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Road to Super Bowl LIII: Host committee sees work to do but no red flags

The chief operating officer of the Atlanta Super Bowl Host Committee acknowledges he’s surprised at times by how fast the countdown clock seems to be ticking toward the big game. 

But with less than 80 days to go until Feb. 3, Brett Daniels adds, preparations are on schedule. 

“I feel good,” Daniels said Thursday. “There are things still to be buttoned up, but – knock on wood – there’s nothing that is a red flag at this point in time.” 

A large delegation of NFL officials, partners and contractors will be in Atlanta for four days in the first week of December for the next in a continuing series of planning meetings. 

“We’ll be trying at that point to finalize all of our plans and have everybody sign off on decisions,” Daniels said. “That’ll be a big week for us.” 

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At that time, more detailed plans likely will be set for Super Bowl Live, the six-day series of free concerts and other attractions in Centennial Olympic Park leading to the game. In addition to concerts, attractions will include sponsor activities and interactive elements, Daniels said. 

The past two Super Bowls set a pretty high bar for such elements, with a virtual-reality “ride to Mars” in Houston and zip-line rides across the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. 

» Follow: AJC’s continuing coverage of Super Bowl 53 in Atlanta

‘SUPER BOWL PREVIEW’? 

The most likely Super Bowl LIII matchup at this point, according to odds posted at Vegas Insider: the Kansas City Chiefs vs. the Los Angeles Rams.

The Chiefs and Rams -- high-scoring teams with 9-1 records -- may well make it to Atlanta, but they won’t wait until Feb. 3 to meet: They’ll square off Monday night in Los Angeles.

“I think I speak and believe much like many people out there that this may be an early Super Bowl preview,” ESPN “Monday Night Football” analyst Jason Witten said.

“The Saints may have something to say about that. Obviously, New England probably has something to say about that,” added Witten, former Dallas Cowboys tight end, on a conference call. 

For many Atlantans, the most painful Super Bowl matchup in Mercedes-Benz Stadium would be the Saints, the Falcons’ arch-rival, vs. the Patriots, the team that overcame a 28-3 deficit to beat the Falcons in Super Bowl LI.  And according to Vegas odds, the Saints and Patriots currently are the next most likely teams to win the NFC and AFC championships, respectively, behind the Rams and Chiefs.

HIGH PROFILE FOR MERCEDES-BENZ 

Mercedes-Benz already was assured TV time during Super Bowl LIII, with its name and logo on the stadium where the game will be played. But the automaker also will have a commercial on CBS during the telecast. 

The company, an intermittent Super Bowl advertiser in the past, confirmed to Ad Age its advertising buy for the game in Mercedes-Benz Stadium. 

Mercedes’ North American headquarters is in Sandy Springs. 

The Vince Lombardi Trophy, awarded to the Super Bowl-winning team, is displayed during a recent event at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.  (HYOSUB SHIN / AJC)

Catch up on past editions of the AJC’s weekly “Road to the Super Bowl” notebook:

> NFL likes downtown Atlanta’s layout for Super Bowl events 

Midseason picks to reach Atlanta 

Broadcasts, security will require changes in and around Mercedes-Benz Stadium

NFL adopts $2 hot dogs for the big game

> Large NFL delegation in Atlanta for planning

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