SUPER PERFORMANCES

Texans aside, Houston finds itself second on this all-time Super Bowl list

Lady Gaga's album sales skyrocketed. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images. Composite by Brandon Strange

The NFL, and most everybody outside of Green Bay, Wisc. and Buffalo, N.Y., the NFL's two smallest markets, got their wish:

A dream matchup between Tampa Bay vs. Kansas City, and the greatest quarterback ever Tom Brady, vs. the greatest now Patrick Mahomes, in Super Bowl LV, which should be played in Las Vegas (LV) but will settle for Tampa, the first time a team will play the Super Bowl in its home stadium.

Records are made to be shattered, and plenty should fall Feb. 8. For sure Super Bowl LV will have the smallest in-stadium attendance, only 22,000 fans, including 7,500 invited vaccinated health care workers. The current low-water mark is 61,946 for the first Super Bowl in 1967, when the game wasn't even called the Super Bowl. It was officially the "AFL-NFL Championship Game." It didn't become the "Super Bowl" until 1970.

LV could become the highest-rated and most-watched (they're different measurements) Super Bowl ever. The current champ for highest-rated was Super Bowl XVI, when San Francisco defeated Cincinnati and pulled a 49.1 Nielsen number in 1982. So much for that nonsense that Super Bowls, World Series and NBA Finals need Top 10 market teams to draw a rating.

The most-watched honor goes to Super Bowl XLIX in 2015, when 114 million viewers watched the Patriots pull a rabbit out of their hat to beat the Seahawks on a last-minute interception.

Fun facts to know and share about the Super Bowl's dominance in U.S. television history. Twenty-nine of the 30 most-watched shows ever have been Super Bowls. The only non-Super Bowl show to sneak into the Top 30 was the M*A*S*H finale in1983. It ranks No. 9 all-time with 105 million viewers.

Here's a TV trivia question you won't get, but you'll say "Oh, yeah" when you find out the answer: what single televised sports event, not counting Super Bowls, had the most viewers ever?

Ready? It was the ladies figure skating finals of the 1994 Winter Olympics, featuring Nancy Kerrigan and America's Sweetheart Tonya Harding. For the record, the gold medal went to Oksana Baiul of Russia. Kerrigan got the silver and Chen Lu of China grabbed bronze. Harding didn't earn a medal after suffering a devastating broken shoelace.

Super Bowl LV will air on CBS with Jim Nantz and Tony Romo in the booth. Those two are the best, except for Nantz.

Now for LV's halftime show, starring The Weeknd. Will The Weeknd ride the game's coattails and set viewing records, too? Super Bowl halftime shows have their own ratings and sometimes they don't parallel the game's viewership.

The all-time halftime champ is Katy Perry with Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliot from the 2015 Super Bowl. More than 120 million fans, more fans than watched the actual game, watched Perry ride a 16-foot robot lion while singing her hit "Roar."

Second place goes to Lady Gaga from right here in Houston. About 117 million people watched her jump off the roof of NRG Stadium – seemingly. It was pre-recorded magic.

Weird fact: Super Bowl halftime acts do not get paid for their performance. So why do they do it? The Super Bowl airs in 180 countries and the acts usually enjoy a spike in album and concert ticket sales. Lady Gaga's album sales skyrocketed 1,000 percent after her halftime show. Other top half time shows: Coldplay with Beyonce and Bruno Mars with 115 million viewers in 2016, Bruno Mars with the Red Hot Chili Peppers with 114 million viewers in 2014, and Madonna with Cee Lo Green LMFAO, M.I.A. and Nicki Minaj with 113 million viewers in 2012.

So you know, Bruno Mars, star of two of the top-rated halftime shows in history, took his stage name from pro wrestling legend Bruno Sammartino. Apparently when he was 2 years old, Mars resembled the "Abruzzi Strongboy" and his father nicknamed him Bruno.

Not every artist jumps at the chance to play the Super Bowl. Last year, Pink, Rihanna and Cardi B said no thanks. All three protested the NFL's treatment of Colin Kaepernick and the league's lack of support for social issues. Instead, the NFL invited Jennifer Lopez and Shakira who tore it up in one of the more acclaimed halftime shows. It's not like Pink needed the exposure. Her 2019 tour raked in $215 million, finishing as the top moneymaking worldwide jaunt.

