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Luke Bryan Will Be Rooting for the Atlanta Falcons at Super Bowl LI

luke bryan
Frazer Harrison, Getty Images

When Luke Bryan takes the field to perform the National Anthem at the 2017 Super Bowl on Sunday (Feb. 5), the singer will be looking to wow fans with an a cappella performance — but the country star says that he’s even more excited for the main event. This year, the Georgia native will have the perfect seat to root for his home team, the Atlanta Falcons, to win over the New England Patriots.

“Most years I can be pretty neutral on who’s gonna win the Super Bowl … but I grew up in Georgia, so I definitely gotta pull for my [Atlanta] Falcons, my dirty birds,” Bryan said at a recent press conference for Super Bowl LI. “But I’ve headlined Gilette Stadium [home of the New England Patriots] a couple of times … It still hurts that I may never get to headline Gillette again if I say too much about me pulling for the Falcons, but I gotta go with the home state and the home team!”

The year 2017 will be the first year that a male has sang the National Anthem at the Super Bowl since Billy Joel did so in 2007. Bryan is taking the responsibility seriously, telling reporters that he’s been practicing all over his house, and that he’s ready to make the song his own.

“Through this process, I’ve kind of gone back through the years and watched how people approached the anthem, and just tried to figure out in my mind how I wanted to approach it,” Bryan shares. “It’s a big moment for me, and I’m excited to get out there and hopefully put my stamp on it.”

While some people (including his own friends!) are giving Bryan a hard time about going too long when singing the anthem, Bryan says that he’s not too worried about the length of his performance, as long as it comes from his heart.

“I’m just gonna walk out there and sing it; it’s not like I’ve got a band or an orchestra that’s on time and I’m following them,” Bryan says. “I’m kinda gonna walk out there and follow my heart and follow the vibe of the room. So there’s no telling how long it may go: I may get out there and go, ‘I’m about to pass out, I need to get this thing over quick,’ or I may get out there and really feel good in the moment and try to milk it a little bit.”

Country Stars Who Have Played Football

Bryan adds that performing the National Anthem is particularly special to him because it will allow him to honor the men and women who serve the United States in the armed forces, both domestically and abroad. Bryan says that while he’s never been in the Army, he looks at his role as an entertainer as a unique opportunity to serve his country by bringing joy and encouragement to servicemen and -women.

“It’s the basis of why I believe, as an entertainer, you should stand up and sing the anthem,” Bryan says. “I think it’s such an important thing for the troops to watch patriotic moments back home, certainly when they’re overseas and they can’t be here watching the game in the comfort of their own home … It’s a very important moment for me to really focus and think about them while I’m singing.”

Super Bowl LI is set for Sunday, Feb. 5 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. Lady Gaga is scheduled to perform at halftime.

Following his Super Bowl LI performance, Bryan will hit the road once again, for more of his Kill the Lights Tour; the trek begins on Feb. 16. Bryan has headlining sets at the 2017 Tortuga Music Festival and WE Fest 2017 on his calendar for this year too, as well as his summer 2017 Huntin’, Fishin’ and Lovin’ Every Day Tour; additionally, he will be mentoring Blake Shelton’s team during Season 12 of The Voice.

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