Unprecedented security did not appear to dampen the excitement of fans arriving at Super Bowl 50 on Sunday.
Security was heavy and visible around Super Bowl locations, from hotels in San Francisco to Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. Drones are banned around the stadium and there are overall flight restrictions.
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San Francisco will not a have large-scale public viewing spot downtown, unlike the way the city offered such opportunities for the San Francisco Giants' World Series championship runs in 2010, 2012 and 2014.
Last week, the FBI opened a multi-agency command post about 10 kilometres from the stadium that will be continuously staffed.
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Supporters of both teams — the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers — did not seem bothered by the large police presence and soldiers standing guard at the stadium.
"It's awesome, it's a great feeling," said Ian, a Panthers fan from North Carolina. "I think the Panthers are going to get off to a great start and we're going to take home a victory to Charlotte."
Broncos fans were also adamant that they will be going home victorious.
"We're ready for our second chance. We went to the Super Bowl two years ago, so we are ready to kick butt today," said Katelyn, who travelled to the Bay Area from San Diego to cheer on the Broncos.
More than 110 million people are expected to watch the Super Bowl on television. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m. ET.
Broncos, Panthers excel at defence differently
In an era when rule changes and offensive innovations have made offence the determining factor in most games, it's noteworthy that a pair of teams built on strong defences will fight out the Super Bowl.
The Carolina Panthers lead the league in takeaways, while the Denver Broncos have given up the fewest average yards per game.
"Their defence is built a little different, and the way they end up doing stuff is different, but it all turns out to be the same," Broncos defensive line coach Bill Kollar said of the Panthers. "You always want to get as many turnovers as you can and hold the opponent to as few first downs as you can, and these are two really good defences that do both of those things."
The Panthers use a 4-3 formation, blitz on only about a quarter of opponents' passing downs but do so effectively, and thrive on interceptions, steals and turnovers.
The Broncos use a 3-4 formation, blitz on about 40 percent of passing downs, had a league-best 52 sacks, and restrict opponent to an average of 3.3 yards per rush, and 6.2 yards per pass attempt.
Denver is only the fifth team in the past half-century to rank No. 1 in both of those categories over a full season, according to STATS, and they shut down Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger and New England's Tom Brady en route to the AFC title.
They really knocked Brady around, sacking and harassing him throughout the game two weeks ago.
"Denver's got a great defence. They're fun to watch. They fly around. They're physical. They get after the passer," said Panthers middle linebacker Luke Kuechly. "And we try to do the same thing. We've got guys on every level of our defence that take a lot of pride in what they do."
The Panthers have Norman at cornerback, Kuechly and Thomas Davis at linebacker, and Kawann Short at defensive tackle.
The Broncos secondary begins with pass rushers Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware. Their lockdown secondary includes Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr. at cornerback, and T.J. Ward at safety.
Week of high-priced parties
The lead-up to the Super Bowl has lasted all week, with celebrities and billionaires joining locals in San Francisco for celebrations — many of which came with sky-high prices.
Billionaire Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban's DirecTV Super Saturday Night Party with the Red Hot Chili Peppers was one of the big tickets, with those not on the guest list plopping down $2,000.
Cuban co-hosted the celebrity-packed event, now in its sixth year, at Pier 70 in San Francisco.
If that was a little too rich for some, entrance to the Rolling Stone magazine bash cost a cool $1,000, according to ticket seller StubHub. The party was held Saturday at the San Francisco Design Center and drew dozens of musicians and professional athletes.
The NFL Experience and Super Bowl City have provided plenty of interactive family fun for an affordable price.
But an invite to one of many VIP events may be harder to come by than a ticket to Sunday's game which were going for an average price of $4,827 US on online ticket resale site StubHub, with one fan shelling out $27,983 for lower prime club seat.