The Super Bowl LI participants were decided this past weekend when the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons each earned victories.
The Patriots will be making their record ninth Super Bowl appearance in franchise history, while the Falcons will only be making their second, and first since 1998.
This will be Tom Brady and Bill Belichick’s seventh Super Bowl appearance, which is an NFL record for a player and a head coach.
The Atlanta Falcons head coach, Dan Quinn, is no stranger to the big game, though, as he has made two appearances with the Seattle Seahawks as their defensive coordinator.
Going into the weekend, many professional analysts and sportscasters picked the Green Bay Packers to upset the No. 2-seeded Falcons at home.
The Packers were winners of eight-straight games, and quarterback Aaron Rodgers seemed unstoppable.
He was hardly unstoppable on Sunday in the Georgia Dome, as the Packers entered halftime trailing, 24-0.
The Packers did not get off to a good start, missing a field goal on their opening drive and then fumbling the ball in the red zone on their next drive.
The Falcons were also red-hot coming into this game, having easily defeated the Seattle Seahawks, 36-20, the week before.
Matt Ryan, the favorite to win league MVP, had a stellar game. Ryan threw for 392 yards and four passing touchdowns.
He also added a 14-yard rushing touchdown.
The real star of the game, though, had to be All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones.
Many were uncertain how effective Jones would be after re-injuring his toe last week. Jones was limited all week in practice, but was ready to roll come game day.
Jones had a monster game, recording nine catches for 180 yards and two touchdowns, one of which was a 73-yard catch-and-run in which Jones ran past the defender covering him then stiff-armed another into the ground before running into the end zone.
The game was pretty much over once the Falcons went up, 31-0. The Packers were able to add a few scores, but it was too little too late. The Falcons won, 44-21.
In the AFC Championship Game, the Patriots easily handled the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Patriots stifled the Steelers run game early on and held running back Le’Veon Bell to just 20 yards on six carries.
Bell left the game early after suffering a groin injury, and was never able to return.
Near the end of the first half, the Steelers appeared to score a touchdown that would have cut the score to 17-13.
However, tight end Jesse James was ruled down at the one-yard line.
The Steelers lost yards on the next two plays, which were rushing attempts for DeAngelo Williams.
The Steelers ended up settling for a field goal.
The Patriots controlled the rest of the game, as quarterback Tom Brady spread the ball around to his various receivers.
One receiver who really stepped up was Chris Hogan, who had nine catches for 180 yards and two touchdowns.
That was the exact same stat line Jones had in the NFC Championship Game.
This is sure to be an intriguing Super Bowl matchup, as the two hottest quarterbacks in the league will face off.