The Weeknd's "After Hours Tour" is scheduled to stop at Toyota Center on July 22. Supporting acts are Sabrina Claudio and Don Toliver. Tickets ranging from $30 to $450 are on sale now at toyotacenter.com.

After 54 Super Bowl halftime shows, who's left that hasn't already played "The Big Game," as businesses like Gallery Furniture are obligated to call the Super Bowl? If you want to use "Super Bowl" in a promotion, you must pay the NFL. It's so silly. I'm waiting for Progressive Insurance to buy the word "Christmas" and charge Mariah Carey to sing "All I Want For Christmas is You."

Who would be your choice to play the 2022 Super Bowl?

The Who, Stones, McCartney, Springsteen, U2 and most heavyweight classic rock acts have had their turn.

The hottest "current" acts who've never done the Super Bowl include Taylor Swift, Drake, Harry Styles, BTS, Luke Combs, Billie Eilish and the judges from NBC's The Voice: Blake Shelton, John Legend, Miley Cyrus, Gwen Stefani, Kelly Clarkson, etc.

Historic, still-active superstars who've never played the Super Bowl include Garth Brooks (156 million albums sold in the U.S.), the Eagles (120 million), Billy Joel (85 million), Elton John (79 million), and AC/DC (75 million).

The top-selling female artists of all-time are Barbra Streisand (69 million albums) and Mariah Carey (66 million), neither with a Super Bowl halftime on their resume.

Carey did sing the national anthem in 2002, however. In 1977, one time only, the national anthem was not performed before the Super Bowl. Vicki Carr sang "America the Beautiful."

The only performers to double-double the national anthem and halftime show are Lady Gaga and Beyonce.

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Watson was missing from practice again. Photo by Zach Tarrant/HoustonTexans.com.

The Houston Texans had their second day in pads and it was a bright day for a couple of rookies.

1. Deshaun Watson was absent again from practice. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly explained the team is keeping Watson "engaged" and he has been helpful in the meeting room with the offense.

2. Watson, if Kelly is telling the truth, can absolutely help the quarterbacks with his knowledge. The offense shouldn't be that different, and Watson doesn't have anything against the quarterbacks specifically. It is strange to think Deshaun Watson would be helping the quarterbacks while actively wanting to be playing elsewhere, but Kelly has no reason to lie about Watson's level of engagement.

3. It was Roy Lopez day on Wednesday. The rookie defensive lineman had a sack and is quite the load to handle upfront. Lopez will have to build on these days to earn time on a busy defensive line but if he repeats this day, people will have to beat him out.

4. Rookie wide receiver Nico Collins finds himself open quite a bit. Collins isn't afraid of traffic, though there aren't any real big hits in training camp. Collins' athleticism is very clear and as he grows more, he should earn more opportunities.

5. Brandin Cooks threw his hands up and let out an exasperated sound as Tyrod Taylor found Collins wide open in the middle of the field. Cooks was even more wide open in the end zone, and Taylor didn't see him.

6. Tyrod Taylor's legs will be a weapon in this offense. Taylor doesn't take off in a lot of the drills, but his mobility is apparent. Taylor did run into a sack by defensive lineman Derek Rivers.

7. Veteran wide receiver Chris Conley is extremely athletic and speedy. Conley can get vertical on all the defensive backs. In a pass-catching drill Conley wowed. The drill consisted of a coach wearing a pad and attacking the wideouts on a jump ball. Conley skied, ripped the ball out of the air, and withstood the attack from the coach easily coming down on both feet. Conley would make the team if the season started tomorrow.

8. Tight end Pharaoh Brown had a great catch beating Justin Reid for a touchdown on a pass from Tyrod Taylor. Reid was very upset he lost the rep. Brown was solid last year and he remains one of the better tight ends on the team.

9. Linebacker Neville Hewitt has had some flashes in camp. Hewitt had over 100 tackles for the Jets last year to go along with 12 tackles for a loss over the past two seasons. Hewitt had a hurry on Tuesday and a pass breakup on Wednesday. Hewitt is certainly in consideration for a spot in the revamped linebacker room.

10. Defensive linemen Charles Omenihu and Jonathan Greenard each had sacks in a team period. Omenihu's rep was a forced fumble and Greenard darted through the middle of the line for his successful rep.

11. Tytus Howard had a hold your breath moment when he slowly got off the ground and gingerly walked off the field. Howard had to walk it off, but returned to practice with no issue. He has played a multitude of positions in training camp.

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