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Super Bowl countdown: NFL in town for planning

A large delegation of NFL staffers and contractors convened in Atlanta for a series of meetings this week as the countdown continues to Super Bowl LIII on Feb. 3 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. 

More than 100 people with responsibility for various aspects of the Super Bowl spectacle participated in the planning meetings Monday through Wednesday.

“We’re gearing up, coming up on 100 days to go (as of Oct. 26),” said Peter O’Reilly, the NFL’s senior vice president of events. “We’ve got people back and forth to Atlanta all the time, but we had our whole events team and a lot of our main partners (at these meetings).

“We spent a bunch of time taking each of the elements of the Super Bowl, whether it’s transportation, hotels, hospitality, the fan experience, and solidifying those plans. ... We’re feeling really good about the progress across each of these areas and how it’s about to get into execution mode.”

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

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Among the NFL contractors on hand were a party-planning company, a signage company and a transportation/parking company, according to Brett Daniels, chief operating officer of the Atlanta Super Bowl Host Committee. Other topics covered included security, public safety and ancillary events, he said.

“Each time (the NFL representatives) are in town, the next level of detail gets added to the mix,” Daniels said.

A ‘GREEN LEGACY’ 

The NFL launched its annual program to plant trees around the Super Bowl host city with a ceremony Monday in the Castleberry Hill neighborhood near Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Forty trees were planted adjacent to a new soccer field and green space under construction.

The Super Bowl LIII urban forestry program -- a partnership among the NFL, the local host committee, Verizon and Trees Atlanta -- will continue with the planting of hundreds of trees over the coming months at a dozen locations in metro Atlanta.

According to the NFL, the program aims to reduce the environmental impact of Super Bowl events and leave a “green legacy.” 

WHAT ARE THE ODDS ...

No team has ever played in the Super Bowl in its home stadium, and the Falcons’ 1-4 record increases the odds against that changing this season. 

The Falcons are now a 33/1 long shot to win the NFC championship and 66/1 to win the Super Bowl, according to Vegas Insider. At the start of the season, the same source had the Falcons’ odds at 10/1 to win the NFC title and 16/1 to win the Super Bowl. 

The Los Angeles Rams currently are favored to win Super Bowl LIII at 3/1 odds, followed by the Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots at 7/1 and the New Orleans Saints at 10/1.

BY THE NUMBERS

32,500: Number of people who applied to the Atlanta Super Bowl Host Committee to serve in volunteer roles. 

10,000: Number of people chosen to serve as volunteers after an application and interview process was completed. 

ANCILLARY EVENTS

Dates and sites have been set for major ancillary events leading to the big game, including: 

Super Bowl Live: This outdoor celebration, featuring free concerts and other activities, will be held in Centennial Olympic Park from Jan. 26-Feb. 3. Details about some attractions could be announced by the end of the month, Daniels said. 

Super Bowl Experience: This indoor football theme park will be held at the Georgia World Congress Center (Building B) from Jan. 26-Feb. 2. Tickets will go on sale in December, O’Reilly said.

Super Bowl Opening Night: The event formerly known as Media Day will be held in State Farm Arena, formerly Philips Arena, on Jan. 28. Tickets likely will go on sale in December, O’Reilly said.

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