday night have long lagged behind those on Sunday night, two experts told SI.com. And even though ratings for NFL games this season are down, the Los Angeles Times reported that more than 100 million viewers are expected to watch Sunday’s game, even though it will likely end at about 10 p.m. EST.

For the average fan who won’t see a penny from any of this, wouldn’t a 10 p.m. finish on a Saturday night feel a lot better than knowing you have to punch in or call in “sick” the next morning?

Former Atlanta Falcon Deion Sanders says he doesn't hate Patriots' Tom Brady

Former Atlanta Falcons (and Braves) player turned analyst Deion Sanders was among the NFL Network personalities who met with reporters today. One of the questions he received was rather succinct: "Why do people hate Tom Brady?"

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

Sanders wasn’t having it.

"You can’t speak for people. I’m a person. I don’t hate Tom Brady," he said of the New England Patriots quarterback. "Players don’t hate Tom Brady. We love Tom Brady – past and present. I don’t agree with that statement. Hate is a strong word. Hate is such a violent word."

Although he played with a number of teams during his career, Sanders said he considers himself a Falcon. But he declined to rank players or give predictions regarding Sunday’s game.

"That’s Dionne Warwick, not Sanders," he quipped, referencing the singer who once hosted the Psychic Friends Network.

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